5 Tips to Plan Your Family Formal

As a Maryland Wedding photographer, I have planned more than 100 family portraits over the years. These photographs capture the bond and love between family members, creating lasting memories for years to come, and great planning comes in place to make it happen.

To help you breeze through this process, I have compiled 5 tips that will ensure your family formal session runs smoothly and efficiently.

Designate a Point Person

Appointing a point person within the family can be extremely helpful during the photo session. This individual can assist me by coordinating family members, organizing different groupings, and ensuring everyone is present. Having a point person allows me to focus solely on capturing beautiful shots without getting caught up in logistics.

Keep the Groupings Small

Large group shots can be chaotic and time-consuming. Opt for smaller groupings, such as immediate family, grandparents, siblings, or cousins. This will streamline the process and allow for more intimate and meaningful photographs. Be sure to discuss these groupings in advance with the photographer and communicate your preferences.

Create a Shot List

Prepare a shot list with specific combinations or poses you want to capture during the family formal session. This list can include immediate family shots, individual portraits, generational photos, and any other groupings that hold significance to your family. By having a well-planned shot list, you can efficiently move from one pose to another, ensuring no shots are missed.

Allocate Ample Time

One common mistake is underestimating the time required for family formals. These sessions often take longer than expected, especially with larger families. Allocate a generous amount of time in your event schedule to avoid feeling rushed or stressed. Having ample time will allow everyone to relax, resulting in more natural and relaxed photographs.

Keep Young Children Engaged

If young children are part of the family formals, keeping them engaged and entertained is crucial. Bring along a few toys or snacks to keep them occupied during breaks. Additionally, consider having a designated family member or friend who can help with managing the children, ensuring they are happy and cooperative during the session.

Have Fun and Be Flexible

Remember, family formals are not just about getting perfect shots but also about creating memorable experiences together. Embrace the process, have fun, and encourage your family members to relax and enjoy the moment. Candid shots often capture the true essence of your family’s dynamic, so be open to spontaneous moments that may arise during the session.

By following these eight tips, you can breeze through your family formal session with ease and create beautiful, meaningful photographs that will be cherished for a lifetime. Planning ahead, effective communication, and maintaining a positive and flexible attitude are key to ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. So, gather your loved ones, capture those precious moments, and create memories that will be cherished for generations to come.

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