Planning your Wedding Day Family Portraits | Maine Wedding Photographers

Whether you’ve opted for a first look before the ceremony or you’ve decided to not see each other until you walk down the aisle, one thing that remains a constant is your family portraits. Dean and I like to work with our couples well before their wedding to help them plan out how their family portraits will go. We do this because we want to make sure that your family portraits are a breeze and that everyone can get to the party as soon as possible! While our couples love to have their family portraits captured, no one wants to stand around for the entire cocktail hour just getting their photo taken!

Formal family portraits are a great way to spend some time with your loved ones and create wall portrait worthy images that will last a lifetime.  But lets back up a bit.  When considering your formals, there are a number of questions to consider.

Where will they be?

While there may be some gorgeous vistas at your venue, for family formals we keep the backgrounds simple so that you & your family are the focus of the images. Our goal is for you to look back on your family portraits and remember the family that was there to celebrate your day. A lot of the time that gorgeous scenic visa is going to be in the direct sun during cocktail hour, we don’t want everyone squinting in the images! On top of that, the background will be blocked by everyone in the image. We will keep the family portrait session close to where you are already so that family and your wedding party don’t have to walk far, that helps us save time and makes it easier on your grandparents and any children that may be in the portraits. Lets keep those stunning scenes for portraits of just the two of you during your sunset session!

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Wedding Day Family Portrait Planning

During your portrait session we are going to work through the list we’ve created with you to ensure everyone is in and out of the posed groupings and onto the fun. We always like to put any groupings with grandparents and small children up first. We joke that they have the same attention span - but you probably don’t want your 90 year old grandmother standing around for 30 minutes waiting her turn or the flower girl and ring bearer rolling in the grass (although, after family portraits, that makes some amazing candids!). From there we will start with both of your immediate families combined and break it down until we have smaller and smaller groups ending with just the two of you for your portraits.

Who will be in them and how will you coordinate everyone?

Make a list of who you really want to have your photos with (names and relation) and sharing it with us in advance helps determine flow - we will send along a blank timeline after you book with us to start filling out. We recommend keeping the list on the shorter side - grandparents, parents, step parents, siblings & significant others & any children. Also if there are divorces/remarried parents please let us know if they get along or not. We will do groupings with each set but for the large family formal with both sides we need to know if we need to separate them.

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How much time should you allot for formals? 

The larger the groups, the more time you will need to get everyone together. We recommend setting aside 3 minutes per group. People always run off for snacks, drinks, or to find other family members which adds onto the time taken for the photos. This is where designating either a wedding party member or family member (or two) is helpful. We will have a list of names, but someone who knows faces helps move things along quickly.

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Extended Family Groups

We love extended families and getting as many guests in a shot as we can. One thing we highly recommend is keeping the extended family groupings to a minimum. If these are something you really want on your wedding day I recommend setting aside an extra 15-30 minutes after your ceremony for these, depending on how many groupings. It’s much easier to get everyone together immediately after the ceremony ends than it is to gather them later throughout the night.

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Friends Group Photos

This is where it’s better to get those informal groupings later on in the night. Often times our couples want to do photos with their college banners and the perfect time to do that is during the reception. Most couples will seat their college friends all at the same group of tables so while you’re going around during dinner hour welcoming and chatting with each of your guests, this is the perfect time to break out the college banner and get everyone into a group photo!

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Brittany and Dean are creative Maine Wedding Photographers who loving having fun with our wedding couples. We work together and separately to capture every emotion and angle on your wedding day. Two Adventurous Souls storytelling style will capture your wedding both in candid and naturally posed images. Whether you're planning an Adventure Wedding, Maine Wedding,  Costa Rica Wedding or anywhere in New England we will be there for you! For more info please contact us about your wedding photography!