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Brides, can I be honest with you for a second? Family photos are the most stressful part of a wedding day!
I mean, your photographer knows there’s a time crunch; your parents are likely trying to entertain guests; your nieces and nephews may have missed naps; and you and your new husband (Yay! So exciting to finally be able to call him that!) are ready to hit your reception.
For a lot of reasons, emotions tend to run high during this part of the day. But, by creating a family photo shot list for your wedding day, you can ease tensions and have photos that you and your family will treasure.
What’s a family photo shot list?
A family photo shot list is a list of all of the family photo groupings you would like your photographer to shoot on your wedding day.
While your wedding photographer won’t need a list of groupings for your bridal party or bride and groom photos, your photographer likely doesn’t know your family or 100% understand your family dynamic.
As a result, it’s important to give your wedding photographer a family photo shot list to ensure that:
- You have photos with some of the most important people in your life.
- Nobody gets missed. You’d hate to not have a photo with Grandma simply because your photographer doesn’t know who Grandma is!
How do you come up with a family photo shot list for your wedding?
Making your family portrait list may seem like a daunting task. But, as you’re thinking about which groupings to include, ask yourself these questions:
- Which photos will you likely frame and want to see in your wedding album?
- Which groupings are truly important to you, not simply expected by others?
- Will you be disappointed if a group isn’t on the list?
- How much time are you willing to set aside for family photos?
- What’s more important to you: taking lots of family photos or getting to spend time with your friends and family at your reception?
Recommended Family Photo Shot List for Your Wedding Day
Between gathering family members, arranging everyone, fluffing your dress, and letting your photographer take several photos of each group to ensure that everyone looks their best, you can estimate that each group will take four minutes to shoot.
With the questions above in mind, I recommend the following family photo shot list for your wedding day, which would take approximately one hour to shoot:
- Bride with mom
- Bride with dad
- Bride with both parents
- Bride and groom with bride’s parents
- Bride and groom with bride’s immediate family (bride’s parents, siblings, and siblings’ spouses and children)
- Bride and groom with bride’s maternal grandparents
- Bride and groom with bride’s paternal grandparents
- Groom with mom
- Groom with dad
- Groom with both parents
- Groom and bride with groom’s parents
- Groom and bride with groom’s immediate family (groom’s parents, siblings, and siblings’ spouses and children)
- Groom and bride with groom’s maternal grandparents
- Groom and bride with groom’s paternal grandparents
- Bride and groom with both sets of parents
Not seeing something on this list that you want? Perhaps you want a photo with your siblings (This could happen during bridal party photos if all are in the bridal party) or a three-generation photo with you, your mom, and your grandma. Not to worry! Adjust this list as you need.
I recommend having no more than 15 groupings and * limiting your shot list to your immediate family and grandparents. This way, you can get your family photos done within an hour and enjoy your reception!
* Few brides and grooms frame or include extended family photos in their wedding albums. Your reception is a great time to grab photos with extended family members. That said, this is YOUR wedding day.
Perhaps you have an aunt who practically raised you, and you would like a formal photo with her. That’s totally fine! Add your aunt to your shot list and just make sure you have enough time set aside.
Family is an incredible gift.
Everyone’s family looks different. Some families are traditional or nuclear; others include step parents or step family; and others are made of friends who are so close that they might as well be family.
No matter what your family looks like, they’ve likely played a huge role in making you who you are. So, be sure to honor your family and show your appreciation for them by setting enough time aside for family photos.