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A Guide to Family Wedding Photos

By Rebecca Padgett Frett

A funny pose with your nephew the ring bearer. A cherished candid moment with your grandmother. That precious look exchanged between father and daughter. The portrait where two sides of a family become one. Some of the most cherished photos from your wedding day will be those with your family. 


Most family shots include members of the immediate family. Limiting photos to these family members ensures everyone fits in the photo. Try to fit in aunts, uncles and cousins and things can become chaotic. Reserve time for these extended family members at the reception by going over a shot list with your photographer. Divorces, re-marriages and other circumstances can complicate matters, but it’s your call as the wedding couple to determine who is included in family portraits. 


What should your photographer know about your family? If there are any strained or difficult relationships within the family, let the photographer know so those people are not placed beside each other in a photo. Limitations are another detail that you should disclose. Maybe a grandfather doesn’t hear well, the mother of the bride is in a wheelchair or the flower girl is autistic. Fill your photographer in and he will appropriately modify his approach to giving instructions and managing shots. 

Brandi Roberson photography

When & Where

Inform each family member when they are expected for photos and where. This will prevent unnecessary stress and save time. Let Dad know when he needs to be at the church for a first look. Let the mother of the ring bearer know what time the child needs to be available for photos. Most importantly, assign a meeting place and time for group shots. Work with your photographer to decide when family photos would best be taken, based on your timeline. There is the chance that even though you give everyone specific instructions, not everyone will listen. Assign one or two friends, members of the bridal party or extended family members to contact or find the stragglers. 


For many couples, family photos are essential because it might be one of the few moments you all come together. It’s also the day where everyone looks good and feels good, so why not capture that glow? If there is someone you want additional moments with throughout the day, let your photographer know. Photographers in general are intuitive and attentive, but if there are any surprises planned or moments you need them to capture, just let them know the who, what, when and where.

Sarah & Paul Photography

Family Moments to Capture: 

  • Getting Ready: sister helping button dress, mother putting on veil, dad tying son’s tie, etc. 
  • First looks of the bride with mom, dad, grandparents, etc. 
  • Sibling portraits
  • Parent portraits
  • Solo parent portraits
  • Moments with the grandparents
  • Group shots – each side of family and combined.
  • Pet portraits – if your pets are involved in your wedding, don’t forget they are family, too.
  • Any special moments during the ceremony or reception that involve family. 
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