Family group wedding photos might not be the first ones you think of preparing for, but they’re so important! You’ll look back on your family snaps for years to come – the twinkle in grandpa’s eye as he watches his grandson kiss his bride, your proud parents smiling, your cheeky siblings… Family shots are so special, even if taking them can feel a bit tedious at the time.
I know many couples struggle with how to arrange family photos, who to include, and where to take them – but I promise the process will go much more smoothly with some advance planning. Here’s my guide to taking family photos at your wedding so you can get all the photos you need and then move on to the fun stuff (like drinks and dancing!).
Keep your list simple
How can I get the most out of my wedding photos? One of my top tips is to keep your list simple. Who are your family (or friend) ‘VIPs’ that you absolutely have to have in photos?
This will vary for everyone, but could include parents, grandparents, siblings, children, aunts and uncles, and close cousins or nieces/nephews. Try to think into the future – looking back in ten years, which treasured relatives would you want to see in your wedding photos?
I know this is tricky when it comes to larger families, but we can make it work if everyone is organised! Wedding pictures with extended family will go much faster if everyone is ready for the group shot and knows where to be and when.
Send your wedding family photo list to your photographer in advance
On your wedding day, there are about a million things to think about. Trust me, you won’t have time to remember exactly who you’ve planned to have in each photo!
To make your day easier, I suggest creating a list of family photos you’d like and sending it to your photographer in advance. That way, they can ensure you get every shot you need – and it’ll be a massive stress relief for you.
Choose your location wisely
Here’s a hot tip for how to get the most out of your wedding day family photos: pick an awesome location! If your family is anything like mine, this means a spot near food and drink where they can enjoy a refreshment while waiting for photos.
Many people want to grab a drink or canape between the ceremony and the reception, so aim to select a convenient location where your family can hang around and wait for their photos while enjoying a cheeky champagne.
We can do family photos just about anywhere – outside the church, at your winery reception venue, or another gorgeous location near your ceremony. If you need some family wedding photos ideas that will work well for your venue, I’m more than happy to help!
Leave enough time to get all the shots you want
How long do family photos take at a wedding? Often longer than you think! We can usually get family photos done within 30–60 minutes, depending on the number of shots you want, but I recommend leaving a buffer so you’re not rushed.
There’s always one relative who wanders off to the bathroom, answers a phone call or takes up residence at the bar – but don’t worry, as we’ll create a wedding photography timeline that allows us extra time in case of unexpected delays.
Discuss your photo plans with your family
Your family photos will be much easier if each relative knows what’s being asked of them. Communicate to your family as to who will be in each photo, so they know to stick around after the ceremony – otherwise, I can guarantee someone will wander off!
Also, I know that in blended families or situations where parents and relatives are divorced or remarried, there can be issues as to who should and shouldn’t be in which photos. I understand that this can be really tricky ground to navigate, but the best tactic is to discuss your photography wishes with your relatives in advance – not on the day itself.
If everyone understands how the wedding photos will work ahead of time, there’s much less chance of confusion or drama.
Choose a dedicated ‘family photo wrangler’
You know that one uncle who’s always on time, is super organised and everyone loves? Yep –that’s who you need to help you out on the day! It’s awesome to delegate one relative to be your ‘photo wrangler’, acting as your (and your photographer’s) assistant to help round up the family for photos.
If you can give them a list of which relatives are needed for which shot, they can help you manage the process and keep everyone together. This will make your family portraits go so much faster, since everyone will be present and accounted for.
We often think of family portraits as boring, serious photos, but here’s the thing: they don’t need to be. While we’ll definitely take some more formal shots, we can also snap some fun family wedding photos!
Let your relatives express some of their personality by posing for some fun, informal snaps too – I just know you’ll smile when you see them, and they’re a great way to capture candid moments from your special day. Your getting-ready photos are also a good opportunity for me to capture some candid shots of you and your immediate family.
Still have questions about which type of family photos work best for your wedding, or still unsure about who from the family should be included? If so, I’ll be glad to help – sorting out the family shots is often something couples struggle with, so I’m more than happy to give you a few pointers.