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Family photos on Your wedding day

Family photos on your wedding day

Family photos on wedding day

Family photos on wedding day
How to do it fast and efficient

Family photos are very important for me as I’m a family man myself and I’m very close with my family.

My style of wedding photography is not a traditional style. I go with the flow of the day and I capture the moments as they happen on your day. With family photographs, you have to have them organised.

Here are my top tips on the best way to take your family photos on your wedding.

The family line up!

Firstly, photographing the family photos is one of the only moments when everything is out of my control. I don’t know who is who and I don’t know the bride and groom’s family tree.

If you ask me – “Now the McDonald family for photos please!” I can’t help organise people as I don’t know who the McDonald family is!

This is why we need the bridesmaids and groomsmen to help out. They need to gather everyone that’s needed in the wedding photographs together so that they are there and ready to be called upon.

It’s very very important to explain to the people who will be helping us on the day – ( Bridesmaids, Groomsman ?) that it’s one of the most important moments on your wedding day. They need to be organised and have everyone lined up.

Finding the Family!

If family photos take a lot of time and if you are left waiting for 10 minutes for someone to find the flower girl or your brother then you will have less time to enjoy the day. I want to get through the family portraits quickly so that you have time to spend with family and friends, many of whom have travelled far and wide to see you.

I strongly recommend that the bridesmaids and groomsmen are close by and on hand to round everyone up, until the family photos are done. After they can enjoy a well-deserved Heineken or prosecco!

Family photos – Photo List

It’s also a great idea to have a list of family photos so that we know who we need and that no one is forgotten.

Now, you can have 67 different configurations and photos with every uncle and aunty but be warned, you will spend all your free time looking at the camera!

You will lose time enjoying the day, and you will never have time to speak with those people.

I highly recommend getting the balance right between the time we spend taking family photos and the time you have enjoying the drinks reception.

Be selective about the photographs that you need.

Family photos on your wedding day 1


After so many years of shooting weddings, I have a recommended list for the family photos. I send that list with a questionnaire and tips to all my brides a few weeks before the wedding – ( please use only as a guide – edit to Your needs ):

  • Bride & Groom – Bride Parents
  • Bride & Groom – Bride Parents plus Brothers and Sisters
  • Bride & Groom – Bride Parents plus Brothers and Sisters plus kids and Partners
  • Bride & Groom – Bride Grandparents
  • Bride & Groom – Groom Parents
  • Bride & Groom – Groom Parents plus Brothers and Sisters
  • Bride & Groom – Groom Parents plus Brothers and Sisters plus kids and Partners
  • Bride & Groom – Groom Grandparents
  • Bride + Bridesmaids
  • Groom+ Groomsmen
  • Bride & Groom + Bridal party (flower girls page boys)

I never recommend photos from a balcony in Church as is impossible to see people faces in the photo. There are only a few Venues in Ireland where we can take a good photo with all Your wedding quests.

We can add 100 different configurations to that, but that list covers all essential photos.

And remember the more photographs that you add, the less time for you to spend with your family and friends during the drinks reception.

Smooth Shooting!

So, we have our list and we have the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen well briefed and helping line everyone. We need to start shooting.

  • I always recommend that we go by the list.
  • Taking one photo after another according to the list makes sure that we tick the boxes as we go.
  • Do not go from the middle of the list or in another order as you can easily miss some photos.
  • Follow the list and stick to the list!

When we finish taking photos from the list and there are some people standing close to you or you see people that you want photos with, just ask them to jump in!

It’s no problem to take few more photos if there are people close to you. But I highly recommend that you finish the photos from the list first. After that, you are covered with the photographs that are the most important and anything after that is a bonus.

Photos with Friends

I always recommend to take your photographs with your friends after the meal and before the first dance. There is always an hour brake between the end of the meal and the first dance so there is plenty of time here. Friends have already had a few drinks and they are very relaxed and happier to stand in front of the camera. These photos can also be very funny!

Of course, if during the drinks reception you have friends close by and they are taking photos themselves and organizing photos themselves, I will capture that also.

Photo with friends wedding


Location for family photos!

If you ask me to take the family photos in the garden of the hotel, outside the church, in front of the Castle, I will try to explain what, in my opinion, will work the best.

Firstly, the weather. We need to look at the sky all the time! The weather will bring is indoors very quickly if we are not lucky.

The simplest, fastest and most efficient way to take family photos is at the church door after the mass. Everyone that you need is there! You have not lost anyone to the bathroom or the bar!

I never take family photos before you walk down the aisle in the church. I think the best thing to do is to gather the family back into the church after you have greeted the guests at the door of the Church as they leave or just ask the family to stay outside the church – if it’s not raining :).

This is when the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen need to ask people who are on the list to stay at church -( inside or outside ) and wait for the family photos!

If it’s cold, your family can shake hands with you and come back into the church and wait inside the church for the photos.

If it’s raining photos can be done inside the church – I never recommend leaving the church with at least photos with Parents.

Family Photos at church

Photos at the Venue

Why not take family photos in the gardens of the hotel or on the staircase of your venue?

In real life, it’s very very difficult to organise people for family photos in the venue.
People are checking in, walking around the venue and someone can easily be missing from the family photos. Or there is a big delay trying to find someone that is missing!

Of course, these points are only tips from me from my experience photographing two to three weddings a week.

Family Photos Only Once?

I always recommend that we take the family photographs once – after the ceremony

Sometimes the bride likes the idea of taking some family photographs before she leaves for the church in the family home.

In my experience, this is not a good idea…

Let me explain:

Everyone is running up and down the stairs and in and out of rooms, getting ready. There’s a last-minute button to be sewn on, Dad’s boutonniere to deal with, or ribbons to be attended to on the car!

It can be difficult to gather everyone together and to have their focus on photographs when the last minute details are at the forefront of their minds.

Besides, I will be taking photographs of everyone getting ready naturally. These none posed photographs can be far more special and family photos after the ceremony when will have time.

Catching the bride’s father seeing her in her dress for the first time is always a huge moment. Having her mother tying a bracelet can be a very precious moment too.

Family photos on your wedding day 2Family photos on your wedding day 3Family photos on your wedding day 4Family photos on your wedding day 5


Photos with the Groom

I also recommend to the bride that I leave her half an hour before she is due at the church. That allows me time to take photographs of the guests arriving, as well as setting up some photographs with the groom and his groomsmen.

I have often captured some lovely moments of the groom with his groomsmen in the bar beside the church having a shot of whiskey to steady the nerves!

Breaking up the day into these moments allows me to capture a huge variety of images. I recommend the time spent that way rather than having posed pictures taken in two locations.

It’s Your Day – Your Decision

At the end of the day, YOU decide how long the family photo list is and where we are going to take them.

But my photo style is based on candid unposed photos, and if the family photos take too much time, you will get less creative wedding photography in the reportage style that you want as You booked me to photograph Your wedding.

Enjoy Your planning!


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Family photos on the wedding day by DKPHOTO

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