These are IMPORTANT! I know, I know… they are not the most fun photos to be in, or the most fun photos to make time for, or the most fun photos to print out and frame. This is all true. It is really important to remember though that they are a testament that you can have forever of who was there. They are those images that are passed down from generation to generation. You mom will want to print them and so will your grandmother. We will take them for you because we take them for every wedding. We believe in them.
Photos and formal portraits take longer than you think. No matter how hard your friends and family try to focus, they will be very excited and most likely have a lot of trouble focusing! There are two ways to improve the progression of this notoriously challenging task, for both the photographer and the family. We will lead it for you and make is as enjoyable as possible, however there are a few things you can do on the planning end of things that will speed up the process AND make it a little more fun. First, make sure that everyone that you want to be in the photos, is aware when and where they should be for the formals. Finding people takes time, and that’s time people aren’t able to enjoy the cocktail hour and reception. Secondly, have a well planned idea of what photos you want to take so that we can go down the list, take care of business, and set everyone free. It’s also really important to make sure that the people in the photos are the only people hanging out in the area. We have often found that when guests see a professional photographer, and a beautiful set up, and people they love, it becomes very hard for them to resist “adding” a few requests to your carefully chosen mix. You will want to ask them into photos, and they will want a few for themselves too. It’s an honest and understandable move that tends to creep into your timeline. You can nip that in the bud by only inviting the necessary people to the “party”… so to speak. The faster the formal family photos happen, the faster you can do some romantic couple photos. One camera, only those people being photographed, and a solid plan it the most efficient way to go. Trust us.
Dan and I have a set list that we work from at every wedding, which includes five photos: Bride and Groom with Bride’s parents, Bride and Groom with Bride’s immediate family, Bride and Groom with Bride and Groom’s immediate family, Bride and Groom with Groom’s immediate family, and lastly Bride and Groom with Groom’s parents. This covers the really vital family groupings, and makes sure that we aren’t spending 45 minutes of the wedding day taking family formals. Occasionally couples will ask to add a few more to the mix, which we of course do for them! We can also assure you that these five groupings that we have chosen are the ones that most commonly get chosen for albums, get chosen for printing, and are generally loved more.
For fun, here’s one from my sister’s wedding. Dan had just photographed the entire ceremony by himself, since I was in the wedding. We were also working hard, navigating the waters of family formals with MY family! Who listens to the photographer when it’s your son-in-law right? It was hilarious. The funniest part was when we put the camera on a tri-pod and had Dan’s younger brother Stephen snap the shutter while Dan and I got in the photo. We completely forget to check and make sure we looked alright. Dan clearly had been working hard. I think it just adds to the story though. It was reality, which is exactly what my little sister wanted.