Family wedding photographs are an important part of most weddings. But getting them can be one of the most frustrating parts as well. So how can you wrangle your family to get great shots with a minimum of fuss? Here are 5 tips.
Head Outside. Going outside for your family photo shoot accomplishes a lot. For one thing, outdoor areas just tend to photograph nicely, especially if you time them in the early or late hours when sunlight is soft. You'll have space to work with large groups and make grouping changes. But it also gets your family all together and in a somewhat contained environment with fewer distractions to slow down the process.
Create a Timeline. There are many reasons to create a written wedding timeline, and the photos are a big one. Talk with your photographer about how long they need to accomplish the pictures you want. Then, make sure your venue will allow you that amount of time or find a different photo location. When you have those elements in place, write them into a wedding timeline with times and locations. Hand it out, including to your photographer.
Communicate Well. Communicate clearly when and where people should be — and communicate that information early and often. Send texts, send emails, and give people follow-up phone calls. Give them a written wedding schedule with their pertinent parts highlighted. If some relatives are chronically late, tell them to be at the picture spot earlier than the actual time.
Assign an Assistant. Your photographer may or may not have an assistant with them, but you should assign your own. Your family picture assistant should usually be someone who knows the family members but is assertive so they can help corral and manage relatives.
Use Group Numbers. If you have a big family or circle of friends, create groups for some of the photographs you want. The groom's immediate family, for instance, could be Group 1 while the bride's is Group 2. Extended family may be Group 3 and grandparents Group 4. Write each person's name and relevant group numbers on Post-it Notes or index cards, and hand them their numbers. Call groups by numbers to herd them in and out.
Your wedding photographer will undoubtedly appreciate your help in getting the perfect family photos. That way, they can make you happier on your big day and create great memories that last a lifetime.