Updated: Aug 31
Your photographer will probably get allot of candid photos during the day of your family and friends. Still, you will want to have more formal photos with your family and friends. These are some of the most important pictures of your big day. My experience is that they are also some of the most challenging photos to get during the day, especially with multiple people, and getting kids to co-operate can be a nightmare. Trust me, these photos will cause you the most stress on your day.
Photo by Mark Benny
This is how it will go every time and this has happened to me more times than I can remember. You finally get Aunty Irene standing with you for the photo, but her husband, Uncle Daryl, has now disappeared to have a smoke. Aunty Irene goes and looks for Uncle Daryl, and while she is away looking for him, he turns up without her. Now she is missing in action, and you are waiting for her. Ok, so your thinking I'll just grab someone else to be in the photo. So you do, you get your brother, but your mum wants your sister in the photo as well. But your sister has ducked off to the toilet. Now times this by all your guests at the wedding. Do you see how this now becomes very stressful. It becomes a logistical nightmare. The whole time they are running around, you pay the photographer to just stand there, and you could be losing daylight for your romantic formal photos.
There is a stress-free solution!
I recommend only doing the more critical photos with the elderly, immediate family and children after the congratulating has quietened down straight after the ceremony. This is the best time as some of the elderly might have had enough already, and the children would have gotten their outfits dirty. They will be overtired and won't want their photos taken in a few hours. That grumpy, tired look isn't great for photos. Leave distant family members and occasional friends for the reception to have pictures with.
Make a checklist.
I can't say this enough, make a checklist! Create a list of all the family members or crucial friends you definitely want to have the more formal photos with.
Those photos that can't be missed. Think about which combinations you would like. Both parents, separate parents, Aunty Irene, all immediate family and so on. This will reduce the stress level, save time, and make sure you don't miss anyone.
Photo by Mark Benny
I've actually been blamed because I didn't have a photo of the bride with Aunty Margret. "You know, Aunty Margret. She was one of 80 ladies that was at my wedding. She was wearing a blue dress. What do you mean you don't know her?" Your photographer will not know your family or who is important to you generally. However, photographers do try to do their best to make sure everyone is photographed. But I can tell by experience, some people purposely hide from the camera. I always ask my couple who is critical to photograph and make a note to ensure that I get that photo. Still, your photographer can't know everyone that means something to you. Only you do, and so should your Drill Sergeant. That's right, a Drill Sergeant.
Have a Drill Sergeant ( aka Bossy Friend)
You have bridesmaids, groomsmen, MC, etc., but no one thinks they need a Drill Sergeant or a loud, bossy friend. Well, you do if you're having a big wedding.
Your photographer should position you ready for these photos in an accessible location for everyone with good lighting. You need to stay put. Stay in that position and don't look for anyone. It will waste time if you're running around looking for family and friends. People need to come to you! It's your wedding. And your photographer doesn't know who Aunty Margret is.
This is the role of your Drill Sergeant, someone who isn't afraid of organising people, and they need to know who your family are. There is always one in a group. My sister would be mine. You can hear her from miles away, and she has been Mrs Bossy my whole life. Organise a Drill Sergeant before the wedding and discuss this role with them. Of course, it could be one of your bridesmaids, groomsmen or the MC. They need to have the checklist of people you want to have photographs with. It's their job to organise and chase these people up for you, even if it means dragging them over. Very politely, of course.
Now and then, some other friends will want to jump into your photos and take their own, which is fine, and let this happen. As long as your Drill Sargent let's people know that you have organised groups waiting. Of course, this should always be done in a fun and casual fashion. Let your other friends know that photos can be taken later at the reception, that you have limited time with the photographer right now.
Creating a photo list and organising a Drill Sergeant will reduce stress, save time, and ensure that you have everyone photographed that is more important to you. Allowing you to enjoy your wedding, have a good time and have unforgettable memories.
For other wedding day tips and help check out my blog https://www.markbenny.com.au/weddingtipsblog
Or if you have any questions or like to know more email me at email@example.com
Mark Benny is a Newcastle, Hunter Valley and New England region based professional wedding photographer. He has been photographing weddings for over 14 years and has photographed more than 350 weddings.