Raise your hand if family portraits are your FAVORITE part of the wedding day! ....anyone...??? Let me help you make this as painless as possible! Take a look at these quick tips:
1. Make a List
Who needs to be included in your family photos? Parents, Grandparents, Siblings...Aunts, Uncles, Cousins? It's up to you! Make a list for the Bride's side and the Groom's side.
Your photographer will be directing this photo session, but here's some inside info on how I like to run things in case you want to make your own custom groupings: I start with the largest grouping on the bride's side, and then peel people away to form the smaller groups. Then I repeat this with the groom's side. This helps things to move faster as the same people don't need to pop in and out of as many photos. If you do need someone to pop back in, let it be the younger/faster folks. (No offense, grandma!) For example:
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents + Bride's Grandparents + Bride's Siblings
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents + Bride's Grandparents
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents + Bride's Siblings (& spouses/children if needed)
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents
Bride + Groom + Bride's Parents + Groom's Parents
Repeat with Groom's side:
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents + Groom's Grandparents + Groom's Siblings
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents + Groom's Grandparents
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents + Groom's Siblings (& spouses/children if needed)
Bride + Groom + Groom's Parents
Email this list to your photographer, and be sure to inform the family members of the plan. Feel free to delegate this task- ask the mothers of the bride & groom, or a sibling, to let their family members know when & where they need to be.
It can be very helpful to add notes to your list to help your photographer know who's-who in the family. Including their first names along with their family title is GREAT. And as insensitive as this may sound, knowing ahead of time if a parent is divorced/deceased has helped me as a photographer avoid awkward moments on several occasions. A head's-up is always appreciated!
4. Appoint Crowd Control
While the Photographer should be directing the placement of the family & bridal party, they can't always maintain control of the entire room when working with a big group or a particularly noisy bunch without taking extra time from the photo session. Having someone step up and help can be a huge time-saver. If you suspect that you may have this issue with your group (which isn't necessarily a bad thing- you're going to have a FUN reception party!) think of someone who can step up and help manage the group while they're waiting their turn for photos. Request that they remove background chatter by politely asking lingering guests to move their conversations elsewhere and to remind the bridal party or family members that the more cooperative they are the sooner this task will be finished!
We hope this has been a helpful guide for you as you prepare for your wedding day! If you are still looking for YOUR wedding photographer, and are getting married in southeast Michigan, please contact us today to check the availability of your date!
Nikki Schuler specializes in wedding photography and portraits and is the owner of Awakened Light Photography, LLC. She has traveled to over 40 countries using creative arts as a ministry and resides with her husband & 4 children in a cozy vintage farmhouse in Oxford, Michigan.