The portrait sessions on your day will have you feeling a bunch of emotion – from elation to frustration. We will go over ways to limit the latter but there’s no way to eliminate it unfortunately.
The couple session will be similar to the engagement session so try to remember the tips and tricks we taught you and we’ll knock it out of the park. The bridal party session will be quick – wrangling up everyone can be a task, but overall it should be fun! The family portrait session is where things get stressful.
Our best advice for family formals would be to have a list prepared ahead of time (we’ll help you with this) and send a google calendar invite to all family members. This allows you to set alerts which can be set around timing and location. We’ll go over that in bit.
Let’s start with the easiest – you and your new spouse! Depending on whether or not you opted for a first look, we’ll either start with the couple portraits or end with them. The thing to remember with couple portraits is that the more time you give us, the better.
If you think about the engagement session, we had about 2 hours for portraits. If we only had 30 minutes to shoot, think about all the photos you wouldn’t have received had we cut the session after 30 minutes. We know we can’t expect 2 hours of photos on your wedding day, but try to allocate enough time so we can get you all the photos and video you want to remember your day by.
We’ll take the ‘camera aware’ photos – those staple shots that even if you feel you don’t want, your parents or grandparents will definitely need. Plus, a beautiful traditional portrait is a perfect framed print on your desk at work. Then we’ll move to more creative shots.
If you hired us for only video, we’ll work with your photographer to make sure we get a few minutes of our own time – either at the end of the photo session or jumping in whenever we can to get what we need. Most of the time photographers have no problem with us interjecting every now and then to get the shot but if they do for some reason, we’ll ask to get 10 minutes at the end where it’s just us.
WHAT IF IT RAINS?
Do you know the story behind the belief that rain on your wedding day is good luck? Well the story goes that back in the day when the tradition of marriage included tying a knot (hence the term ‘tying the knot’), couples would literally tie rope together to symbolize the bond of two becoming one. So when it rained, the ropes actually get stronger because wet rope holds together stronger than dry.
As much as rain on your wedding day may not be ideal, we can actually use it to our advantage. Some of our favorite images we’ve ever taken have been from getting our couples out in the rain. Before you step out into the wetness however, you should probably get an umbrella or two. We recommend clear ones or plain white or plain black ones. Try to stay away from any busy patterns or colors.
Depending on the size of your bridal party, this part of the portrait session should be pretty quick. Where we sometimes see a delay is getting everyone in one location on time. Once we have everyone and depending how cooperative they are, we should be able to get all bridal party photos done in 15 minutes.
We’ll most likely start with the hardest shot to get – the creative group shot. We’ll pose each person to make sure the photo looks balanced and everyone is seen.
From there we’ll do a more traditional shot where everyone’s in a line. This is much easier to direct since we can speak to the group as a whole!
Once the full bridal party is done, we’ll move to Groomsmen and Bridesmaids group photos. These are photos of you and your bridemaids and your groom and his groomsmen. There’s a chance these might have been completed during preps. If so, we won’t be shooting them again.
We’ll also want to capture you with each bridesmaid and your groom with each groomsman. The trick to these photos is keeping you stationary and having your bridemaids/groomsmen step in and out quickly.
We do get the request sometimes to have the bride with the groomsmen and the groom with the bridemaids. If this is something you want, please be sure to bring this up to our attention!
9 out of 10 times family portraits is where our couples experience the biggest frustration on their wedding day. People not showing up on time, having side conversations and not paying attention, coordinating who goes where and doing it in a timely manner – it’s just one of those things you have to get through. Here are some tips to hopefully get you through it without too much stress.
First start with your list. If you saw each other for the first time at the ceremony, hopefully you took our advice and added enough time in your preps to get most of the photos out of the way. If time didn’t allow you to get any portraits done, we’ll be shooting all combinations in this session (refer back to the PREPS section and see the list of photos we recommend). We’ll start with the hardest shot first – the one with everyone. Once we have that completed, it’s as simple as removing people from the group. The document we ask you to fill out 3 months prior to the wedding day will ask you for all your family portrait combinations.
Now that you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to get everyone on board with the plan. There’s no easy way to manage everyone without having them download special apps or jumping through hoops. That’s probably not going to happen. But most people do have a smart phone with a built in calendar or app that manages events in their life.
We recommend creating a calendar event and sending it to everyone on the list.
The beauty of creating an event and sending it to each person is that you now have the ability to change locations, times, etc and update everyone on the fly. You can even set custom alerts so they’re reminded at a certain time prior to the event, and you’re able to see who has accepted (and can bug those who haven’t).
One thing to note – if your family formals will happen immediately after your ceremony, we do not recommend setting an alert 30 minutes prior as phones may not be on silent and you might have them buzzing in the middle of your ceremony!
In the notes section, you can add any relevant information or send them a personal message. Here’s what we’ve written (just incase you want to copy):
Hi Everyone! We’re so excited for you to join us on our wedding day! You are all a huge part of our lives and helped shape us into who we are today. Because of that, we’d love for you to be in some formal photos with us!
Here’s the thing though, we are on a very tight timeline and need to be as efficient as possible. We’re creating this calendar event to help manage the group and keep everyone on time.
We’ll update this invite/group with timing and location but for now, please accept it so it’s on your calendar.
Thanks so much!
Love, Bride & Groom