Amandap h o t o g r a p h yBrisco

Family Photos on Your Wedding Day | Pittsburgh Wedding Photography


Heinz Chapel wedding pictures.


Okay, so it’s the day of your wedding and time is literally flying by.  We’ve already chatted quite a few times about the timeline for the day and you know that I am there keeping things on track, on time, and documenting the day as it happens.  Honestly, I really AM a photographer, but during the day I often wear multiple hats – veil fixer, dress bustle helper, and often a coordinator.  Don’t worry, I have a rhyme, a reason, and a routine with everything that I do.

So back to your wedding day timeline, we will break down the day and make sure we have the time in place to cover your events.  One of the major wedding photography events is your family formals immediately following your ceremony.  I say immediately following the ceremony with great importance.  Keeping a flow to the events is helpful obviously, but placing family formals right after the ceremony is helpful for a couple of reasons.  First of all, your bridal party and family members will expect it so they will likely be in the area when needed quickly.  Secondly, it is much easier to tell people to stay put and the end of the ceremony can be less hectic than a cocktail hour or reception when trying to find people.

To help you out, I have a few tips to help out when it comes to the family formals.  I know a lot of couples don’t like this photography part of the day.  I know, it can be boring and getting portraits of you and your new hubby is far more exciting, but family photos are extremely important to have and we need to make the time for them, but they also do not need to take all day.

Pittsburgh wedding family pictures.The Gathering Place wedding pictures.


Family dynamics are different across the board.  Who you select to have in these photos is entirely up to you.  You won’t ever hear me telling you who you should or should not have – with the exception of coworkers, college friends, etc.  Those are fun snap shots we can take at the reception.  But a good place to start is parents, siblings, and grandparents.  If you have aunts and uncles who you are very close with, by all means, include them.  Keep the groups small.  Larger groups will give you a wider shot, making everyone appear smaller in the photo.  I am a big fan of small, intimate groups.  Smaller groups also make for good opportunities for some candid shots as well – which tend to always be a favorite of mine.

Pittsburgh wedding photography.Groom with parents at Armstrong Farms Wedding.Wedding pictures at Armstrong Farms.


This is helpful for some, and not helpful for others.  If you have multiple groups, for both sides, it is sometimes easier to make a list of the names and the groups.  I will then take the list and literally call out names.  It’s a bit like roll call in school.  Chances are, I’m only going to really know you guys and maybe your parents and siblings, but I’m not going to know who Aunt Lisa is or Uncle Bob so I’ll need to just yell the names out to get their attention.  The more efficient we can be, the less time we can take on it.  These photos do not need to take a lot of time and having a list is often very helpful when organizing everyone.


This is my number one tip.  When you make the list of who needs to be in those photos, you NEED to tell them they NEED to be there.  If they don’t know they are on the list, they will likely hop in their car and head to the reception.  That isn’t hypothetical either, it’s happened before – trust me.  When that happens, it’s a ripple effect.  Someone gets upset that the photo isn’t taken, everyone is trying to figure out if they can get them to come back, and guess what …  tick-tock, tick-tock.  Yep, time is a wastin’!  Efficiency is key here!!!  I’ve been able to get multiple groups of photos taken in a short amount of time, simply because everyone was where they were needed to be at the time.

I have said this many other times already, but I’m a creature of habit.  I thrive on routine and like to keep things streamlined and efficient.  What we will do is snap a couple portraits of the two of you and then start adding family members.  I will build onto each group, work our way up, and then back down.  Then we switch to the other side of the family.  I don’t like for you to feel rushed and I certainly don’t like for your families to feel rushed either, but we don’t have the time to hang out and chat either during this time.  So you will find me quickly (and efficiently) organizing everyone and getting through those photos as quickly as we can because let’s face it –  we really want that extra time to get those romantic portraits … am I right?!

Heinz Chapel Wedding.Pittsburgh weddings.Pittsburgh wedding photography,

Greystone Fields wedding.Pittsburgh wedding photographer.


. Are you recently engaged and planning your Pittsburgh wedding?!  I’d LOVE to hear from you!  Please feel free to contact me below or email me directly at

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