Family photos are a given in almost any wedding. It's a special time when family, new and old, is all at the same place at the same time. And looking dapper, no less. Here's a short guide for how we prepare and capture family photos on your wedding day.

It's smart to photograph the family photos with a backdrop that identifies where your wedding took place. An overcast day, shown here at this winter wedding at the Drift Gallery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, will allow for the family photos almost anywhere.

It's smart to photograph the family photos with a backdrop that identifies where your wedding took place. An overcast day, shown here at this winter wedding at the Drift Gallery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, will allow for the family photos almost anywhere.

When do we capture family photos?

Normally, family photos follow immediately after the wedding ceremony, followed then by the "creatives" (those epic newlywed portraits you've seen around here). Why? This is the time when the rest of your guests are making their way to the cocktail hour, reception site, or chatting with other guests. They are thoroughly distracted, which allows you to get away. 

Where do we capture family photos?

Family photos are best captured at the site of the wedding ceremony (before anyone gets in a car to go somewhere). Family photos standing before the altar are an excellent choice for church weddings. For outdoor wedding ceremonies, we will find the best light somewhere with open shade and a nice background free of distracting elements.

How much time does it take to capture family photos?

It can take 3-5 minutes per grouping. As the group size increases, so does the time for posing them. So, if you want 15 family photos, that could be an hour of your wedding day. Keep in mind, these photos are created specifically for 1) your wedding album, and/or 2) gift size prints for home (they make a great holiday gift). The key here is to get the essential group shots (likely around 6-10 groupings), and then move on with your day. There are opportunities later in your wedding day for photos with distant relatives and friends. Two weeks before your wedding day we will review your shot list together to ensure it's complete and is listed in a logical order.

For example, you might start your shot list with:

  • Bride & Groom + Bride's parents
  • Bride & Groom + Bride's parents and siblings
  • Bride & Groom + Groom's parents
  • Bride & Groom + Groom's parents and siblings
  • Bride & Groom + Both sets of parents
  • Bride & Groom + Both sets of parents and siblings

You might add in grandparents to this list as well, or a shot with the officiant if that's important to you. This example is not a definitive list.  

To expedite family photos, we ask you to provide someone who will quickly shepherd each family member over. This should be someone who knows close to everyone at the wedding.

The Wedding Party and Bride & Groom portraits are not listed here, that's later. The bride & groom portraits are captured during what we call the "creatives" part of the wedding day. Your portraits together are something on a whole separate level from traditional family photos. More about that in separate post. 

Lastly, make sure that prior to your wedding day you let each of these people know that they will be included in photos, when, and where. They need to hear from you that you are expecting them.

And that's it! 

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