Family Portraits: The Soon-to-be Newlywed’s Guide to Herding Those Unruly Relatives For a Quick Photography Session
There’s nothing like it. The beautiful wedding ceremony, with tears and emotions flowing, is one beautiful moment after another as the couple declares their lifelong dedication. It’s one of those times when you get to see pure joy on a person’s face. Then come the family portraits. This is the part where tears may be flowing more out of frustration than anything. Any time you get together a large group that is stressed out and ready to go party, things are going to get tough. Though some people may enjoy this mad dash to get as many portraits possible of their entire family in a half hour, most couples would rather spend this time together, or heading off to the reception. Additionally, many churches have time limits imposed for family portraits, usually around thirty minutes. So, to keep things moving along so that you can get to the party (and maybe even have a little alone time!), here is a quick guide to shooting the family portraits. By following this, you will have a better chance of getting all the shots you need and/or want, without squeezing someone out or compromising quality. After all, this is the greatest day of your life, but also one of the most hectic. You don’t want to figure out who needs to be photographed and how during the session.
Develop a Strategy
This is the most integral part of the process. Before getting a plan together, talk to your wedding photographer and see if they have any advice for you, or have a method to shooting the portraits. If they are an experienced wedding photographer, they may have a plan to help you along. If not, you will need to make a list of whom you would like included. Start with the basics, such as the wedding party and immediate family, i.e., siblings, parents and grandparents. From there you may add in as many or as few relatives you would like. (*Quick Note* When creating your list, organize for one family at a time, do not mix shots of either side together until you want a shot of everyone together. This keeps things flowing more smoothly, and will save you a considerable amount of time).
You may want to have pictures with certain relatives by themselves, gradually build groups together, or do certain groups all at once. Remember, it is up to you. As your list grows, it will also help to jog your memory and remind you of some people you would have forgotten to include otherwise.
Tell The Masses
Before the wedding day, make sure to inform the people on your list that they need to remain behind for portraits after the ceremony. Immediate family should know this, but some people outside of this may not be aware. If you want them photographed, let them know!
See It In Writing
Something else that may help you is to take your list, and print copies of it for everyone. This clears any confusion about the process and gives them a clear order, and can also help your family to organize themselves for maximum efficiency.
Someone To Herd The Cats
Finally, appoint someone in the family who is outspoken and doesn’t have problems giving orders. From our experience there is always someone in the family who is perfect for this. The wedding photographer is often distracted in making images, so if there is a person dedicated to calling out names and rounding people up, it will make the process much easier on everyone.