daughter hugging father of the bride at wedding

5 Tips for Stress-Free Family Photos on Your Wedding Day


Everyone you love has gathered to celebrate you two, and one of the most joyful parts of the wedding day can get a bad rap for being stressful…family portrait time.

But, I promise it doesn’t have to be stressful! Though family photos can be a bit more formal than the rest of the photos from your day, we both know they are still important in documenting your dear family for generations to come to enjoy. So, after working with sweet couples and families for years, I’ve found the tips below always help this portion of the day to run nice and smoothly!

daughter hugging bride

  • Make a List.

This may sound counter-intuitive, as I (like many photographers) don’t work from a shot list throughout the day. But, this is the one place where a list works wonders! I personally draft up a family list for each of my couples, but some photographers may have you make your own list.

  • Edit that List Well.

Part of making your list is editing it well. My couples typically have big families and are super close to their families, so there are lots of people they love and care for dearly. With that, we still make edits to the list to stick to immediate family with one or two extended family photos at the very beginning. Pro tip? Save some of those extended family photos for the reception when we can have the DJ/band call everyone onto the floor for a fun informal photo!

  • Plan Enough Time.

This may sound obvious but talk with your photographer about how much time they think they’ll need. Better to plan ahead of time than be caught off guard the day of. Typically, all my couples schedule 30 minutes for family portraits after the ceremony (or before the ceremony if it’s a winter wedding and light is fading quickly!).

father and son photo at wedding

  • Head Outdoors.

If you’re not having an outdoor ceremony already, plan to have your family photos taken outdoors. People are already headed outdoors after the ceremony, so then we can gather everyone outdoors and you’ll end up with a beautiful backdrop! Unfortunately, many churches aren’t lit well or have odd color casts, so heading outdoors to the front steps or a nearby area makes for simple, clean and gorgeous family photos!

  • Communicate & have a point person.

Good ol’ communication. I know this sounds overstated, but take the time to reach out to every family member who will be involved so they know when and where to meet! Then, on the day of, have a point person who can help gather family members. Personally, I’ll have my assistant help work through the list and call out names, but having a personal member of the family who knows who Aunt Sue or Uncle Ken are will help gather people more quickly.

Are you in the midst of wedding planning and craving to have photographs that are so genuinely  you?
Well, I’d love to hear from you!

Do you have any other questions about planning for smooth family portraits on your wedding day? Say hello!

Amy Nicole Photography has been documenting stories of life and love for 10 years. Amy is based in Charlottesville, VA but travels all over Virginia and the US for simply elegant weddings. She strives to create timeless, genuine and effortless photos for you and your family to enjoy for years to come. 

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I take a limited number of sessions each month (plus, I’m a bit of a planner and always account for possible weather and sick days!) I’d love to set up a time to chat with you, hear your vision and answer any questions! 

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