The ‘F’ Word

Right, i hate the ‘F’ word – FORMAL. Your family group photos dont have to be that way. Your experience of having these photos done and the look and feel of the […]

Right, i hate the ‘F’ word – FORMAL. Your family group photos dont have to be that way. Your experience of having these photos done and the look and feel of the photos when you see them after the wedding will almost entirely depend on your photographer. Here are my rules…

  • The Family Photos will not take more than 30 mins. More like 20 mins. It’s a wedding, NOT a photo shoot.
  • I do them right by where eveyone is having a drink. This makes it easier to gather people and you wont feel like i am dragging you away from your wedding.
  • If the sun is out you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO HAVE YOUR BACKS TO THE SUN. Squinting into the sun will give you a headache and the shadow on your faces looks rubbish. If there is no sun we can do them anywhere.
  • I don’t mind people having drinks in the photos. Why not? It’s a party after all. Having said that – glasses full of champagne only please. No orange juice and no bottles of beer.
  • For the larger groups i use a bench or some sort of seating with arms. You two sit down, a lady perched on each arm and everyone else gathered around. Everyone looks much more relaxed than if they were standing in a line and i can get in closer to see everyone in more detail.
  • I gather everyone together who is involved in any of the photos before we start. The thing that slows these photos down is having to keep going off to find people for the next photo. I’ll often ask a waiter to top everyone up with champagne too. It makes it feel like it’s just an extension of the party (which it is!).
  • I never ask people to do ‘crazy’ things like run towards the camera or get all the boys to hold up the bride. If you want to do these things that’s cool (except running towards the camera) but it needs to come from you. otherwise we’re faking stuff which is all wrong.
  • The formality of these photos is very much dependent on the people in each photo. More formal for parents, less formal for your friends etc. and that’s just how it should be.
  • It’s not about ensuring that everyone in the photos look perfect. That is never going to happen. It’s about ensuring that you have a great set of appropriate photos without it taking over the whole drinks reception.

I always suggest a list of such photos that will cover your bases politically and ensure that it doesn’t drag on. If i was you, I’d really grill your photographer about how he/she intends to go about these photos. If they get it wrong it can completely ruin your drinks reception. Get it right and you’ll have plenty of time to swan about with a glass of champange chatting to everyone. You might actually want to look at the photos too. The people in the photos below look like they are having a good time because they are. That’s what it’s all about.