Hey y'all! I’m Haleigh, 

- a wedding photographer based in Louisiana and serving the Southern US. I adore serving kindhearted couples who value timeless and romantic imagery. From sweeping veils to Southern estates and madly in love couples, you’ll find all the dreamy and heartfelt images right here on the blog!

January 5, 2023

A Wedding Family Portraits Guide | Haleigh Kirkland Photography

There is one important part of every wedding day that tends to get overlooked – wedding family portraits. I get it, family portraits can sometimes be a little tedious compared to romantic bride and groom portraits. They can even sometimes be dramatic or frustrating since every family dynamic is different.

But remember – these are the images that everyone will be sharing on social media, the images that your parents will likely frame in their homes, and even ones we will cherish once loved ones have passed away. This part of the day doesn’t have to – and shouldn’t – make you want you to pull your hair out! Here are some easy tips to make this portion of the day less stressful for you and everyone involved!

Create a Wedding Family Portrait List

This is the most obvious tip to make family portraits easy, but it’s so often overlooked! I know that wedding planning can be overwhelming and this is just one more task to add to the mile long to-do list for a bride. But having a set list has so many perks! Once your photographer has a family portrait list, they know exactly who to call out for the next portrait, meaning that no important pairing gets left out! Finally, this also creates boundaries so that family members don’t keep adding on a million different pairings when it’s time for you to head to the reception.

Here is a sampling of what a very basic family portrait list can look like (be sure to include all names for your photographer!):

  • Bride + Groom w/ Brides Parents
  • Bride + Groom w/ Brides Parents and Siblings
  • Bride + Groom w/ Brides Parents and Grandparents
  • Bride + Groom w/ Brides entire immediate family
  • Bride + Groom w/ Grooms Parents
  • Bride + Groom w/ Grooms Parents and Siblings
  • Bride + Groom w/ Grooms Parents and Grandparents
  • Bride + Groom w/ both families together

Consider Family Dynamics

Every family is different and that’s okay! Some are traditional families while some have step parents and siblings. Some are super close with an aunt or uncle that raised them and some might even include friends that are so close they could be considered family! While the list above is just an example, it’s not one size fits all. Each family is unique, so your shot list should be too! Don’t be afraid to add those that are most important to you. Consider all of the VIPs in your life when crafting your list.

Communicate with Your Family Ahead of Time

Make sure that every person on the list knows when and where to show up for family portraits. If you’re doing a first look and all portraits are before the ceremony, always tell family members to show up a little bit early. This will keep us on schedule even if someone shows up a little bit late. If your family portraits will be done after the ceremony, make sure that they know to stay put when the ceremony is finished. In some situations you can even have the officiant announce a reminder for family to remain nearby for photos after the ceremony.

Schedule Enough Time

Above all, make sure you have enough time for your list! I typically recommend at least 30 minutes for family portaits. Of course, this does depend on your list as a whole and special family situations. Some couples only need 15 minutes with a short list while some might need 40. Sometimes a church will only allow 15 minutes afterward the ceremony for family photos. In this case, either create a very small list (around 6 images) or choose to do all photos before the ceremony elsewhere. Most importantly, communicate your list with your photographer and planner. They can ensure that enough time is scheduled based on the amount of images needed.

No matter what your family looks like, consider this part of the day as an honor to those who made you who you are! Cherish these moments and show your appreciation to them during your wedding family portraits.

Wedding Family Portraits Additional Links

Looking for more wedding day education? Check out my education blog posts here for more tips.

Ready to book your special day? Contact me to learn more info about my collections and services offered!

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