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The Ultimate Guide to Stress Free Family Photos on Your Wedding Day

Family pictures on a wedding day can easily be the most stressful part of your wedding – but it doesn’t have to be that way! With a little planning and preparation, it can easily be an enjoyable process for everyone involved. We all have that over the top aunt who thinks she needs to run every show. Or some sticky family dynamics. Even with the most normal of family members, emotions are at an all time high! As a wedding photographer, I have seen it all! So I’ve put together a few tips to keep your family photos on your wedding day stress free and timely. 

Best time to get pictures of your family

In all my years of experience I have found that it is so helpful to get all your family photos done immediately after your wedding ceremony. All of your family members are already gathered in one place and (hopefully) completely dressed and ready. I’ve sometimes found if you photograph family members before the ceremony, you can have issues with some people being late. Especially since we live in Atlanta & there’s a lot of traffic in our area. That can just cause a lot of avoidable stress, so I always like to schedule family photos for immediately after the ceremony. Just be sure to let your family members where & when to be ready for pictures!

Having a list is key

Another great way to move through family pictures efficiently with minimal stress is to create a list of what pictures you want and get it to your photographer ahead of time. **bonus tip** let your immediate family (ahem….moms) know beforehand that you have already created a list and nothing will be forgotten. This is a great way to include your parents in part of the planning; if they have any family photo requests, you can talk with them before the wedding day and map out a plan. There’s nothing more stressful than a family member shouting out random family combinations and making a game out of it. How many family photo combinations can we create is NOT a fun game to be playing on your wedding day.

I send all of my couples a list of 13 common family picture combinations prior to their wedding day and have them add any other ideas they have. Just keep in mind that each family picture will take around 2-3 minutes each. I also ask that my couples share their family members’ names with me. It makes it so much easier when I’m helping coral rouge family members, if I know their names. I created a FREE downloadable list of the most popular family combinations. These are the ones that everyone loves!

An announcement

Something I’ve seen some couples do that also can be helpful is ask the officiant to make an announcement at the end of the ceremony for the family to stick around for photos. This is helpful for those who might not have known that they were needed for pictures and will save us from having to track them down. However, I do tend to see a lot of extended family members stick around that don’t necessarily need to. This is when our list from above really comes in handy. As the photographer, part of my job is making sure we stay on schedule and reminding extended family that we have a list and a tight timeline we have to stick with and they will get a photograph with you at the reception. Most extended family members are totally okay with that and go about their way.


One last tip I have is to think of a location for your family photos ahead of time. Are you wanting family photos taken indoors or are you okay with an outside location? Check out this wedding at one of the most stunning churches I’ve shot a wedding at. If you are wanting lighter more natural light family photos, you might want to consider an outdoor location. Another thing to keep in mind is that most churches have a time limit for how long you can be in the church, so if you have a large family, you might want to consider an alternative location for family photos. 

I hope all of these tips help keep your family photos on your wedding day stress free and on schedule. Don’t forget to grab the Free downloadable list of family photo ideas that I’ve created for my clients!

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