for the love of


Seattle Wedding & Elopement Photographers

Planning Family Photos

How to Herd Cats (i.e. plan your wedding family photo list)

Family is awesome! Getting family into family photos can be…well, not as awesome. But that’s why we’re here! We’ll get everybody in and out quickly so Great Aunt Bertha can get back to her margaritas and you can get back to your party in (almost) no time. 

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

(yes, I’m a giant nerd)

PRO TIP: 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.

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 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

How to plan out your wedding family photos list by Forthright Photo

Sample Family Photo List

Bride w/ Mom
Bride w/ Dad
Bride w/ Parents
Bride w/ Siblings
Bride w/ Parents & Siblings
Bride w/ Grandparents

Groom w/ Mom
Groom w/ Dad
Groom w/ Parents
Groom w/ Siblings
Groom w/ Parents & Siblings
Groom w/ Grandparents

Bride & Groom w/ Bride’s Parents
Bride & Groom w/ All Parents
Bride & Groom w/ Groom’s Parents
Bride & Groom w/ All Grandparents