As a San Francisco Bay Area wedding photographer, I understand the importance of taking family photos at your wedding. You want to include your loved ones and make them feel important and valued. Your wedding is not only a celebration of the two of you, it is the union of two families. Below are my tips for stress-free family portraits at your wedding.

I strive to make taking family portraits easy and making everyone feel comfortable and at ease. I offer gentle guidance to help everyone look their best.


The most important aspect of taking family photos is taking the time to plan ahead and create a list of who to include in your family portraits.

You will also want to have a conversation with the two of you to decide who to include in the list. Make sure that you have reviewed the list together and agree on whom to include.

Scroll down to see the sample family portrait list that you can customize for yourself.


Many family situations can be delicate due to divorce and other challenges. Please let your photographer know if there are situations which require sensitivity. We can give you advice on how best to organize family photos and help everyone feel included and at ease.

For example, if there are family members who do not get along, please let us know. That way we can arrange everyone so that they are not standing next to each other, but they are included in the family photo.

Also, please let your photographer know if any family or members of the wedding party have mobility issues. I recommend taking photos with any older family members first, such as grandparents, as well as small children.


Time on your wedding is limited. Family photos typically take about 30 minutes, depending upon the number of groupings involved.

Limit the number of groupings to 15-18. There will be time during your reception for photos with extended family, friends, co-workers, etc.


Ask a responsible person who is familiar with your family members to help out. Print the family portrait list and give it to this person so they know who should be called for photos.


It is important to notify all family members ahead of time that they will be included in family photos. You will want to remind them several times. The rehearsal the day before your wedding is a great opportunity to remind everyone about family photos.

Ask your wedding officiant to make an announcement at the end of your ceremony about family photos. Your officiant should instruct all family members to remain in the ceremony area for photos.


The following list is just a suggestion and you can customize the list to suit your own needs. I recommend if you want to include extended family or other large groups, schedule time during the reception to include those photos. It takes 2-3 minutes to photograph each grouping below, therefore you want at least 30 minutes for family photos and photos with your bridesmaids and groomsmen.

  1. Bride and Groom with Bride’s Extended Family
  2. Bride and Groom with Bride’s Immediate Family
  3. Bride and Groom with Bride’s Parents
  4. Bride with her Parents
  5. Bride with her Mom
  6. Bride with her Dad
  7. Bride with her Siblings
  8. Bride and Groom with Grooms’s Extended Family
  9. Bride and Groom with Groom’s Immediate Family
  10. Bride and Groom with his Parents
  11. Groom with his Parents
  12. Groom with his Mom
  13. Groom with his Dad
  14. Groom with his Siblings
  15. Bride with Bridesmaids
  16. Groom with Groomsmen
  17. Bride and Groom with Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

For more wedding planning resources, check out my collection of wedding tips.

Lilia Ahner is a San Francisco Bay Area wedding photographer. Her mission is to tell your love story and capture the timeless moments, emotions, and details of your wedding day. Her photos are candid, timeless, vibrant, and true to color.

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