Although family formal photographs are sometimes viewed as the “not-so-nice photographs but that you have to have and want to get out of the way as quickly as possible”, we enjoy creating beautiful photographs of you and your loved ones on your wedding day.
Formal family photographs can be beautiful, but because they are more “posed” than a lot of the other photographs we will be taking on the day and there are quite a few people involved, they take a bit more organisation. In this post we share with you how we like to go about creating beautiful family formal photographs that you will enjoy taking on you big day and treasure forever!
Time to Relax
After your ceremony the congratulations start! You are officially married, the legalities are out of the way, and it’s time to celebrate with your guests! Although there are still the family photographs and your own couples photographs to go, we understand that it is important to take some time with your guests and loved ones and maybe even have a drink and one of those canapés you spent weeks deciding on.
Your day is there to be enjoyed and we strive be a part of that joy and not keep you away from it.
The Group Shot
Most of our couples want a photograph of everyone who attended their wedding together in one big, beautiful group shot. This can be quite a challenge depending on how many guests you have attending your wedding. We realize that after your ceremony emotions are high and everyone is full of excitement! This time is however also maybe the only time when everyone is together in one place and the best time for us to capture a group shot.
We really like to get this shot done as soon as possible before people start wandering away to go to the bathroom, so we usually ask the celebrant to make an announcement for everyone to stay where they are or move to where we have decided to take the group shot just after everyone has said their congratulations. This means we can get a great group shot while everyone is together and then guests can feel free to start wandering and mingling.
When we get to the part of the day for your formal family group photographs, after you have spent some time with guests, we like to work from largest groups to smallest, according to the list we will have provided you to fill out before the big day. We usually start off with both the bride and groom’s immediate family’s, which may include parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins etc. We will usually then split the group into:
- The Bride and Groom with the Bride’s immediate family
- The Bride and Groom with the Groom’s immediate family
From these groups we break down into even smaller groups of:
- The Bride and Groom with all parents
- The Bride and Groom with the Bride’s parents
- The Bride and Groom with the Groom’s parents
Everyone’s family is different and therefore if there are other group combinations that aren’t covered in these standard groupings, this is the time we do them. This is provided by you on the family formal photographs questionnaire form we send you to complete two weeks before your wedding. It’s on this form that you can go through the group shots and include any other group photographs you want us to photograph on the day.
We do ask that you consider how much time you have on your day, because even our six standard group photographs mentioned above take more time than people usually realize (about half and hour).
If you really want even more groups photographs, a photobooth may be a fantastic option for you. A photobooth is a great way to get lots of photographs of all the guests at your wedding and because it is something fun to include in your reception, guests have a great time getting photographs taken, and you have more time and feel relaxed getting your romantic couple session photographs taken and less time worrying about getting through too many formal group photographs between your reception and romantic session.
As we mentioned above, we send our couples a form to fill out regarding their formal family photographs about two weeks before their big day. This gives us an exact list of all the group shots you want. We then work off this list when we take photographs on your wedding day.
We ask our couples to educate everyone who will be in their group photographs, and let them know that they need to stick close by after the ceremony and help them get through their formal photographs smoothly. While we have everyone together and are working through the group photographs, let these people know that even if they are not in the photograph at that present moment that they should stick around and not wander off, this is usually what causes the most stress and loss of time.
Designated Group Photography Helper
To help things run smoothly and save the Bride and Groom running around looking for people, we also ask you (on the same form mentioned above) to designate one of your guests to help us if we need to find people who are in the group photographs.
We think our brides and grooms should be treated like royalty on their wedding day and therefore we would prefer that they be the central point around which everyone moves and not be panicking looking for family members who have gone missing. It is extremely helpful if we have someone there on the day with whom we can organize everyone. This is usually someone who you have chosen who knows pretty much everyone.
Other Helpful Hints
Because pretty much everyone has one these days, we don’t expect to be the only people at your wedding with a camera! but as professionals we do guarantee our photographs will be the BEST photographs of your wedding day. When it comes time for the family formal photographs, we usually get other guests who also want to take photos of the family with their own cameras.
Although we never tell guests to not take photos, it can be a little intimidating for the people who are being photographed to have ten cameras pointed at them! You wouldn’t know at which camera to look. It may be worth educating other guests who enjoy taking photos where you can. We want your professional photographs (which you have paid for) to look fantastic, not with some people looking one way and some another.