Family Photo Lists

July 6, 2021

taking family photos at your wedding




Taking Family Photos at Your Wedding

Part 1: Family Photos Lists

Family photo lists are a very important part of your wedding day. Taking family photos at your wedding will without a doubt be one of the most frustrating parts of your day, however, they’ll also be some of your most displayed photos. Taking these family photos doesn’t have to become a dreaded chore that takes hours away from you. Personally, I try to keep family photos to 30 minutes or less. Because of this, family photo lists are a very important! A bit of prior planning will go a long way.

When making your family photo lists it’s important that you write it out personally. Try to avoid the generic photo lists that you find online. Often these lists have 40+ combinations, many of which don’t pertain to you, and sometimes they leave out important photos that you may want. Because every family is different and has different dynamics between members, its nearly impossible to have something thats one-list-fits-all. I don’t want to call out a grandparents photo if they are no longer with us. Likewise, I don’t want to refer to ‘mom and dad’ in a photo if they are divorced (and perhaps remarried) and don’t want to be photographed together. This is why family photo lists help tremendously!

To stay within the 30 minute time frame I normally tell my clients to stick to 15 photos or less. Less if you include large family groupings. If you can, stay away from including the large groups with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Sometimes this is unavoidable and I totally understand. In those cases, I would suggest keeping it as minimal as you can, perhaps one large group for each side of the family. Just keep in mind that doing these large groups may cause you to have to delete some of the other photos from your list.

Here is a (generic) family photo list that would keep family photos within reason:

  • B+G+ Bride’s grandparents on mother’s side
  • B+G+ Bride’s grandparents on father’s side
  • B+G+ Bride’s Parents
  • B+G+ Bride’s Parents and Siblings and significant others
  • Bride and siblings
  • B+G+ Groom’s grandparents on mother’s side
  • B+G+ Groom’s grandparents on father’s side
  • B+G+ Groom’s Parents
  • B+G+ Groom’s Parents and Siblings and significant others
  • Groom and Siblings
  • Other Photos without Bride and Groom:
  • Bride’s parents
  • Groom’s parents
  • Bride’s grandparents (both sets)
  • Groom’s grandparents (both sets)

Again, much like other lists, this is just a starting point and some may not pertain to your situation.

Part 2: When to take Family Photos

For most weddings, the best time to take your family photos is directly after the ceremony. Even if you do a first look I normally recommend that you save the family pictures for after the ceremony. The reasoning is because it doesn’t require anyone to be there early. If you take your family photos before the ceremony you’ll be asking the family to get there about 1-1.5 hours prior. Not only is this hard on anyone that’s elderly or who may have small children, but there will inevitably be people who are late (and usually it’s an important person that needs to be in 1/4 of the photos). Taking them afterward everyone will be there, and more importantly, all in one location.

Part 3: Locations

The majority of couples want to take family photos in the same location as their ceremony. If, for whatever reason, you have another location in mind please let me know. Sometimes ceremony locations need to be re-configured to host the reception the in the same room, lighting may not be ideal (we don’t want everyone staring into the sun!), or maybe you just like another room at your venue better. Whatever the reason may be, let your family members know where to go after the ceremony. If they need to stick around in the same room tell them to stay in (or go back to) their seats. If you have another location in mind tell them what room that is and how to get there. My best advice is to have a couple of go-to people, usually a brother or sister on each side of the family. Those people should have a family photo list and can make sure everyone on that list sticks around and doesn’t leave!

  1. Hi Holly! Thanks for sharing those tips. As a planner I like seeing it from a photographer’s perspective.


Holly's approach

As part of the most well documented generation, it's important to tell your piece of history purposefully, authentically, and in a meaningful way for your future generations. That is what I do. 

As an artist and storyteller, I'm deeply committed to capturing images that are genuine, joyful, and timeless. My goal is to authentically capture the essence of your unique story. With over 17 years of experience in the wedding industry and having shot over 400 weddings, I have gained invaluable insights into how to ensure that your special day runs smoothly. With my guidance, you'll know exactly where you need to be and when. I want my clients to feel completely confident in trusting me to direct their poses, manage the bridal party, and ensure that everything runs flawlessly. By placing your trust in me, you'll be able to fully enjoy and savor every moment of your wedding day without any worries or stress.


the scenes

Witness what its like collaborating with Holly by watching our comprehensive behind-the-scenes video.

© green holly photography 2023