Family photos are a very important part of your wedding. You and your family members are going to want professional photos of the most important people in your life on the most important day of your life. Grandma is going to frame those suckers! Give her something great. And give yourselves something great to look back on in the years to come.
In a previous FAQ blog, I talked about the bride and groom giving us a list of what photos they’d like taken. (See FAQ: Can I give you a list of photos I’d like taken at my wedding?) For every wedding, we HAVE to have a photo planner filled out. I used to allow the bride to give me the photo planner the day of the wedding. I no longer do that because one time I arrived at the wedding and the couple still didn’t have a photo planner, so we did all the family photos without a list. After the wedding, the bride’s mother called me and asked if I had taken a particular family photo, because she didn’t see it in their online gallery. No, I didn’t. I forgot. I didn’t have a photo planner. Yikes. Ever since then, I’m very diligent about having the photo planner in my hands a week before the wedding.
When I receive the photo planner, I review it, and if I have any questions, I call the bride. Then it gets attached to their contract. The day of the wedding, I review the planner again in the car on the way to the event.
Immediately after the ceremony, we give the couple and their family some space for the congratulatory hugs and kisses. Then we gather everyone who will be in the family photos to the location that has been chosen – the church altar, or an outdoor location.
We work very fast and very efficiently. Mark holds the photo planner and a pencil. We set up any lighting we need, and then we gather everyone we need for the largest photo. It works best if we do the biggest photo first and then peel away. We always do photos with the grandparents very early on so they can go on to the reception and relax. Then we do the photos with all the little kids, because we will only have their attention for so long. As I’m calling people up and arranging them and taking the photos, Mark is marking (haha Mark… marking…) off the photos on the list. We are very firm, yet very tactful, and always say “please” and “thank you.”
This whole process usually takes no longer than 20 minutes.
Many many times, after we’re done with family photos, someone in the group compliments us on how good we are and how efficient and quick the family photos went. At Caitlin and David’s wedding, Caitlin’s dad gave me a good old fashioned slap on the back and a big compliment, saying he was very impressed. It made my day!