One of the easiest ways to reduce stress on wedding day? Plan and simplify one key area: wedding family photos! Communicating specifics to your wedding photographer helps so much to make smooth transitions and nix unwanted blunders.
Wedding Family Photos: Start with a list!
The way I help my couples achieve stress-free family photos is by asking for details in a questionnaire! Before wedding day, I have all the names of the immediate family members to photograph. I ask my couples to list 10 pairings and specify the relationship of that person to themselves. For example, if Regina and Kevin crafted their family photos list, it might start like this: Lorriane & Joe (Bride’s parents) with B&G. This helps me as a photographer to learn names before wedding day. As a bonus, it allows me to organize names (without faces!) into family groups.
If a couple requests more than immediate family photos, I always add more time into the timeline to ensure an un-rushed experience! I love working with big families. I think it is so special to be able to share a really beautiful photograph with loved ones from wedding day! (iPhone photos are nice, but having a professional capture it is sublime!)
I like to have grandparents listed first on the pairings list for this reason: not all grandparents can walk to a location I would prefer to shoot. Accommodating grandparents or those with walkers or wheelchairs is very important. Notice in the photo below how Molly’s grandmother is on the concrete! I prefer to take grandparent photos on solid ground, close to the venue, and to do them first. Sometimes grandparents need to remain seated until their portrait moment. Thus, having the whole family take care to walk them to our photo location allows them to relax. After photos, if they want to watch the rest of family photos, they can! But if they need to return to a seated area, they are free to go. We’ve captured the important memory!
Share About Separations
Once the base 10 pairings are listed, I ask in my questionnaire about any family circumstances that I should know about to best serve my couple. For example, if Regina and Kevin didn’t tell me that Kevin’s parents do not speak to each other, I might make an awkward mistake in putting them next to each other in a group photo – or worse – trying to take a photo of both of them alone together! (I love honoring parents at weddings and usually try to pull them aside for a nice photo while they are dressed up!)
The simple solution to avoid awkward blunders is to tell your wedding photographer about relational road bumps so that conflict can be completely avoided on wedding day. I love knowing my couple’s desires for photos because I am not left asking my couple on the spot who they want in their photos – it is decided beforehand!
Don’t Procrastinate on Family Photos!
If your photographer doesn’t ask for family names or organize for family photos, do yourself a huge favor! Make a Google doc, type out 10 pairings as I showed above, and send it to your photographer 2 weeks before your wedding date! Making your family feel loved and valued on wedding day is so important I can’t say it enough. I love protecting my wedding couples with the knowledge inside family photo lists. As the arbiter of my couple’s photo desires, I can show the family that I value them, and that I value this amazing couple! Planning wedding family photos involves a bit of planning but the result is a high impact on you: less stress!
Family photos shown are from Molly & Ezra’s St. Paul wedding!