Family Formals | Wedding Planning | Root & Arrow Photography

Family portraits are an important part of your wedding day! We know it can be rare to have everyone in one spot & you want to make sure you don't forget anyone. Here are some tips to help you plan for your family formals:

Make a detailed list- Make a detailed list of every single grouping you want & include names (not just mom or dad) because as photographers, we won't know who anyone is. We request that you provide us this list ahead of time so we can bring it with us- that way, it's one less thing you have to remember the day of! We have included a sample list at the bottom of this post for you!


Check with Family Members- Make sure to check in with your family members ahead of time to ensure you've got all of the shots that are wanted. 


Divorced or Blended Families- We can swap in & out people to make sure you have one with everyone included in the same shot, but that each parent also has a photo with just their relevant family members.  Please make sure to include these in your detailed list!

Groupings- We recommend keeping the family groupings under 15 people. We're happy to include extended family photos if you or your family wish, but want you to be aware that the quality suffers in larger groups. 


Family Portrait Monitor- We always ask our couples to appoint someone or even one person from each side of the family to help with portraits. Try to get someone who would know who most people are. The louder & bossier, the better! This helps so much when things are chaotic & we have to round people up in a short amount of time.


Make an Announcement- Make sure everyone who needs to be present for family formals knows where to be & when to be there. You can make an announcement after your ceremony or tell people ahead of time.  This can save us time & from having to track down relatives later in the day who might've left already.

Time- Make sure you schedule enough time to get these done. On average, family formals take 30-45 minutes depending on how many groups you have. Be aware of any time constraints you may have at your location as well- some venues have ceremonies scheduled back to back or churches may have a service that you need to be out before.


Location- The better your location, the better your images. It's as simple as that. I always recommend doing family formals outdoors & if the sun is high, finding a shaded area or a spot with the sun behind you. I know that's not always an option, but it's something to think about when you are viewing your venues!


Sample Shot List:

-Bride w/her mom & dad
-Bride w/mom
-Bride w/dad
-Bride & Groom w/her parents
-Bride & Groom w/her immediate family
-Bride w/her siblings (add groom)
-Bride & Groom w/her immediate family & grandparents
-Bride & Groom w/each set of grandparents
-Bride w/each set of grandparents
-Generational Shots

-Groom w/his parents
-Groom w/his mom
-Groom w/his dad
-Groom & Bride w/his parents
-Groom & Bride w/his immediate family
-Groom w/siblings (add bride)
-Groom & Bride w/his immediate family & grandparents
-Groom & Bride w/each set of grandparents
-Groom w/each set of grandparents
-Generational Shots

Happy planning!