‘Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.’
- Dr Seuss

Planning your family photos

Most of my day is spent quietly observing, capturing natural moments. For about 20 minutes after the ceremony though, my approach is the complete opposite. It’s really important to create some images with those closest to you, but if it’s not planned well, it quickly descends into chaos. Here’s how to avoid that situation.

Have a list, check it twice!

On your wedding booking form, I asked you to put together a VIP list of around 10 groups. This is where that list will come in handy! The moment after your ceremony is not the time to start thinking about who you would like in some formal photos.

Keep it concise.

On average, each grouping takes about 2 minutes to gather and photograph.

10 groups = 20 minutes.
20 groups = 40 minutes.

The average time before couples start to get bored = 5 minutes!

I’ll shoot 100 formal photos if you like, but your schedule needs to allow for the time required – maybe try and keep this limited your close family. Also remember that there will be time to shoot various friend groups during the reception.

Try to avoid doubling up.

A common trap to fall into is to see a list like :
couple + A
couple + A + B
couple + C + D
couple + A + B + C + D

Let people on the list know they’re on the list before the wedding.                                                      

In reality, they’ll probably forget anyway. But hopefully it can avoid the (common) situation of key family members disappearing to head to the reception before you can get a photo together. Even if I have the most incredibly planned list of formal photos ever written, I’m still not going to know who 95% of the people on the list are.

The best thing you can do is nominate someone (loud?!) who knows the people on the list. 

Ideally, this person should be on the list themselves as few times as possible – they can’t round up guests if they’re posing for a photo. The more assertive this person is, the faster these photos will go and the more happy and relaxed you will be. My longest lists have often been done in the shortest time if they’re paired with an efficient helper.

The huge, absolutely-everyone in it group shot, often works best right after the ceremony, with the help of the celebrant/minister/pastor.

Assuming the couple are in every photo, it often looks something like this, although your version will use first names instead of titles.

– Mum A
– Dad A
– Mum & Dad A
– Mum & Dad A + siblings A
– Grandparents A
-Aunts/Uncles/Cousins/Nieces/Nephews A
– Parents A + B
– Same as above for family B                             

These photos can be a little tedious to shoot, but they are often the most valued images when the day is over. A little planning beforehand can make a world of difference to everything going smoothly on the day.