Colorado Mountain Wedding Photographer {Family Photos | How to Organize Family Photos | Advice from a professional photographer}

You're sitting down to plan out your wedding day and you're thinking about those family photos. Then you think about Aunt Sally (who you adore) but know will get lost to cocktail hour before you can round her back for family photos. Or you know your family all too well: they are rowdy, loud, and there are a lot of them. Yes, yes, you adore them, but you truly have pity on your photographer for having to deal with this bunch. 

I hear ya! *Raises hand* 

Thankfully, after half a decade of taking those family photos I have come up with a system that works 95% of the time. Want to know my secrets? Here are a few that you can add to your planning:

  1. TELL family that they will be in photos. Tell them where and when photos will happen. AND tell them to be there 15 minutes beforehand. Then, if Aunt Sally is in line for another glass of Pinot Grigio she can happily come after she's grabbed that glass. ;)
  2. Have your officiate remind family after the ceremony. (This is of course if you're doing family photos right after the ceremony, which usually works best.)
  3. Have rounder-upers (as I like to call them) aka one person from each side of your family that can gather all the wanderers when your photographer is ready for that family group shot. Think of someone loud and someone who knows everybody, and of someone who isn't afraid to be firm and straightforward. I find this person extremely valuable too because they, 1) are not you or your spouse, 2) they know if cousin Bret's girlfriend should be in the photo or not.
  4. Plan for 8 group shots. I like to do what I call a "peel away" method. Of course you can add more like a parents and grandparents shot, siblings, cousins, or a mom, grandma bride photo, etc., but usually the following list is pretty standard for most couples:
    1. Bride's extended family
    2. Bride's immediate family
    3. Bride, groom, and parents
    4. Just bride with each parent
    5. Groom's extended family
    6. Groom's immediate family
    7. Groom, bride, and parents
    8. Just groom with each parent
  5. Plan for 30 minutes to do the above suggested list. Unless your extended family is a group of 50+ then you'll probably need a few extra minutes.