How To Photograph Family Portraits

How To Photograph Family Portraits
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    Hi, everyone.
    I'm Jamie of jamiedelainewatson.com.
    This week on my YouTube channel, we're going to be talking about how to photograph family
    photos on the wedding day.
    It's a continuation of my How to Shoot a Wedding Day series.
    Let's get started.
    First of all, if you've been a wedding photographer for any length of time, you'll hear in the
    industry family photos getting a bit of a bad rap, that nobody likes to take them, they're
    kind of boring, they're often chaotic.
    And, while some of those things honestly could be true, we can never lose sight of the fact
    that these images are so important to the couple.
    They were important to me on my wedding day and they're important to my clients.
    So yes, it can be a chaotic time and yes, it can be the same pose over and over again
    but never lose sight of the fact that this is this couple's wedding day, and that's how
    we should be approaching every single part of the day.
    I'm super passionate about that.
    Number one, all of the family is already at the ceremony site, so there's no need to arrange
    a separate meeting place at a separate meeting time.
    Everybody is right there.
    Second, it's honestly just nice to get it out of the way.
    If the couple didn't do a first look, we'll be leaving after the family photos for the
    bride and groom portraits as well as the wedding party portraits, so having those family photos
    done and checked off our list is really helpful.
    Now I mentioned lists.
    I don't photograph family photos without a list.
    It's so important.
    Six weeks before the wedding day, I send a questionnaire that asks a bunch of timeline
    details, details about the vendor team, as well as the complete list of family photos
    the bride and groom would like.
    I do include a little bit of a line in there mentioning that I am happy to take extended
    family photographs, but to really make sure that these images are the ones that they absolutely
    want on their wedding day, and just trying to minimize that amount of time.
    I always want to do what the client wants.
    Some couples, the idea of taking extended family portraits on their wedding day sounds
    horrific.
    Other couples it is very, very important to them.
    So make sure your client's desires get heard and follow them as best as you can.
    So on this list, not only do I ask for bride' immediate family, I ask for the names of every
    single person that is going to be in this family photo list.
    This is also why I ask for it six weeks ahead of time and not a couple days before the wedding
    because no bride wants to be doing that.
    When you ask in advance, this will ensure that we will get a complete list that we can
    check off one by one, and make sure every person is in that image.
    I also find it very helpful to not need to call the mom and dad and the grandparents
    literally just by mom and dad and grandparents.
    It's nice to be able to use first names.
    I think it adds a personal touch.
    When I'm dealing with a big list of family photos, sometimes I do ask that I have a photo
    helper.
    What I mean by this is I'll find somebody on the day of, whether that's the maid of
    honor that knows the family very well, or even a sister if she could help with the other
    side of the family, of course not her side of the family because she'll need to be in
    those photos.
    But this is somebody who can help me gather groups of people.
    So if I'm looking for the groom's extended family, I don't want the groom, I don't want
    the bride or their parents running around the venue trying to find these people because
    there's images I can likely be taking of those people while we're waiting.
    So always send somebody who's not going in those images but still knows of a large group
    of the wedding to be helpful in that situation.
    The next thing you're going to want to do, and this is totally personal preference but
    it's worked amazing for me, is you're going to organize the family photo list you receive
    back from the bride and groom from largest grouping to smallest grouping.
    I don't see any point in doing just the bride and groom and the bride's parents and the
    groom's parents, and then just the siblings, just the sibling, then you go all the way
    down the list to then all the extended family that's been waiting around.
    No.
    We're definitely going to start with the biggest list possible.
    So we're going to go bride's extended family, bride's immediately family bride just with
    siblings, bride just with parents, and that sort of thing.
    The photo I usually have in the middle is bride and groom with both sets of parents,
    and then that's the last set of the bride's family will need to be in, and then we have
    just the groom's family stay.
    So one family will always be waiting about 10 or 15 minutes, but I think they understand
    and they can see that you're working hard.
    When I'm photographing family portraits after the ceremony, I'm almost always using my 35
    mm lens or my 50 mm lens.
    I prefer to use the 50 for any groupings I would say under about six people, but as I
    start to add more people to the photo, I do need to switch to my 35 mm lens.
    In terms of where specifically we're photographing these family photos, it really does depend
    based on the wedding.
    I make that decision when I show up to the ceremony.
    Often I prefer to do photos right at the front altar if there is a lot of natural light in
    the church.
    Sometimes I'll do photos on the steps outside of the church in a grassy spot with nice shade
    outside as well.
    You just have to get creative and work with what you have, but make sure when you're choosing
    a family photo location there is room for the largest grouping.
    You don't want to be moving people all over every time a grouping comes.
    It's also nice for the consistency of the family photos.
    The last tip is to always be polite.
    I understand that as photographers this can be a really stressful part of the day.
    You often have a lot of family members' cameras behind you.
    You often have people asking what's on the list or asking to add lists, or extended family
    members are coming over asking if they're in an image.
    Maybe the venue is trying to change over the room at the exact same time.
    Everything is hitting the fan right now, and I totally understand that, but we need to
    look like we are having a good time.
    Sometimes that might mean faking it for five minutes.
    I do have a good time when I shoot weddings, but sometimes that means smiling, and honestly
    your attitude will follow what you make your face do.
    If you're smiling, if you're trying to remain in control and ensuring everybody that everything
    is going to be okay, thanking people every single time you take a photo, thanking them
    for waiting, it is going to do wonders for your business and for what people feel like
    the experience in working with you was.
    Because that's another thing we can't forget.
    For a lot of these extended family members, this is the only interaction you will have
    with them on the wedding day.
    To have it be a negative one would be awful.
    So please, please be kind.
    The bride and groom appreciate your hard work, and we want to deliver awesome family photos.
    If you want to download my PDF guide with some more tips for photographing family photos,
    head to jamiedelainewatson.com/familyphotos.
    Thank you so much for watching today.
    If you liked this video, give it a thumbs up, hit Subscribe, and comment below.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
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