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Tips & Tricks

6 Tips On How To Get The Best Family Photos at Weddings

By Michelle Ford on August 20th 2014

Getting The Best Family Photos

Capturing family photos, especially portraits can prove to be quite difficult when you’re unprepared. Many times people will be running late, some people may be missing, and sometimes the family dynamics can be awkward. Check out my 6 tips on how to get the best family photos in the video and article below!

6 Tips On How To Get The Best Family Photos at Weddings Video

Tip 1: Ask Questions Regarding Family Dynamics

Our studio sends out a questionnaire to the bride and groom to find out if there are any relationships that are sensitive in nature we need to be aware of. There may be separated relationships, divorces, step families, or just bitter relationships involved. This conversation is important to have with your clients because you don’t want to create tension the day of. You don’t want to step on toes when you’re shooting intimate moments.

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Tip 2: Gather the Important People in the Getting Ready Room

During the getting ready portion of the day, I like to have the parents, grandparents, siblings, and best friends there. This opens up many photographic opportunities of uninterrupted intimate moments.


Tip 3: Get Individual Portraits Before the Formal Portrait Session

Even though there’s usually a set time to capture formal portraits, I still make an effort to get individual portraits beforehand. During these individual photo sessions, I’ll ask mom or dad to give the bride a hug or a kiss and I can capture the beautiful moments that unfold. In my experience, these are the photos the moms love the most.


Tip 4: Capture Intimate Moments During the Reception

The reception is a great place to capture great candid moments. By this time, everyone is relaxed, having fun, and used to having the camera around.

Tip 5: Don’t Forget the Grandparents

A lot of times these formal affairs are few and far between, and it’s a special time where these families are gathered in one place. Be sure to make an effort in capturing special moments of your clients and their grandparents.


Tip 6: Always Be Diligent

All the previous tips require you to always be diligent. In my experience, what separates great photographers from good ones is diligence. You may have some downtime in a day and relax for a bit, but a great photographer will make the most out of the free time and go out and seek or create great family photos.



With all these tips in mind, I can capture great family photos consistently during weddings. I want to hear from you guys, what strategy you implement to get your best photos at weddings? Let me know in the comments!

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Michelle is a Southern California Portrait and Wedding Photographer. When she’s not geeking out with a camera she’s nerding out in her IT world. All other moments in the day are spent with her two wonderful children.

See her work on The COCO Gallery
check out her blog at frexNgrin

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Kelvin Strepen

    Well written.

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  2. Nolan Akin

    Great article!

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  3. Kenneth Allen II

    Thanks for the great tips, Michelle! :)

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  4. Valentin Zwick

    Now that was a great article, Michelle – highly appreciate your insights on how you do things.

    There´s one question I have though: How do you recognize all the faces? I mean, lets say you ask for the information on who is important and close upfront through your questionare, how do you know who is who when arriving at the wedding? Especially if it´s more than just parents and grand parents?

    What I typically do for all sorts of questions that I might have during the wedding, is I might ask the couple for a contact person that knows all the details that I can talk to without disturbing the couple before, during or after the ceremony. They typically also know what surprises have been planned for the couple and when they are going to happen so I can make sure i´m there to get all the shots I need.

    You guys have a good weekend – Greets from Germany,


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    • Michelle Ford

      ah valentin, this is an excellent question. before the wedding i get a feel from conversations with the couple, WHO i need to meet. mom, dad, grandma …

      at the prep, i make a point to find them, and i usually do. if they aren’t there, it is my assistant’s job to find out where they sit and point them out to me. it is the 2nd’s job to let me know who those people are in the groom’s side too.

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  5. Phil Bautista

    Great tips Michelle. Whether you’re a pro or doing it for family, these tips really bring it home.

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  6. Austin Swenson

    There is also something special about giving them a really well exposed, contrasty black and white image… If I were to add another tip to this list, it would be to learn how to edit some of the crucial images in black and white. It’s clean, it looks classy when you do it right, and those have been some fan favorites over the gigs that I have shot.

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    • Michelle Ford

      oooohhhhh! good call! you know what i do without even realizing it sometimes? if i want to draw the eye to purely the emotion in the image, i remove the color. it’s less distracting and more compelling. that seems to be my direction and therefore my opinion.

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  7. Brandon Dewey

    Great Tips!

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  8. Randy Frum

    Excellent Michelle. Really enjoyed your post!

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  9. audrey b

    great article, with great photos to back it up, I love wedding photos that reflect relationships (after all thats what weddings are all about , right?) , this style of wedding photography is an art, which you have well and truly mastered . <3

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  10. Kayode Olorunfemi

    The best tips are always the obvious ones you forget, thanks for sharing this.

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    • Michelle Ford

      isn’t it funny how the things we take for granted are the things that could make work so much simpler if we were just consistent about it?

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  11. Al cu


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