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How to Streamline Family Portraits

Streamlined family wedding portraitFor many people, the idea of family photos at a wedding is a nightmare. It takes forever. It’s just straight-up chaos. And someone always seems to go missing when you need them for a photo. It doesn’t have to be this way though. We are sharing how to streamline the family portraits so that it doesn’t have to be a headache.


9 Tips for how to streamline family portraits

Keep the family formal portraits for immediate family only

This is one of our biggest tips for streamlining family portraits. We understand that it’s rare that everyone gets together. Of course, all of your extended family may want photos together. But let’s save the family formals for immediate family only. When we say family formals, we mean those posed family photos that have a designated time in the wedding day timeline (usually just before or after the ceremony).

Add an extended family photos time into your reception timeline

As we said, when the whole family is together, they tend to want to get pictures of everyone. Let these photos be a little more casual and during the reception. Talk to your planner and photographer. Designate a time in your reception timeline for all the aunts, uncles, and cousins to get in the photos too.


Make a detailed family portraits shot list

We can’t stress this one enough. Sit down before your wedding and hash out all the combinations of family photos that you want. Write each grouping down with each person you want in each photo. I mean, get detailed (by name), don’t just say “parents” or “uncles”. It might seem tedious, but it will make everything so much easier on the wedding day, we promise. If you need to talk to your parents about group combinations, do so while you’re making the list so that no more combinations are added on the wedding day.

* This should be given to your photographer at least a week before the wedding day so that they can be prepared.


Clue your photographer in on any weird family dynamics

Are there any family members that don’t get along? Parents that are divorced? A family member with special needs? These are things that you should let your photographer know ahead of time (preferably when you give them the family shot list). Having these dynamics explained will help your photographer from accidentally putting her foot in her mouth or unknowingly offending someone.

Assign a family wrangler

Assigning a wrangler will help you make sure people are where they are when they are supposed to be. This person should also be someone who knows your family. They will also help the photographer/planner get the combination groups together. The best way to streamline family photos is to have the next family combination prepared while the current one is getting photographed. This will allow people to quickly and easily step in and out of photos as need be.


Make family aware of when portrait time is ahead of time

Is grandma determined to make sure that extended family photos happen? Assure her that you have scheduled a time during the reception to have those photos taken so that she isn’t interrupting the immediate family formals trying to get extended family photos.

On the flip side, letting the family know when and where to be ahead of time will also help those family members that always seem to disappear when you need them to be present and ready.


Get your DJ to remind family when and where to be for portraits

You let your family know ahead of time when the extended family portraits will be taken. But inevitably people will forget or not realize the time. Have your DJ announce when and where family members need to be 10 and 5 minutes ahead of time. This will help make sure that everyone is present when it is time.


Listen to your photographer/planner as they try organizing everyone

Your planner and photographer are not new at taking family portraits. They know best how to do it efficiently so listen to them. Also, make sure that your family is listening to them. Try to keep the chatter down during this time so that as the family wrangler/photographer/planner is calling names, everyone can hear and follow directions.


Don’t take too many photos

Lastly, try to keep the portrait taking to a minimum. Having too many variations of photos will make people antsy and draw things out too long. People will also start to get stiff and their expressions won’t be as relaxed. Get a few variations of larger groups and call it a day to let everyone get back to the food and dancing.


Want to ensure you look good in your photos? Read our 10 tips for how to look good in your photos.

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