How to do family photos like a pro? Tips and Advice

Although each wedding is different in many ways, they have one thing in common: family photos. This is a rare chance when you have all of your beloved ones with you. Everyone dresses nicely and feels so much joy. The photos you take with these people will not only important to you but also to them. Many couples were excited and thought it would be easy to do. After all, everyone just needs to stand together for photos. Doesn’t it sound easy? No, it is not.


Family photos are not easy to do.

Yes, we are as honest as we can. Many couples told us before and after their wedding that it is not easy to do as they thought it would be. As photographers, we know exactly what went wrong that turned such important moment into a chaos. We would like to give you some tips to help you prepare for that moment, to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.


1. The best time for family photos is right after the ceremony:

It is easier to gather people when they are in one place. It is challenging to gather them when they are scattered during cocktail hour. Ask the officiant to make an announcement right after the ceremony processional. Be specific about who will stay for the photo. If you are not specific, all of them might stay, potentially creating a chaos.


2. Be realistic with the number of family photos:

While it’s so tempting for you to take as many groups as you want, your wedding schedule might not have enough time for that many photos. Discuss this number with your photographer. Most photographers know how many groups they can photograph with a given amount of time. Personally, for small groups of 8 people or less, we recommend 1′ per group. If you set 15′ for family photos, don’t plan more than 15 groups. If you have a mega-group, consider up to 5′ to organize and arrange people.

family photos on wedding day
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If you think you have more group to fit into your schedule, consider First Look before the ceremony to get some family photos done early, especially with immediate family.


3. Make a list of the different groups you want:

Don’t rely on your memory on the wedding day if you have more than 4 groups in mind. Write it down on a paper. Put the groups in a logical order, starting with the big ones and go down to the smaller ones. For example:

  1. B + G with both immediate family and extended family
  2. B + G with both immediate family
  3. B + G with both parents
  4. B + G with B’s parents
  5. B + G with G’s parents
  6. B + G with both siblings.

Do this 1 week before your wedding day. Carefully discuss with each other to make sure you are on the same page and agree to a reasonable amount of groups.

how to take family photos
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4. Get one or two wranglers:

Although your photographer or the coordinator can call out the name, people will have so much fun and they won’t pay attention. Thus, calling out the name will not get the job done. You should not be stressing by trying to find everyone and your photographer is busy taking the shots. That is why we recommend two people whom we call the wranglers, the loudest and well-connected family members. Give these two designated persons the list you made and ask them to hunt down whoever on the list for you.


5. Inform your family in advance:

When you inform them, let them know the exact time and location. You can do it the day before or early on your wedding day, whenever you find it suitable. Tips: ask them to show up 10′ before the family portraits begin. This task can be done by you or the two designated persons. A text message is a good way to remind people too. Don’t assume they will remember everything.

family portraits on wedding day
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6. Other tips & notes:

  • Don’t forget buffer times in case family photos run late or longer than expected.
  • If there is a microphone already set up, use it to get people to pay attention.
  • Don’t forget to inform your photographer about special consideration: sensitive relationships, mobility issues, etc.
  • If your family love partying, that’s awesome. However, refrain from serving hard liquor early, save it for the night. Booze makes people lose attention. You know what happens when people don’t pay attention. Champagne is a good option.
  • Have you ever seen a family photo that everybody looks at different directions? That’s because there are so many cameras and cell phones around. If you want everyone to look at one direct, easy, ask other people to limit their cell phone during family section.


Family photos are not easy to do, but they can be done perfectly with careful preparation. The family photos you have today will not only be treasured by you but also by other family members. With the tips we suggest, you can make them a fun and enjoyable moment.

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