Family Formals on a Wedding Day

Wedding Planning

Family formals on a wedding day are so important! And yet, often times it’s a temptation to want to rush through them, or skip these portraits altogether. From our experience these pictures are super important and invaluable, AND with a great system- they can be quick and painless to get through capturing all of them!

The Why Behind Family Formals

So first let’s explore the why behind this, potentially stressful, part of the wedding day. It’s a part of the day that asks a lot of the Bride & Groom’s families, which can mean children and elderly, and not everyone is fond of being in front of the camera. Add to that the fact that everyone is in celebration mode and ready to get to the reception to party!

So, why do we push through for these portraits? Because they ARE important!

The family pictures are important for the sake of posterity! These pictures will be passed down through the generations, and are a great chance to capture everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, in the current season of life. These pictures will most likely end up in your wedding album and maybe even on the wall!

We have had brides contact us, years after their wedding, to thank us for the family portraits, because they had since lost a loved one- and were so grateful to have that visual memory of them. That is an invaluable gift to be able to give a family.

How We Make the Family Formals as Quick as Possible!

We spend a good deal of time, before the wedding day, preparing both the timeline and the family formals shot list. We have found it to be extremely important to plan in detail the order of shots we will take during the family formals time. It’s from this list that we direct everyone clearly and in the best order.

Another thing that we do before the wedding day is ask our Bride and Groom for a list of names of each family member who will be involved in the family pictures. That way we can call people by name when we are setting up each shot. This is also hugely important because people know exactly who we mean, and there’s no guess work involved for them!

Keeping Family Formals to Just Family

Typically it takes us around 2-3 minutes to set up and shoot a group shot. So for each family grouping, we estimate it averaging about that long. For larger groupings it may take a little longer, and for small groups it doesn’t always take that long- so for a good combo of both it’s pretty safe to say 2-3 minutes per group shot.

Based on this math (and the fact that we want to try to get everyone to the reception as quickly as possible), it’s a really good idea to keep this time before the reception strictly for family portraits. If there are friends you want to get photographed with, the reception is the best place to plan to get those!

The Summary

So to sum it up: Family formals are very important because of posterity! Remember the legacy it leaves behind for future generations.

And it IS possible to get through these shots quickly- because we have a system that works in moving through the family formals quickly and thoroughly!

If you want to know more about our shooting style or wedding experience, contact us here. We’d love to hear from you!

Stephanie & Christi


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greenville, sc wedding photographers

We firmly believe that getting to know our couples is the BEST way to ensure they have an amazing experience. Our process is designed to put your worries at ease. With over 20 years of combined experience, the beauty of working with us is that we are both there for you 100% on your wedding day. We're more than a photographer and an assistant. We're partners who trust each other fiercely and you can trust us too!

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