Welcome to my blog. On this page you will find articles I personally write about the photography industry and my work. You will also see blogs showing the photos from many of my photo sessions.
How do I take family formal photos?
To the family, the family formal photos are among the most important of the day. After the bride and groom portraits, these are the photos that most often get printed and framed. These photos are the only opportunity for parents and other family members to have their pictures taken with the bride and groom.
Typically the family formal photos are taken a couple hours before the ceremony begins. I like to allow at least 90 minutes for family photos. I can take these photos pretty quickly as long as the subjects in the photos don’t wander off.
I like to have a list of photos to take but if I don’t I can do it on the fly. I know the most common and popular photos to take so I will call those out. Sometimes even if I have a list I will have additional photos I will suggest taking that aren’t on the list.
Here’s generally how I take the photos: if the photos are to be taken inside a church they most commonly will be shot at the front of the sanctuary. I will always set up strobe lighting for these photos. I see so many photographers who fail to do this and just take photos without any external light source. Sorry, but I cringe at this. In my view these photos won’t be as good. Other photographers will put a flash directly on the camera and shoot that way. Again, in my view that is not the way to get the most photos.
I use either one main light in the center or two lights on either side with umbrellas to soften the light. The result of using these lights is that the entire scene is well lit. You won’t see the people in the photos with well-lit faces and the background be overly dark. You won’t see people in the photos with dark, shadowy faces. It takes some extra work to set up these lights, but it is well worth the effort.
When family formal photos are taken in between the ceremony and reception, it is essential that no one in the photos leave the area. There is no time to wait. These photos must be taken quickly because reception guests are waiting.
This article is part of a blog series on how I approach a wedding photography assignment. Other articles are on: bridal prep? How do I photograph wedding details? How do I photograph a ceremony? What do I do in between the ceremony and reception? How do I photograph a reception? And how do I complete the job once the wedding is over?