When should we take the family photographs on our wedding day?

Weddings are one of the most important occasions in a person’s life. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take photos with all your family members, celebrate and have fun as you begin your new journey. However, family photographs at a wedding can sometimes be stressful as people may be missing when they’re required, and it can be difficult to coordinate with everyone. This can mean a significant delay, and there’s the risk of running out of time.

You should decide in advance where you would like to have the family photographs taken so that you can make your photographer aware accordingly. To make it easier, I have added a few tips below on how you can plan to take family photographs at your wedding that will help your day flow seamlessly.


Altar/Ceremony Space

Traditionally, formal photos are taken at the altar, whether inside the church or in the outside spaces. If you opt for having the group photos at the ceremony space inside, then your photographer may need to take some time to set up lighting. Many couples often plan for family photos here, as their parents got married and started their new journey at the same place, and would like a similar photograph as a beautiful memory. It’s great to plan family formals here before you leave for the venue as this means minimal disturbance, and you can focus on what is more important – getting great photos!

Wedding Venue

You can also plan to have the family portraits at the venue if you want to capture the beautiful surroundings. If there are beautiful, bright spaces, then you have the option to have some shots taken at the start of the ceremony or before the cocktails. However, I first find the perfect spot for that. I always like capturing family pictures outdoors in natural light, so everyone gets evenly lit in the shade and doesn’t need to squint and blink – the sun can get too harsh! Also, that gives me an opportunity to explore and experiment a lot with my surroundings creatively.

Before the Ceremony

Taking family photographs before the wedding ceremony is typically a new practice. It has started to replace the old tradition whereby the couple wouldn’t see each other until they arrive at the altar. But trust me, planning family photos before the ceremony works well if you want to get the shots taken quickly without any distraction. It gives you the freedom and time to have your photos taken with ease. It will help you relax, enjoy your drinks, and celebrate your big day with your loved ones without interruption. 

These ideas will help you plan your family portrait session. Make sure all your family members arrive at a specific time to be ready for the family portrait hour. As a photographer, when I work with my clients, I usually send them a questionnaire a month before the big day so they can share all the essential details with me. I ask them for the list of family shots or group photographs they would like so that I know who will be involved in this part of the day, and accordingly, I can plan out a timeline. Typically, I recommend the session to be about 10-15 minutes so that you are not missing the important fun at your wedding and cocktail hour.

When all’s said and done, it’s your day, and I want you to decide and take a call on the photo list and where you are going to take the family photographs. You can check out a wedding here with gorgeous outdoor family portraits for more inspiration and ideas.