Earlier this year I got a super sweet email from Alex telling me all about his plans to take Sara out to dinner and propose to her. We talked through all the details and made a plan for photographing the whole thing. Sara and I went to college together and although I hadn't met Alex until that night it was obvious just from our proposal planning that they were a perfect match. They are two of the sweetest people I have ever met and I’m so excited to be walking through the whole process with them, from pre-proposal to the final wedding day.
Are family photos necessary on my wedding day? How much time do they take? Which groupings do I need? I get all kinds of questions about taking family photos on a wedding day and how to fit them in. As more brides and grooms are opting to forego old fashioned wedding traditions many come to me wondering if it's worth it to take family photos. It turns out that your mom, grandma, or whoever else is harassing you about taking family photos or "family formals" is actually right on this one.
Family photos give you chance to document your whole family in one spot, dressed up, and happy on a super important day. Some families don't see each other often due to distance or work and it's the perfect opportunity to take a few shots. These are the images I grew up seeing of my parents and grandparents and they'll be ones your family looks back on decades from now. As the years have gone by I've had past clients reach out to thank me for taking the last professional photo of a loved one that's passed away. I take it as a huge honor and responsibility!
So when and where do family photos happen? Depending on whether or not my clients do a first look we'll shoot them right before or right after the ceremony. That way your fam bam isn't waiting around way before the wedding and we can grab everyone before they scatter off at the reception. Trust me, that's a man hunt you don't want to be a part of. Traditionally family photos are taken right where the newlyweds exchanged vows with the beautiful alter or floral archway set up as a backdrop. However, if weather, light, and space availability are on our side I'll always suggest taking them outside.
Convinced yet? I hope so. So, who the heck needs to be in these photos? More or less, your immediate family. I have a handy list of groupings that I give to all my clients and we'll add on or subtract based on their individual family dynamics. Occasionally a client will ask about the bride and groom taking family photos separately with their own families and then retaking those photos with both the bride and groom in them but that's something I always advise against. Not only does it take up lots of extra time but it's your wedding day! I try to keep the bride and groom together as much as possible. Truthfully, the only reason you'd need separate photos is if the relationship went south and if that were the case, would you really want to keep looking at wedding day photos anyway? Awkward.
I don't often showcase family photos on my website or blog because they're really for the couple and their family but I photograph them at every single wedding I shoot. Even small courthouse weddings and elopements. They're super easy and worth it every single time!