Family formals are an important although stressful part of the day. People who haven’t seen each other in a long time are catching up, it’s not uncommon to not be able to hold someone’s attention for long periods of time. I always try to make formals go as smoothly and quickly as possible and have a few tips to help with doing so! Along with some images so you can see what my family formals look like =)
Keep formals short and sweet! Keeping the group shots to immediate family members going no further than aunts and uncles cuts down on the time it will take for images.
I’m a big believer that simple is better. Keeping the set ups in more traditional poses cuts down on the time it takes to set up each group and doesn’t make your guests feel uncomfortable if they aren’t used to being in front of cameras.
Have your group shot list done ahead of time! And let everyone who will be in a family formal know they need to be at a certain place at a certain time.
When shooting with kids it’s all about just having fun with them. It’s best to get down on their level and make them feel comfortable and to only make them stay for a few shots. They really want to go party!
If you have a large side of the family and want them all in that photo we can start with that and then pull people out in layers until all the groups have been taken in that set. By this I mean we start the photo with a very large family group of the bride’s family, then peel away aunts/uncles/cousins, then peel away grandparents, then peel away siblings, so we’re left with just the parents. Then I shoot just parents with the bride and groom, then just the siblings, then just grandparents. Then we can repeat the process with the next family.
If you want a shot of everyone who will be at your wedding its best to do this right after the ceremony and have the officiant announce to everyone where to go for the shot.
If everything goes well and everyone is ready to have their images taken I can do family formals in about 20-30 minutes. You really don’t want them any longer than that.