3 Essential Tips to Master the Family Portraits on Your Wedding Day


Weddings are such a special occasion: not only are you starting a life with the one you love, but it's a time when both sides of the family will at the same place at the same time! We believe that family photos are one of the most important parts of the wedding day- It's not every day that both sides of the family will be together at the same time. The family portraits are a small part of the day, but one we wouldn't want to miss!

There are 3 essential tips for rounding up the family for photos and getting images that everyone will love: 

Tip #1- Have a list of the family groupings and share this with your photographer.

This is a BIG one and one of the most important. Prior to the wedding, work with your photographer on developing your list of what family members you would like to include in the family photographs. By having a list in advance, your photographer is able to literally "check-off" each grouping as they go through the family photos to make sure that no one is missed! (Note: We recommend starting with the largest group first, followed immediately by groupings with any grandparents or elderly relatives so that they can be released to enjoy a cocktail hour or reception and have a chance to sit down instead of waiting for their turn for photos.) 

When making your list, we advise that you follow a format such as "Bride's Immediate Family" and "Groom's Immediate Family" instead of listing out individual names. Your photographer may not know who Joe, Sue, and Bob are or what type of grouping is being taken, but everyone will easily understand when we ask for the "Bride's Extended Family" to come forward for photos.

Popular Family Groupings that we recommend at Muschlitz Photography are: 

-with each extended family 

-with each set of grandparents

-with each immediate family

-with both immediate families

-with each set of parents                     

-with both sets of parents

-with each set of siblings                     

-with both sets of siblings

-with officiant

Tip #2- Plan to take the family photos immediately after the ceremony AND tell your guests in advance to stick around.

The best time to get the family together for portraits is immediately after the ceremony. Everyone will already be at the ceremony and it's the easiest time to round them up before going to the reception. We usually recommend taking the family portaits at the alter or wherever the ceremony is taking place. Be sure to alert your relatives in advance to stick around after the ceremony for portraits. Once your family is released to a cocktail hour or reception, it's very difficult to get people together for photos. (At the reception people are eating, dancing, stepping out of the building, and taking care of children). In very rare cases, it is possible to take some of the family portraits of your immediate family before the ceremony (parents, siblings, and immediate family), but it is typically more difficult to have your extended family present and least an hour or so prior to the wedding.

Tip #3- Before the wedding, select a "helper", someone on each family's side, to help round up and organize family members after the ceremony. 

It is so important to have someone, usually a relative on each family's side, who knows everyone and who is willing to help organize family members for your portraits. They can help to make sure that every is present and grouped next to their spouse or partner in the portraits. This is a huge help in making your family photos move quickly and efficiently-- we definitely want to get you all to the reception and celebration as soon as possible for more candid photos of the celebration!


Are you planning a wedding and looking for a photographer for your Columbus, Ohio wedding? We'd love to work with you! Contact us here to check our availability and schedule a free consultation. You can also call 614.301.8579 or email us directly at [email protected].