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Creating A Stress Free Family Photo List

January 4, 2019

If you have never been in a wedding, I am sure you have attended one! If we hear one thing more than any other complaint about a wedding guests experience is ” IT TOOK TOO LONG TO GET THE COUPLE TO THE RECEPTION!!” Now this complaint can be valid, some wedding photographers can get a little zealous with their couples time and really extend what could/should be a quick portrait session into hours of unnecessary shooting. That being said many times the reason for the extended wait is due to lack of planning for the family formals post ceremony. Not knowing who is next, what family is in what photo, or chasing Uncle Jim around because he didn’t know he was supposed to be there can turn a 30 minute session into hours of labor and headache. Luckily there is an easy fix for this and it just requires some proper planning. Here are our 5 tips to creating a stress free family formals list, we promise this will be worth the upfront effort! 

  1. Include every single grouping you would like photographed in order from largest to smallest. Yes we mean EVERY SINGLE IMAGE you would like formally taken. While this can seem daunting I promise it will pay off and make the session go much smoother


  • Bride and Groom with Brides Extended Family
  • Bride and Groom with Grooms Extended Family
  • Bride and Groom with Brides Immediate Family
  • Bride and Groom with Grooms Immediate Family 
  • Bride and Groom with Brides Parents
  • Bride and Groom with Grooms Parents

2. If you can, group the extended families together. While you may have many Aunts, Uncles and Cousins breaking them down into individual families can leave you with a seriously long list. If you want that, great! Just beware that you may end up needing more than just a cocktail hour to get all of the photos done. 

3. Try to cut down on double shooting. While you may want some family portraits with just the bride or just the groom shooting your entire list twice can extend your time. Examples of double shooting would be

  • Bride with Mom
  • Bride with Dad
  • Bride with Parents
  • Bride and Groom with Brides Mom
  • Bride and Groom with Brides Dad
  • Bride and Groom with Brides Parents

Im sure you get the picture ( photo pun! ) 

Here is another little addition to this tip. When doing Bride or Groom solo with parents/immediate family,  have them show up during your Bridesmaids or Groomsmen photo slot. This will allow us to get those solo shots before the ceremony and only do the Bride and Groom together after. 

4. When the ceremony is completed, hide in an area that guests will not see you and return to the ceremony site immediately after the guests leave. If they see you they will want to come say hello. While we understand emotions are high and they really want to let you know how beautiful you look a receiving line will form and it will take you 20 minutes to get back and start the formals. 

5. Tell everyone who is on the list to stick around the ceremony site after the wedding is over! This is probably the most crucial piece to the whole puzzle, for if someone is missing the time it takes to find them in the sea of guests is excruciating. There is nothing worse than everyone standing up, staring at the camera waiting to have their photo taken only to hear ” Wait Uncle Bob isn’t here…” Having everyone at the ceremony site will make any list, no matter how long, go by quickly. 

A great time to tell everyone is at the rehearsal dinner. Most of the important family members who will be on the list will be there, warn them! You should also have the officiant announce this after you have recessed down the aisle and hidden away. Emailing people the list prior to the wedding is helpful, honestly anything you can do to keep people from going to the reception before the formal photos are completed is worth doing. 


This part of the wedding can be exhausting and we are here to help! Our Welcome Packet has a sample list included and if you have any other questions you can email us at anytime! 


• • est. 2010 • • 

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