How to Nail Your Wedding Day Family Photos, Part 2: How to Prepare Your Family

Discovering the Perfect Gameplan for Your Wedding Day

This is a topic that can oftentimes be overlooked in the planning process that we need to chat about – preparing your family for those wedding-day snaps is more of an artful yet strategic finesse than science.

It’s something that’s so essential for the years to come- after all, when the next life moment happens, having a beautiful, professional photo of you together with those that matter most will be heartfelt and nostalgic to look back on.

Ultimately,  in the lead up to the wedding day- it definitely requires ingenious planning to keep things from getting chaotic and potentially stressful.

Let’s have you learn how to execute the best possible Family Photo experience for your wedding day 📸✨

Communicating to Family Members How Modern-Day Wedding Photography has Evolved

Gone are the days of a photographer showing up and snapping a few pics during and shortly after the ceremony with one big group photo to cap it off. It’s about creating an all-encompassing narrative of your day, and how it unfolded with the people that matter most.

The trick is ensuring your troop knows the plan. They’re part of the story, after all, and the more relaxed they are, not fretting over the camera, the more sensational those prompted and also candid shots will be during this portion of the day.

Why Setting Expectations with Your Family is Essential

Finally, setting expectations isn’t a buzzkill; it’s an act of love. By guiding your family through what to expect, emphasizing the importance of their presence (both physical and emotional), you’re creating an environment ripe for making memories.

These aren’t just photos; they’re fragments of time, emotions captured forever, a testament to the day you all celebrated together. There will be traditional posing, along with prompted laughter from yours truly, so we get those candid captures between all of the different groupings.

Being Transparent with Your Photographer – Family Dynamics

Families can be a little unconventional, right? From newly formed bonds to those…let’s call them ‘sensitive’ past connections, being upfront with your photographer about who stands next to who, or more importantly, who doesn’t, is absolutely essential- make or break in some cases.

This isn’t just about avoiding awkwardness- because honestly, when folks are, it can show in photos, no matter what we do! Instead, it’s reframing it. During family photos, we want to craft a space where everyone feels comfy, so those photos only radiate love and support for the newly married couple.

Handling Photo Requests from Other Family Members, Outside of the Pre-Planned Checklist

The Family Photo portion of the day is often very important to parents and other family members, which is understandable. With family coming from out of town that is not often together in one place, parents especially tend to have a few additional groups of people in mind that they’d like photos with.

These photos sometimes don’t even include the couple, for example: parents may be hoping for and would greatly appreciate a photo of just them, or are hoping for all of your aunts to have a photo grouped together.  My philosophy here: I will never say no to this- it’s important to stay professional here, and I’ll often times I’ll kindly offer to take these groupings at the end, or one request quickly if the couple is comfortable with it.

The biggest goal here is to read the room, and communicate accordingly in the moment to avoid any hurt feelings!

Ultimately, the couple will always have the ultimate say- and usually it is taken best by family when the couple communicates the boundary in the moment. Please know that if there is extra time and the photo team knows mom wants a photo with Great Aunt Phyllis and her cousins — this is an easy way for them to help make her happy too!

By asking and involving your family in this ahead of time, you’re helping to avoid any potential conflict over photos and putting your photo team in the best possible position to be accomplish this in the time cushioned for, with little chances of you both experiencing “smile fatigue,” which tends to happen during this portion of the day, to be honest! This is partially due to the fact that there are consecutive photos that are posed, with more than a dozen groupings that can last anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour.

Because of this, please kindly remind your family that there isn’t infinite time for photos and that several requests may require additional photo coverage and/or less time at cocktail hour to get all of them done.

Wrapping It Up

Setting these expectations, being intentional in your planning, and involving your family in this process will ensure that the day flows seamlessly. Not to mention, it gives you that extra bit of time to soak in every unforgettable moment of your wedding day, stress-free, on the day.

It’s about telling your unique story, woven through with the threads of your loved ones’ presence and participation as they gather to celebrate this big moment. And making this story as beautiful as possible? Well, that’s where we come in. We’re not just photographers; we’re memory keepers, ready to encapsulate the essence of your day with every click of the shutter. 🤘💖

Here’s to creating a seamless, joyful, and utterly captivating narrative of your love story, together with those who mean the world to you. Because, after all, what’s a wedding without a little family flair?

April 11, 2024

Julianne Shearer



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