So your wedding photographer has asked you to prepare a family formal photography list for your wedding but you honestly have no idea where to even begin. Here are a few tip and tricks that I have found helpful.
Setting Time Aside.
Traditionally, family formal photos are taken shortly after the ceremony while everyone is still in the same place. In order to accommodate enough time for family formals before you head off to bridal portraits, have a look at your timeline and see how much time you perhaps have free after your ceremony end time.
It's a good idea to work on around 2 minutes per photograph as this allows time for arranging of those in the photo as well as posing them before a shot is taken. The more people you have in the shot, the more time you will need to arrange everyone so keep that in mind. For whole group photos including everyone at the ceremony I would recommend 10-15 minutes just in case. So if you know that you are only going to have around 30 minutes for family formal photos after the ceremony, then you know to keep your list a bit shorter (15 different photo groupings at 2 minutes each).I would also recommend budgeting 10 - 15 minutes before the photos even start to gather everyone together who needs to be there so that they are all ready to go to make the photos flow quickly.
Creating Your List.
Here is a guide to potential combinations of photos you may want to have. These are only a guide so feel free to change it up if you like. There are no rules when it comes to creating your checklist so create a list that suits you. As you are writing your list, it is a good idea to add first names next to each combination so that you photographer knows who to call out on the day.
Bride and her bridesmaids
Groom and his groomsmen
Bridal Couple and bridal party
Bridal couple, bridal party and flower girl or page boy
Bridal couple and bridal party with partners
Bride and parents
Bride and each parent separately
Bride, parents and step parents
Groom and Parents
Groom and each parent separately
Groom, parents and step parents
Bridal couple with both parents
Bridal couple with both parents and step parents
Bride and siblings
Bride with each sibling separately
Groom and siblings
Groom with each sibling separately
Bride and siblings with partners
Groom and siblings with partners
Bride and siblings with partners and kids
Groom and siblings with partners and kids
Bridal couple and both sets of siblings
Bridal couple and both sets of siblings and partners
Bridal couple and both sets of siblings and partners and kids
Bride and grandparents
Bride, parents and grandparents
Bride parents, grandparents, siblings
Groom and grandparents
Groom, parents and grandparents
Groom, parents, grandparents, siblings
Bridal couple with both sets grandparents
Bridal couple with both sets of parents and grandparents
Bridal couple with both sets of parents, grandparents and siblings
Bride with aunts, uncles or extended family
Groom with aunts, uncles or extended family
Bridal couple with both sets of extended family
Large group shot of all bride's family together
Large group shot of all groom's family together
Large group shot of bridal couple with all family
Bride and special friends
Groom and special friends
Bridal couple with special friends
How To Get The Best Out Of Your Photos.
There are a few things that I have found make your family formal photos look amazing. Here are my favourite:
Connect with the person or family member next to you in some way. Put your arm around someone, touch the arm of the person next to you and so on. This creates greater connection in your photos and ensures that you don't stand too far from the person next to you.
Squeeze and cheese! For close families, I love counting to 3 and getting everyone to squeeze each other ever so slightly as I take the photo. Again it creates amazing connection in your photos and guaranteed it will create genuine smiles rather than the cheesy posed ones we tend to pull when we are nervous.
I hope that you found this helpful and that you are all set to create your checklist with ease!