Let me start by asking you a question: why do you need tips for great family photos at your wedding?
Perhaps it is because those photos become more important over time. As your family grows and shrinks, as people move and pass away, and those relationships change. As we come out of a pandemic, and look back at the things we cherish the most.
A little background – my family is BIG! I’m the youngest of 5 kids, my and immediate family is like 30 people, and once you get my cousins in the mix, we can hit 100 pretty quickly.
So I’ll let you in on a secret, both as a photographer and as a person in family photos: Great family photos don’t happen without planning.
When I share photos from wedding, I often don’t include many family photos. But I ALWAYS take family photos at weddings. I don’t share many because those groupings have the most meaning to the people in them.
I want to share some tips for great family photos at your wedding so that you can also have those meaningful images in your life.
I take immense effort at each wedding I photograph to make sure that the family groupings are beautiful, happy, and efficient.
So I have some tips for great family photos at your wedding:
GREAT FAMILY PHOTOS AT YOUR WEDDING TIP ONE: What is Important
You need to have a vision – so start by thinking of your future wall of photos – what photos are there in 30 years?
Its probably tot a collage of every family permutation. The images that stand up are probably the groupings that really matter to you and your partner.
GREAT FAMILY PHOTOS AT YOUR WEDDING TIP TWO: Let it be emotional
Its kind of a big deal to get married, so let yourself feel it.
Taking family photos should be a PART of your wedding, so enjoy being with the people that mean so much to you.
Little moments might catch you off guard and lead to great photos and memories – I’ll take the time required to make sure you can also get a standard photo afterwards.
GREAT FAMILY PHOTOS AT YOUR WEDDING TIP THREE: Keep it Short
The fewer groupings you have, the more time you will have to actually spend with your family and friends.
That means you will be more likely to get casual photos of those people as well, and not feel overwhelmed!
In general, I’d suggest aiming for 10-15 family groupings total
GREAT FAMILY PHOTOS AT YOUR WEDDING TIP FOUR: Keep couples together (and that means you!)
If your siblings have a partner or kids, make sure to include them in the family photos.
Likewise, make sure to include your spouse in your family photos (most of the photos on your side will include you both).
Certainly, you might want a photo of just you a parent or sibling and that makes sense! But for larger groupings, make sure to include spouses, partners, and kids.
Likewise, if you have step parents or half siblings, lets make sure to include them in the larger group photos as appropriate as well!
Now, the question always comes up- what about my brother’s casual girlfriend or my sisters significant other?
The answer will vary a lot with the circumstances, but in general, the greater the commitment, the more photos they should be in. Long time girlfriend? How about including her in larger family photos? New significant other of your brother that no one knows? Maybe include them in one photo with the family, and then take another photo without them.
GREAT FAMILY PHOTOS TIP FIVE: Plan timing around Grandma (or the flowergirls)
If you are lucky enough to have grandparents to include, consider their mobility and comfort for photos.
Walking through a field might not be as good of a choice as staying close to the air conditioned rooms.
Same goes for little kids – limit the amount of time they have to be on good behavior so that you increase the chances of getting a great photo with them!
GREAT FAMILY PHOTOS TIP SIX: Make good use of your location
Incorporating your wedding location into your family photos just makes sense – it brings in character and connects the formal groupings with the rest of your wedding images.
You don’t have to use your wedding ceremony space for portraits – sometimes using a different part of your venue gives a better view of your space.
I’ve taken photos in dark gothic churches and bright sunny pastures, and most places in between and finding a nice location that includes the feel of your wedding is always possible.
GREAT FAMILY PHOTOS TIP SEVEN: Make it your own
Every family is different – some are made of friends, or tons of half siblings, or only 1 person.
Whatever family means to you is what you should capture – you are not bound by any rules, except to be true to what you and your partner would like!
So, what are your favorite family photos from your wedding?
And what photos would you care the most about in years to come?
Have other wedding photography questions?
Seriously, I’m happy to answer any of your questions about wedding photography – I’m an open book!