Sample Family Formal Photo Lists

Ah family. The most hectic part of any wedding day. I wanted to start this entry with explaining that I love family. It's one of the biggest parts of keeping a relationship together. It's also so important to them to be a part of your big day. They always want more photos. Traditionally, there is always a time to take family formals and get those posed shots for mom to hang on her wall. While some of the more unconventional Brides don't want to spend time on these, it sometimes becomes a necessity to keep everyone happy with the day.

But one of the things that makes this process go smoothly, is a clear and concise list of the family members included in each shot. Then as the photographer, I can reference this list to make sure we propel through the photo session and get all of the must have shots. So I wanted to give you an example of what that might look like below. Keep in mind to also mention any distinct family relationships that I might need to be aware of. For example, if mom and dad are divorced and will not stand next to each other because of bad blood, I need to know so I don't accidentally make a suggestion that is met with anger. Let's keep everyone happy!

Sample Family Formals

Groom's Side

Groom with Groom's Parents
Groom with Groom's Mom
Groom with Groom's Dad
Groom with Groom's Parents & Siblings
Groom with Groom's Grandparents
Bride and Groom with Groom's Parents
Bride and Groom with Groom's Grandparents
Bride and Groom with Groom's Parents & Siblings
Bride and Groom with Grooms Grandparents, Parents, & Siblings
Bride and Groom with full Groom's side of the family (extended)

Bride's Side

Bride with Bride's Parents
Bride with Bride's Mom
Bride with Bride's Dad
Bride with Bride's Parent's & Siblings
Bride with Bride's Grandparents
Bride and Groom with Bride's Parents
Bride and Groom with Bride's Grandparents
Bride and Groom with Bride's Parents & Siblings
Bride and Groom with Bride's Grandparents, Parents, & Siblings
Bride and Groom with full Bride's side of the family (extended)

Both Sides

Bride and Groom with both sets of parents
Bride and Groom with both sets of grandparents
Full family on both sides - a large wide shot of everyone

Other Considerations

Things to keep in mind during this include the kids on each side of the family, the order in which you photograph the sets, and the wedding party.

I keep the wedding party separate. These are the close friends, and most of the time they photograph better in fun, candid ways rather than formal sets. 

The order in which you do the groups can mean EVERYTHING. I usually try to start with the big groups first. That way, as they are photographed, people can leave toward cocktail hour as the group narrows down. This also cuts down on the traffic of having a bunch of people milling about.

Do you have a big family? Leave a comment below on the number of people you'd have to squeeze into a shot!