The cousins are screaming, Dad has gone to the bar, and who knows where Nan has run off to. Family wedding photos can be chaos – but they can also be silky-smooth, as long as you’re organised!
As a Sydney wedding photographer, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to wedding photos with parents and relatives, but I want to make sure your wedding goes perfectly from the moment you wake up to the last dance – which is why I’ve written this guide to help. Taking family photos can actually be an enjoyable and easy part of your wedding day, but you just need to have a plan.
Here are my top tips for family wedding photography in Sydney – I promise we’ll get some fun and memorable family photos that you and your loved ones will adore!
1. It pays to be prepared!
The number one way to take successful family photos is by preparing your shoot in advance. I highly suggest writing a list ahead of time of the people you want to have photographed and in what combination (immediate and extended family, close friend groups, etc.), and give it to your photographer in advance.
You’ll also want to tell each of these people in advance that you’d like them in your family photos and let them know when and where the shots will be taken so that they can plan accordingly.
This will save so much time on the day and helps you avoid the stress and headaches of figuring out who you want in each photo in the spur of the moment.
2. Enlist an assistant (with a loud voice)
Do you have a brother, friend or relative who is (somewhat) responsible, maybe a little bossy, or has a big, booming voice? If so, delegate this person as your assistant to help call out each group when it’s time for their photos.
People have a tendency to wander off during photo time, so this will keep the process as efficient and painless as possible. Having an assistant will take lots of stress away from you as well – I want my couples to be able to relax and enjoy their wedding day, not feel like they need to manage every part of the process.
3. Have your celebrant announce when family photos are happening
After the ceremony, have your celebrant announce that family photos will proceed right away. This can stop people from heading to the bar or drifting away. Ask your guests to stay nearby and stay together, as we really don’t want to spend time chasing down that lost relative!
Pro Tip: A lot of celebrants are very happy to hang back and help call out members of the group during family photos as well. It may cost a little extra for their time but it can be totally worth it!
As your photographer, I’ll have both your traditional and fun family wedding photo ideas planned out, taking into account the location and the lighting, so the posing and setup shouldn’t take too long at all (I know people are eager for that celebratory glass of bubbles!).
The time allocated for family photos will depend on the size of your family and how many groups of people need to be photographed, but we can almost always have family shots done within half an hour (one hour tops).
4. Watch out for that one camera-shy relative
In group situations, there are often one or two people who get camera-shy and want to hide behind someone else. Of course, we want to see everyone’s beautiful smiling face, so we’ll aim to have everyone in a straight line so that no one’s face is blocked by anyone else’s.
While it’s normal to feel shy in front of the camera, I’ll do my best to make everyone feel relaxed, calm and at ease when the formal photos are being taken. I can suggest plenty of family wedding photo poses to help with this too.
(Bonus photographer’s tip: Make sure your toes are all in a straight line with the bride and groom – if I were to draw a line in front of your feet, everyone’s toes should be touching it.)
5. Aim to have your family wedding portraits finished early
We’ll try to get all of your group and family photos done before the reception starts. The best time for creative family wedding photos is before the reception and after the ceremony. Everyone is looking their best, all of your guests are in the same place, and there’s usually a gap in time that we can make use of – we’ll plan all of the timings into your wedding timeline.
Once the formalities of the photos are out of the way, you can enjoy the celebrations at your reception without needing to stress over rounding up your guests for photos. The reception is time to let loose and enjoy the night – but you can bet I’ll be there to capture some funny wedding pictures on the dance floor!
6. It’s OK to have fun with your family photos!
Yes, family photos are all about the classic, traditional shots of your bridal party, your family, that sweet shot of you and your grandparents – but we can also take some fun informal shots too!
Have everyone jump up, throw their hands in the air, or do something silly – the casual, informal group wedding photos can be some of the most memorable of your entire day.
The groomsmen toasting over a beer while getting ready, you and your parents embracing in a hug, plus all of the other candid moments throughout the day are so valuable. You’ll love looking back on both the formal and informal family photos, so I’ll be snapping away throughout the day, capturing all of those big and little moments with your friends and loved ones.
If you have any questions about your family photos, I’m here to help! I specialise in romantic, modern and fun Sydney wedding photography, so I’m glad to offer any suggestions or tips. I can’t wait to help you and your family take epic and beautiful photos on your big day.