Family Formal Photos: How to Conquer & Cherish | Alicia Yarrish

Family Formal Photos | How to Conquer and Cherish Them

March 11, 2020

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Family Formal Photos | How to Conquer and Cherish Them

March 11, 2020

Filled in :

I'm Alicia! The Houston Wedding Photographer that gets you the photos you want- minus the stress. 

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Tips for family formal photos on your wedding day by Alicia Yarrish Photography

Your wedding day timeline leaves a minute for everything. Usually, we reserve 30 minutes for family formal photos. Those precious minutes can become chaotic if not properly planned.

Chances are that you have a lot of family members. You’ll need to be strategic in your family formal photo groupings to stay on time. You’ll also have a lot to consider as far as location and if changing locations for family formals is too time-consuming.

In short, there are a lot of things to consider when diving into family formal photos. So let’s dive!

Family Formal Photo Groupings

I spell out specifically suggested family groupings in your 75 page Wedding Experience Guide magazine I send after you reserve your date with me. Spoiler alert, any more than 15 groupings will likely not be completed within 30 minutes. So be realistic.

Pick family groupings that make sense. And be sure you truly care about them. Starting with extended family groups then taking people out until it’s just you and your parents. As I mentioned, those specific family members are listed out by grouping in your Wedding Experience Guide.

Know that the “Photo with Aunt Kelley” can be done in the getting ready suite before your ceremony if she’s in your inner circle. Or at your reception. So try and limit you and one other person photos to just your parents and grandparents during the dedicated family formal time.

Where to Photograph Family Portraits

This largely depends on the nature of your wedding. Are you getting married in a church? Do you have an all-inclusive venue? Your parents will likely have input on where they would like family formals photographed. However, don’t feel like you can’t point out all the options and show your family examples.

If your ceremony is in a church and you photograph formals inside know that flash will be used. Otherwise, your photos will be too dark. This is not a bad thing, just a quality that you may want or may not want. An alternative to indoor church family formal photos is to step outside the church and use its exterior beauty as a backdrop. This option will depend heavily on your church specifically and how the light is.

Indoor Church Family Photos

Family Formal Photos by Alicia Yarrish Photography

If you’re hosting an outdoor ceremony it is usually safe to assume family formals will be photographed at your ceremony site.

If you are moving locations for family photos be sure to add extra time to allow for that. You have heels and not everyone in your family will be able to move quickly or easily.

Another creative option is to allow time to also photograph key groupings outside if you’d like the majority inside. Natural light creates a more appealing photograph. You’re more likely to hang a natural light photo on your walls for years to come.

Natural Light Family Formals

Natural light family formals at The Post Oak Hotel in Houston, Texas photographed by Alicia Yarrish Photography

Family Photo Logistics

There are a few things that ensure success to conquer family formal portraits. First and foremost is a plan. We will talk 8 weeks before your wedding day to start coming up with groupings that fit your families best. Groupings are written down with names and relations. That way we don’t miss anyone!

Secondly, you will appoint a helper. This person is usually a life long friend or sister that knows nearly everyone on both sides. With large families, it is best to appoint a helper for each side of the family.

Last but not least, your planner or coordinator will remind your officiant to have all the involved family members stay for photos. Dismissing the rest of your guests to cocktail hour. We will keep you in hiding until the majority of guests have made their way from the ceremony site. Even with the best intentions, you walking through a crowd of your closest family and friends always puts you behind schedule. Everyone is so excited to congratulate you!

Family Formal Portraits on Your Wedding Day

It can be easy to lose sight of how important these photos are. We’ve logistically planned. We have a list. They seem very systematic and robotic at times. But please don’t forget how meaningful family formal photos are! They are likely the only photos you will have of all of your family in the same photo. Family reunions don’t seem to happen like they used to. And that’s the only other event I can think of where your family members are all in the same location.

These photos can go into your wedding album, or you can have a special wedding album with only family formal portraits. They can be gifted as Christmas gifts to your family members. And of course, they can go on your walls.

Family formal portraits are such an important part of your day! And it’s my goal that they go smoothly, stress-free, and everyone looks their best.

Tips for family formal photos on your wedding day by Alicia Yarrish Photography

Your wedding day timeline leaves a minute for everything. Usually, we reserve 30 minutes for family formal photos. Those precious minutes can become chaotic if not properly planned.

Chances are that you have a lot of family members. You’ll need to be strategic in your family formal photo groupings to stay on time. You’ll also have a lot to consider as far as location and if changing locations for family formals is too time-consuming.

In short, there are a lot of things to consider when diving into family formal photos. So let’s dive!

Family Formal Photo Groupings

I spell out specifically suggested family groupings in your 75 page Wedding Experience Guide magazine I send after you reserve your date with me. Spoiler alert, any more than 15 groupings will likely not be completed within 30 minutes. So be realistic.

Pick family groupings that make sense. And be sure you truly care about them. Starting with extended family groups then taking people out until it’s just you and your parents. As I mentioned, those specific family members are listed out by grouping in your Wedding Experience Guide.

Know that the “Photo with Aunt Kelley” can be done in the getting ready suite before your ceremony if she’s in your inner circle. Or at your reception. So try and limit you and one other person photos to just your parents and grandparents during the dedicated family formal time.

Where to Photograph Family Portraits

This largely depends on the nature of your wedding. Are you getting married in a church? Do you have an all-inclusive venue? Your parents will likely have input on where they would like family formals photographed. However, don’t feel like you can’t point out all the options and show your family examples.

If your ceremony is in a church and you photograph formals inside know that flash will be used. Otherwise, your photos will be too dark. This is not a bad thing, just a quality that you may want or may not want. An alternative to indoor church family formal photos is to step outside the church and use its exterior beauty as a backdrop. This option will depend heavily on your church specifically and how the light is.

Indoor Church Family Photos

Family Formal Photos by Alicia Yarrish Photography

If you’re hosting an outdoor ceremony it is usually safe to assume family formals will be photographed at your ceremony site.

If you are moving locations for family photos be sure to add extra time to allow for that. You have heels and not everyone in your family will be able to move quickly or easily.

Another creative option is to allow time to also photograph key groupings outside if you’d like the majority inside. Natural light creates a more appealing photograph. You’re more likely to hang a natural light photo on your walls for years to come.

Natural Light Family Formals

Natural light family formals at The Post Oak Hotel in Houston, Texas photographed by Alicia Yarrish Photography

Family Photo Logistics

There are a few things that ensure success to conquer family formal portraits. First and foremost is a plan. We will talk 8 weeks before your wedding day to start coming up with groupings that fit your families best. Groupings are written down with names and relations. That way we don’t miss anyone!

Secondly, you will appoint a helper. This person is usually a life long friend or sister that knows nearly everyone on both sides. With large families, it is best to appoint a helper for each side of the family.

Last but not least, your planner or coordinator will remind your officiant to have all the involved family members stay for photos. Dismissing the rest of your guests to cocktail hour. We will keep you in hiding until the majority of guests have made their way from the ceremony site. Even with the best intentions, you walking through a crowd of your closest family and friends always puts you behind schedule. Everyone is so excited to congratulate you!

Family Formal Portraits on Your Wedding Day

It can be easy to lose sight of how important these photos are. We’ve logistically planned. We have a list. They seem very systematic and robotic at times. But please don’t forget how meaningful family formal photos are! They are likely the only photos you will have of all of your family in the same photo. Family reunions don’t seem to happen like they used to. And that’s the only other event I can think of where your family members are all in the same location.

These photos can go into your wedding album, or you can have a special wedding album with only family formal portraits. They can be gifted as Christmas gifts to your family members. And of course, they can go on your walls.

Family formal portraits are such an important part of your day! And it’s my goal that they go smoothly, stress-free, and everyone looks their best.

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