Tips for Stress-free Family Photos at Your Wedding

November 10, 2019

I’ve seen it over and over: the ceremony has just ended and the only thing standing between you and the party are the obligatory family shots or “formals” (as they are sometimes called). This can be a stressful part of your wedding day. These photos can take a while with big families and often involve certain family dynamics that can make the situation more challenging. Here are some tips to take the chore out of your family photos.


  • Be organized — A detailed shot list will ensure that we can stay organized and efficient. Prior to the wedding day, you send me a full shot list — a list of every combination of family members to be photographed during formals. When the time comes, I easily reference this list and gather the people who are supposed to be in each photo. A pre-determined list will take the guesswork out of the situation meaning you won’t waste valuable social time trying to decide what shots are needed.
  • Let me take charge — You will appreciate someone who can stay focused and organized during this time. It will be overwhelming as all of your family members gather around after the ceremony — especially right after the ceremony. Everyone will want to congratulate you and I will politely let them know that this is not the time. You will be able to tell your guests that the photographer is in charge and that you’ll see them at cocktail hour. This will allow me to call out the family members in each photo and quickly position them, which making formals far less daunting.      
  • Give your family members the heads up — Formals take a lot less time with a little preparation. Send a message to all participating family that they will need to stick around after the ceremony. This will help us get through the formals far more quickly. This is especially true if the ceremony and cocktails are at the same venue. What we absolutely want to avoid is having to take an eight-person photo and seven are lined up ready to go, but the eighth family member can’t be found. This is not an efficient use of our time and it’s precisely the scenario that will drive you crazy when you just want to get to cocktail hour. 

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