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Family Portraits

Family Portrait List

Working from a well-organized family photo list ensures your Houston wedding runs smoothly.

Family Portraits on Your Wedding Day

Follow these instructions and ensure an ideal family photography experience.

Information Needed

Create a text document listing the first name and relationship of every person included in each photograph. Including your names isn't necessary.

When you indicate relationships, I can organize the list order. And with each person identified, I can address people by name when I'm taking photos. Here are properly formatted examples using made-up names:

  1. Couple w/ Officiant (Judge Bill)
  2. Couple w/ Billy's Parents (John, Jane)
  3. Billy w/ Billy's Parents (John, Jane)
  4. Couple w/ Billy's Parents & Sibling (John, Jane, John Jr)
  5. Couple w/ All Parents (John, Jane, Peter, Sally)

Sample List

Here are common family photo groups. Most couples create 10–15 groups. Photographing 15 groups takes 30–45 minutes.

Unnecessary duplication occurs when you're photographed both singly AND as a couple. Being photographed either singly OR as a couple is usually best.

  1. Couple w/ Officiant (first name)
  2. Couple w/ Flower Girls & Ring Bearers (comma separated first names)
  3. Couple w/ NAME's Parents (comma separated first names)
  4. Couple w/ NAME's Parents & Siblings (comma separated first names)
  5. Couple w/ NAME's Grandparents (comma separated first names)
  6. Couple w/ NAME's Parents & Grandparents (comma separated first names)
  7. Couple w/ NAME's Parents, Grandparents, & Siblings (comma separated first names)
  8. Couple w/ NAME's Parents (comma separated first names)
  9. Couple w/ NAME's Parents & Siblings (comma separated first names)
  10. Couple w/ NAME's Grandparents (comma separated first names)
  11. Couple w/ NAME's Parents & Grandparents (comma separated first names)
  12. Couple w/ NAME's Parents, Grandparents, & Siblings (comma separated first names)

IMPORTANT: Remind the people you've listed to stay after your ceremony. If you don't stress this need, they might leave the area. And when people disappear, family photos become chaotic and compromise your schedule.

Frequent Questions (FAQ)

Here are important family portrait questions and answers.

How many people should I include in each group?

Large groups present lighting and posing difficulties. They also take more time than small groups. Family groups with fewer than 12 people work best.

For example, two groups of 10 are more easily accommodated and require less time than one 20-person group.

Who should I include in family photos?

Family photos should include important people. However, minimizing groups reduces scheduling issues and organizational stress.

Every photo should serve a purpose. Ask yourself these questions when creating each grouping.

  1. Who needs this photo?
  2. Can another photo group address that need?
  3. Is every important person included?

How much time is needed for family photos?

Budget two to three minutes for each group. For example, photographing 12 family groups can take 24–36 minutes.

Although most family portraits occur outside, if an indoor location is required, I need an additional 15 minutes to set up and break down my light stands and flashes.

When should we schedule our family photos?

Family photos are usually scheduled after the ceremony. This timing helps guarantee that everyone is present. Some family members may arrive late. Scheduling family photography after your ceremony ensures everyone's presence.

Avoid setting separate before-ceremony and after-ceremony times for family photos. The time required for startup organization negates split-group advantages.

Also, when family members are asked to be present at both times, some may find the process inefficient, inconvenient, or frustrating.

Finally, split-group family portrait photography deliverables are inconsistent because backgrounds and lighting will be different between photo sets. Splitting also negatively impacts wedding album designs. In those situations, family portrait spreads are no longer inserted chronologically and that affects both design and storytelling.

Can I have a photo with everyone?

Sure! But to see everyone, I'll need a ladder, balcony, steps, or risers. If a balcony or high vantage isn't available, please provide an 8'+ ladder. Without a ladder, capturing everyone's face is difficult.

Photographs including all guests require a 15-minute schedule set-aside. This photo is best scheduled immediately after your ceremony and before your family photos.

Some DJs have suggested having this "everyone" photo during the reception. They claim it's helps get everyone on the dance floor. However, when DJs try this trick, many guests feel inconvenienced. Also, people who don't want to be on the dance floor still leave the dance floor. And most importantly, the venue layout, lighting limitations, and height vantage issues can sometimes limit my ability to take huge group dance floor photo—although that can also vary by venue layout.