wedding day family portraits | my approach
With wedding season and summer weather upon us, I thought I would take a minute to share my approach and thoughts on those all-important wedding day family portraits.
Family portraits are a must on every wedding day – as we all know it is not too often everyone is together, in a photograph, let alone all dressed up :) However, this portion of a wedding day can be stressful because of all the people involved. A little prep and planning can easily make your family portraits smooth and fun!
As your wedding day approaches, I will collaborate with you, the bride and groom, to form a photography time-line. Family portraits are typically completed in 30 minutes or less. My suggestion is to only do about 6 small groupings per side and stick to immediate family for your formal photographs.
I work quickly and take great care in capturing each grouping. Must-have images include (and are usually created in this order) . . .
- bride & groom with bride’s immediate family including spouses, kids and grandparents
- bride & groom with bride’s parents
- bride & groom with bride’s grandparents
- bride with siblings
- bride with mom & dad plus individual pictures
The process is then repeated for the groom’s side of the family. In addition, a favorite of mine to capture is the bride & groom with both sets of parents to show off your ‘new’ family!
Most people assume family portraits are taken on the church alter, however I always encourage capturing them somewhere else with a more neutral background. If we are blessed with nice weather, outdoors is wonderful for a few reasons – natural light is the most flattering, a neutral & natural backdrop, as opposed to the alter which may have a busier backdrop with distracting banners/colors, and last, outdoor photos give the bride & groom with their family a chance to enjoy a more relaxed environment, perfect for creating natural and gorgeous family photographs to cherish for years.
When posing each group, I want it to look natural, comfortable and joyful so there are no super specific posing instructions given. I will tell you and family members where to stand, to turn in slightly towards the couple, squish in tight (touching, arms around & hand holding are all encouraged!) and then I will check over hands, suit jackets, flowers and gowns to make sure everyone is looking great :)
It is YOUR wedding day, so be sure to enjoy it and love those family members there to celebrate with you! I am always open to creating additional photographs such as more casual images with Mom (see above) or fun photographs with siblings. Another great keepsake is a ‘generations’ photograph – a bride with her mother and grandmother.