5 Tips on Planning For Extended Family Shots | Joel and Amber Photography

5 Tips on Planning For Extended Family Shots


Sep 11, 2014

As wedding photographers, one of the most beautiful things we get to witness is the love that family members pour on the couple during this amazing, momentous occasion. When we ask our brides what they’re most excited about for their wedding day, so many say “To celebrate with all my closest family and friends.” We agree! What other time do you both have the people that mean the most to do all in one room, celebrating YOU?

Inevitably, this love for your family translates into wanting pictures with your extended family. We’re all for marking this momentous occasion with our favorite thing – pictures! Dealing with extended family pictures can sometimes create chaos and frustration. Here are some tips on keeping the family (and the bride and groom!) smiling!


Tip #1:

Have a plan in place ahead of time! Know where and when extended family (which includes aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) needs to meet for pictures. After the bride and groom walk back down the aisle, it is super helpful to have the pastor ask the family to meet in a specific place for pictures. It’s usually going to be in the front of the venue where the ceremony took place, but it can differ according to the photographer’s recommendation. Even better is to make sure all the family knows before the ceremony that they’ll need to be ready to take pictures right after the ceremony. The announcement will be just a reminder instead of a “wait? does that include us?” moment for your family.


Tip #2:

Be realistic on how much time it takes! We totally understand wanting to take extended family pictures. We did them ourselves! You just need to remember that the larger the group is, the longer it takes for everyone to assemble in the front, be organized into an attractive group shot, and then disperse again. Often the entire group will be waiting for someone to track down that one last family member that ran off. The more combinations you do, the more precious time you’ll have to budget for family pictures.


Tip #3:

Think ahead of time about which family pictures are important to you. There are numerous combinations you can come up with. Do you really want a separate shot with each grandparent individually, or would you be happy with a shot of you with all the grandparents together? Do you need a picture of just the groom with his family, or would you be happy with having a shot of the groom’s family with both of you in it? The point of the whole wedding day is that you’re getting married! This means that you’re joining each other’s family and should be in each other’s pictures!


Tip #4:

Put someone in charge of keeping track of the family after the wedding. It almost inevitably happens that the entire group is up there ready for their picture, and someone says “Wait! We don’t have Uncle George!”. Uncle George has run off to find some reception food, so the group waits for someone to track him down. It’s really helpful to have someone that knows the family to make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time.


Tip #5:

Ask your moms (and dads!) ahead of time if they have any specific pictures they’re expecting to take. Sometimes the parents will ask for certain extra pictures during the family session. While this is generally not a huge problem, it can be hard to squeeze in several additional shots in the time budgeted for family pictures. It will help your photographer recommend a realistic amount of time for family pictures when they have an idea of how many shots really need to be taken.


Family pictures are super important, and well worth it! Think about these tips to help make it happen seamlessly and happily. You can always ask your photographer for their advice on how they like to organize the family pictures. They’ll be more than happy to give you their own tips on how to make it as easy as possible!

Family is one of the most beautiful blessings God has given us. Hug your mom today and tell her how much you appreciate her. :)

I love these people. —>




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