Family can be awesome. Family photos? Usually less so. Without fail, at every celebration, family photo time just gets a little chaotic. Here's our tried and true method to herding cats (ie your cousins) that keeps things organized and painless, so you and your spouse can get back to your party and your great aunt Bertha can get back to her margaritas in no time.

Family Photo Planning

How it Works

Our method to the madness is super simple. Make a bullet point list, with each new line being a new photo. Each bullet point will be a different "combo", and it should include the first names of everybody in that photo combo, and so on. In the end, your list will look something like this:

Lizzy, Jane, Lydia, Kitty, Mary
Lizy, Jane, Darcy, Bingley
Lizzy, Darcy
Bingley, Darcy

And on it will go, with each line of names being a photo. Including first names as opposed to just "the aunts" or "The Fiedler family side" REALLY helps us out, so we can just call out everyone's names, like we're taking roll in grade school, and make sure everyone who needs to be in the photo is present.

Family Photo Planning

Don't Panic

If you're a tad overwhelmed by the prospect of organizing your whole family into bullet points and photos, it's totally alright. In general: less is more, and the fewer combinations you have, the less stressful it will be. If you need a place to start, we've included our outline for family photo basics below. Of course, this is super general, and you'll need to customize it for your family with all its quirks and branches in particular! But it's a good place to get started.

Family Photo Planning

Sample Photo List

Bride with Parents
Bride with Mom
Bride with Dad
Bride with Parents & Siblings
Bride and Groom with Whole Bride Family
Groom with Parents
Groom with Mom
Groom with Dad
Groom with Parents & Siblings
Groom & Bride with Whole Groom Family
Bride & Groom with Grandparents
Bride and Groom with Both Parents
Bride and Groom with Both Whole Families

Family Photo Planning

Keep in Mind

The more people in the photo, the longer it takes to get situated, make sure nobody's missing, and catch everyone without blinking. In general, each family photo that has 2-6 people in it takes about a minute. If you have larger groupings than that, give yourself 3-5 minutes per photo.  And because it's so important, it's worth saying twice: less is more. We really recommend couples keep their lists to 35 combinations max. Anything above that tends to make everyone's brains a little fried.

Finally, if you're still stuck, want ideas, or need some help paring down your combinations, please message us and we'll be happy to help you in planning your family photo list!
Laura & Devon