How Long Should My Family Formals List Be?

Hello there, it’s Becca here to guide you through yet another wedding photography related question: How long should your family formal list be?

We’ve taken over ten thousand family formal pictures since we started RAA, and it’s something we think through with almost every single client. How many do we have time for? Who should be included? Am I doing them because my grandma told me to or because I actually want them?

These are all valid thoughts, and we’re here to give you our expert opinion on how these should go down to ensure you aren’t standing in front of a camera for 4 straight hours. Let’s explore how to balance time constraints with the desire to include all your loved ones in these important images.

The Importance of Family Formals

Family formals are an integral part of the wedding photography plan. They are the posed photographs with your immediate family, extended family, and sometimes, close friends. These are often the images that get printed, framed, and sent out as gifts. They serve as lasting memories of not just your wedding, but of the family and friends who were present on your special day.

Balancing Time and Inclusivity

The challenge with family formals is often time. Depending on the size of your family, these photographs can take a significant amount of time to capture. With each grouping, there’s time spent on gathering everyone (this is actually the biggest hiccup we run into- people wandering off), arranging them in a pleasing composition, and capturing a few shots to ensure everyone looks their best. It’s not unusual for a single grouping to take five minutes or more.

On average, we tell clients that each family formal image will take an average of 2 minutes on a good day. Some will move faster, and some will be much slower. This means that if you want 20 groupings, you can expect this to take around 40 minutes.

Prioritizing Your List of Family Formals

When crafting your family formal list, start with your immediate family. These are the non-negotiables – parents, siblings, and grandparents. Depending on your family structure, you might also include step-parents and step-siblings.

Once you’ve listed your immediate family, consider who else you’d like to include. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and close family friends often make the list. When you book with Rebecca Ann Aesthetic, we help you prioritize these groupings and decide who goes when.

If you have a large extended family, consider grouping them together for a shot, rather than multiple smaller groups.

Communication is Key

Finally, it’s crucial to communicate your list to the respective family members and your wedding planner, if you have one. Ensure everyone knows when and where they’re needed for photos. You don’t want to lose time tracking down Aunt Susan because she didn’t realize she was needed for photos right after the ceremony.

In conclusion, there’s no perfect number for how many groupings should be on your family formal list. It depends on your family size, structure, and the amount of time you’re willing to allocate. Start with your immediate family, prioritize additional groupings, and communicate your plan.

Still trying to decide where to go from here? Check out these blogs to help you learn more about the wonderful world of wedding photography and videography with Rebecca Ann Aesthetic

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