Let’s face it: Getting a group of people to show up at a certain place at a certain time, looking camera-ready, is no small feat. Add to this all the intricacies of a wedding-day timeline and the stress that can come with these, and it’s that much more important to make sure you pull off the family-portrait portion of the day with as much ease as possible.
Here are some tips for making that happen:
Understand what’s realistic.
They may not be the most creative photos in terms of posing, but even the seemingly simple job of arranging a group of people to stand in front of a camera takes time. You probably won’t know how much time to allow per photo, but your photographer should – so make sure to ask for that professional input, as it will inform how much time you reserve in your schedule for this part of the day.
Make a list (and check it twice).
You may be tempted just to throw together some photo groupings the day of your wedding, or to allow your photographer to take full responsibility for deciding them. But for the sake of efficiency and of ensuring your photo groupings are the best possible fit for your family dynamics, it’s usually best to prepare a list of your own. (I personally have a standard list clients can review and tweak as necessary to meet their needs.)
Once you’ve made your list, make sure to review it a second time. Verify that the number of shots will fit in the amount of time allotted and also that you’re at ease with the idea of spending that much time on family photos. In my experience, this is the part of the day that can cause a couple the most stress – so it’s usually not the best idea to plan for it to stretch on for an hour or more, though a lengthy shot list that could easily be pared down and simplified.
Enlist an expediter.
If you have two photographers on the job, this isn’t necessarily a necessity – but it can still be very helpful to have a friend or family member who knows faces and names and can help round up the next group on the list. After all, the more effortless this task is for you as a bride, the more enjoyable your wedding day will be.
I'm a print-journalist-turned-wedding-photographer who fully believes in the value of telling true stories beautifully. By means of a camera, I am a curator so my clients can be keepers of their most important moments.
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