A wedding is a complex event and recently I came to the conclusion that one of the most challenging part if wedding photography is “family portraits after the ceremony”.
Why You think it might be posing people or the dim lit church or glaring midday sunlight I have been telling couples to organize a person to make a shot list so we can call family member out to pose. The problem is actually telling the family to stick around and not rush off to cocktail hour. My suggestion would be to start with the couple and all relatives and then slowly peel them away. Maybe shoot the grandparents at the beginning.
Make sure you have the couple write out some combination out before hand so it does not take an hour as you have still keep some time for the bridal party and most important with the couple.
The best time I had was at this chinese wedding, they super organized, not just with family photos at the tea ceremony but after the wedding ceremony, where one of the family members had a list with all the names and really all I had to do is press the shutter release button. People were responsive ans paid attention when their name was called. I wish every wedding would be this organized.
I recently shot a wedding at a catholic church in San Francisco. Here the couple had planned to do the family photos at the church and the bridal party and couple photos at the reception over an hour away up north in the wine country. First of all the church coordinator was a totally ridgit control freak, a phenonomen I will write about in my next blog. The problem was there was another wedding planned right after. The churchlady told us to go out feont because people are lined up for the photo, totally confusing us. I should have taken charge, but it was so crowded and confusing to know at this point to know whether some of the people where from the next wedding or not. So we all went out front until the bride said, she did not want all of those people and we went back up to the altar. Then the musicians where a bit in the background and I constantly had to wave her out of the picture. We only got a few combination together, the family was not very fast to respond and the next wedding was already filling up the pews.
So lets keep the family photos organized and my personal view is, how man combinations do you really need.
This is a fun way to have single family shots too.