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Get amazing Family + Chosen Family photos on your wedding day

Your family + chosen family photos do not need to be stiff…

On a typical wedding day, family + chosen family photos can be very "conveyor-belt" like. Everyone's goal is to get through all the combinations of mamas, papas, best friends, friend groups etc. as quickly as possible.

But for a photographer like me, that celebrates families + chosen families (and inclusivity in general), I always wonder if there can be more.

What if for specific (or all) photos, we spent a few more minutes and did something that would make you look back 20 years from now in awe and deep appreciation that you took these. Yes, I said awe...LOL.

I want clients to feel like their photos really captured the fun and love within their family + chosen family. Or, maybe they would feel…this is a bomb-ass photo of the people I love!

I have photographed hundreds of weddings and here are a few steps to getting amazing family + chosen family photos on your wedding day.

STEP 1: Get clear on the style(s) of family photos you would like

There are many styles when it comes to family photos. Here are the different styles I frequently use at weddings:

Note: While I will always get the traditional, upright, everyone look-at-the-camera photo, I encourage my clients to choose between 1-2 additional styles for all or specific photos.

Style 1: Love, love, give me all the love...

Style 2: Just Plain Silliness

Style 3: We love a Fancy or Dramatic Photo

Style 4. Candid moments inbetween the shots

STEP 2: Communicate what you would like to your photographer

Once you know what you want, let's chat about it during your pre-wedding consultation and we can make sure that there is time within your itinerary to make these shots happen.

And remember, not every photo needs to be super complicated. For example, I tend to save the super silly photos for the big group shots (e.g. all your friends or extended family). And in some cases, changing locations can dramatically improve the quality of your photos. For example, first, do all the large group photos near the ceremony area (so no one gets left out), and then relocate for the remaining small group photos to get a better background or lighting.

STEP 3: Communicate with your family before the wedding day

Because most folks think of family photos as being stiff, I find that it is helpful to give your family + chosen family a heads up or even send them a few example pics over group text. This will help them to relax in front of the camera and fully engage. And they won't look at me weird when I start making silly sounds or giving them prompts that facilitate connection.

Plus, it is a time saver.

Often, our loved ones hold back because they associate formal family photos as being stiff and performance-like. And for people of specific cultural backgrounds or the older generation, showing connection or silliness in front of the camera can feel a bit awkward.

But, in my experience, when these individuals see the photos and the joy that is captured, they are always grateful. So give them a heads-up!

These are my 3 steps to getting amazing family + chosen family photos!

Thank you for reading and happy wedding planning my friends!

- Brandi, your favorite photographer


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