Denver Wedding Photographer :: Photo List

Making Family Portrait time a Success

I am all about  being as organized as possible, and making your wedding day run as smoothly as possible. I require a list of family portraits including family member’s names.  Why you ask? First of all, family portrait time can easily be the most chaotic part of my day, and I like to have a plan.  A list of family portraits helps me manage a lot of people and their expectations. I like to have an answer when (for example) the Mother of the Groom asks if there is time for a picture with her sisters that flew in for the wedding. I like to be able to say “Yes, that group is up next” instead of, “…uh, yeah, just remind me when we are finished…”

I create an order for the portraits that flows, and minimizes potential shuffling. I think it is important to get images with kiddos over quickly, so they aren’t held captive…and are free go play. Second, I want Grandparent images taken care of early in the order, especially if we have mobility issues. The rest of the family can fill in around Great-Grandma, right?!

Here is my suggested list as a starting point…Bride and Groom with:

Brides extended family Denver Wedding Photographer, Garden Wedding Photographs, Audrey Michel

Brides immediate family

Brides siblings

Brides parents

Both sets of parents

Grooms parents

Grooms siblings

Grooms immediate family

Grooms extended family

I suggest between 10-15 groupings. The way I work a wedding is to let the action unfold in front of me. I do not spend a whole lot of time on posed family portraits.  It is important to me to finish up Family Portrait time in about 20 minutes, then your family can head to cocktail hour, and continue the celebration.

As I mentioned above, I ask for family member’s names. Here is why… First, it helps me understand how many people we are photographing. Does “extended family” mean 6 people or 30 people? I’ll want to schedule the appropriate amount of time, and select the appropriate location. Having specific names also helps my second photographer and I locate people if necessary. Finding Katie Smith is easier than “all the brides cousins”.

Lastly, for Family Portrait time, I find it important to know any relational issues.  Family dynamics are very interesting.  Divorces within the family are always tricky. I want to be informed so I don’t accidentally create an awkward situation.  During my first wedding season I wasn’t asking about family dynamics…I just assumed my clients would tell me if I needed to know. At a particular wedding, I was taking family portraits and I started arranging the brides extended family. I put Grandpa and Grandma next to Mom, and Great-Auntie next to Grandma. The family got really squirmy and weird. I look at the bride, and she is 5 shades of red.  One of the aunts grabbed Grandma and put her on the other side of the group. Ok, that’s cool, I thought…took the picture and moved on. The Aunt came up to me later and explained, “Grandpa just divorced Grandma, and brought his new girlfriend” OMG! I was so embarrassed. I apologized about 300 times it felt like.  Had I known, I wouldn’t have assumed that all the elders were together. Very embarrassing for everyone involved.

I want your family portrait experience to be quick, painless, and ORGANIZED…and creating a comprehensive list is the first step in getting us there.