Wedding Day Family Photos | A Checklist For Your Photographer
Every wedding will have a detailed wedding timeline that you planned. Included in this timeline are your wedding family photo. Your photographer will discuss with you exactly how to plan for this, included family list, time required and location options.
This guide will provide you with the most common questions asked by couples in regards to making a wedding family portrait checklist and some example lists for your to start your planning.
Your photographer will normally ask this list from you about 2-6 weeks before your wedding.
Pro Tip: have someone in your wedding party or a close family member assigned to help organize groupings for family formal portraits. This will ensure that no one gets left out, as your photographer will not know all of your family members by name. Your group shots will be much more efficient and painless if you have your groups are ready and waiting to be photographed.
How long should we plan for wedding family photos?
Every photographer is different. I recommend 30-45 minutes for bridal party photos (this will depend on how big your bridal party is) and about 30 minutes for family photos. I recommend about 3-4 minutes per grouping, so if only have 6 groupings this will be done in under 20 minutes. This time estimate includes buffering time if any family members are missing.
When are the group photographs taken?
This is normally discussed with couples during our meetings but is flexible to do within the timeline.
For more reading see: Wedding Day Timeline | Planning Your Wedding Photography Timeline
What about a group photograph of everyone?
So our opinion might be a little controversial here, but basically it is up to you how you want to use your time. Remember that if you have a large wedding and you want 150 people in a photo, make sure you estimate that it will take a lot longer to get everyone together. You could have it on the invitations or on your greeting table that you would like everyone to stay for a group shot before heading to cocktail hour or the reception.
Keep the formal photos list to a minimum if you would like a relaxed and stress free wedding day.
Group photos don’t have to be ‘formal’ or stiff looking. Group photos are a lot better if everyone is relaxed and they are done easily and quickly. I like eliciting smiles and reactions during the group photos and work through a quick set of groupings to make sure that all photos are natural, relaxed and unique in their own way. This is where the list of groupings for your photographer will come in. I promise you having this list handy for your wedding photographer will be well received.
Will my family and friends be allowed to take photographs of the formal family groups?
Yes of course, I encourage family to be included in taking photos. I simply ask that I am allowed to be quick and take all required photos first. This helps move the timeline along so we don’t get behind schedule
family wedding photo list
PARENTS WEDDING PHOTO LIST
Note: This can be bride + bride or groom + groom
This list is not set in stone and lists many more pairings to give couples the options for their wedding day formal list. The key here is to have a conversation with your wedding photographer about both of your expectations in regards to timing. It would be physical impossible to do this entire list below in 10 minutes.
Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents
Bride + Bride’s Parents
Bride + Bride’s Mom
Bride + Bride’s Dad
Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents
Groom + Groom’s Parents
Groom + Groom’s Mom
Groom + Groom’s Dad
SIBLINGS WEDDING PHOTO LIST
Bride + Groom + Bride’s Siblings
Bride + Bride’s Sister(s)
Bride + Bride’s Brother(s)
Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents + Bride’s Siblings
Bride + Bride’s Mom + Bride’s Sister(s)
Groom + Bride’s Dad + Bride’s Brother(s)
Bride + Groom + Groom’s Siblings
Groom + Groom’s Sister(s)
Groom + Groom’s Brother(s)
Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents + Groom’s Siblings
Bride + Groom’s Mom + Groom’s Sister(s)
Groom + Groom’s Dad + Groom’s Brother(s)
GRANDPARENTS WEDDING PHOTO LIST
Bride + Groom + Bride’s Grandparents
Bride + Bride’s Grandma(s)
Bride + Bride’s Grandpa(s)
Bride + Groom + Groom’s Grandparents
Groom + Groom’s Grandma(s)
Groom + Groom’s Grandpa(s)
Bride + Groom + Bride’s Grandparents + Groom’s Grandparents
Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents + Bride’s Siblings + Bride’s Grandparents
Bride + Bride’s Mom + Bride’s Sister(s) + Bride’s Grandma(s)
Groom + Bride’s Dad + Bride’s Brother(s) + Bride’s Grandpa(s)
Bride + Groom’s Mom + Groom’s Sister(s) + Groom’s Grandma(s)
Groom + Groom’s Dad + Groom’s Brother(s) + Groom’s Grandpa(s)
Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents + Groom’s Siblings + Groom’s Grandparents
Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents + Bride’s Siblings + Bride’s Grandparents + Groom’s Parents + Groom’s Siblings + Groom’s Grandparents
AUNTS, UNCLES, AND COUSINS WEDDING PHOTO LIST
Bride + Groom + Bride’s Parents + Bride’s Siblings + Bride’s Grandparents + Bride’s Aunt(s) + Bride’s Uncle(s) + Bride’s Cousins
Bride + Groom + Groom’s Parents + Groom’s Siblings + Groom’s Grandparents + Groom’s Aunt(s) + Groom’s Uncle(s) + Groom’s Cousins
Take away for planning your wedding family portraits are:
Carefully plan out exactly which groupings you want before your wedding date. Assume that it will take about longer (4-5 minutes for groups over 8 people & 2-3 minutes for groups under 8 people).
Once the list is created, share it with a key person who knows most of the family members and can help call out names from the list to get everyone in place. This list ca then be read and names called out by the designated bridal party/ family member.
Make sure that everyone who will be in these photos is aware of it ahead of time. Inform them right after the ceremony, so that no one leaves.
Share the list with family members, vendors and most importantly your photographer. I recommend sending this to your photographer as soon as they request it or at least one week before your wedding.
Notify your photographer if there is any family dynamics they should be aware of (divorces, tricky relationships and such). This will help reduce any stress if I know that parents might need separate photos with the couple.
My Best Advice
My biggest goal is to focus on making my couples, their family and friends and other vendors feel loved and cared for. I want everyone to love their photos and that means nailing the wedding group portraits. Some photographers love them, some hate them, either way it is important that you choose a photographer that shares your views and expectations. I suggest that you invest in photographer that doesn’t shy away from or rush through group photos, as these are some of the most requested by family and friends.