Your Creatives and Family Portraits

One of the Most Special Part of the Day

However you choose to fit Creatives into your schedule, here are two of our best tips for achieving images you’ll love!


The Creative Session

We consider this to be one of the most special parts of the day! It’s an opportunity to step away from everyone else and get some unique and timeless portraits as bride and groom.

Sometimes your Creatives occur directly after the “Family Portraits” session and before the reception. However, we often conduct this session before the ceremony itself, during a “first look” session. The advantage in a First Look is that there is usually less pressure and stress.

Of course, a First Look isn’t for every couple, and we respect everyone’s feelings and traditions equally. Here are alternative ways to add a special moment without actually seeing each other.

Check out this post on wedding day timelines (Do This Instead Of A First Look).

1. The More Time The Better

In order to capture your once-in-a-lifetime creative moments it’s always worth budgeting as much time for special images together as possible. Ideally, you’ll set aside at least 1-2 hours for these sessions.

A simple equation for this part of a day is – “More Time Allocated = More Unique / Beautiful Shots”. When looking at our website you see (hopefully!) some jaw-dropping images. Always remember, these took time – and the more time you give us to create this level of artistry, the more spectacular images you’ll have to remember the day.

2. Location, Location, Location!

Having a good location or two, including an indoor one in case of rain, is a key part of capturing your wedding day images. Trust us to make a recommendation for outdoor locations based on your schedule and unique day.

We recommend at least 45 minutes per location – meaning a good 45 minutes of photography (not including traveling / primping). Obviously, factor in travel time, and even throw in time in for parking.

While we’re always open to specific locations that are near and dear to your heart, we want to try and avoid somewhere that will be highly trafficked. We want your images to be unique, so often times our couples just trust us to take them around to inspired places that we know will work great!


Family Portraits

Typically by the time Family Portraits take place, the ceremony is done, and fun times are about to begin, but… you have to get through those formalized family portraits!

We highly recommend for these to happen as close to the ceremony as possible, especially because it can be difficult for the elderly or those with children to relocate. These are usually very important for parents and weddings are often one of the rare times that families take formal portraits. However, without proper planning, it can be a very stressful experience.

To minimize the stress, here are two things to keep in mind:

1. Over Budget Your Time

Depending on the combinations of people you hope to schedule, this session tends to take longer than you might assume, and we ask couples to budget between 20-60 minutes for this session. If you want this portion of the day to be completed in 20 minutes we recommend limiting your list to 10 Family Groupings. If your list is larger, you should allow 2 minutes for each additional family picture.

The reason for so much time is not that the pictures take so long, but that you must always assume the worst-case scenario such as a necessary individual wandering away for a moment, or a clothing malfunction. These small things nearly always happen, and it’s best to be prepared for them.

If you’re having a church-wedding, talk with the coordinator to ensure that if there is another wedding or another church event that day, you will still have enough time after your ceremony (including any exit or greeting line) to accommodate for your event pictures.

Speaking of greeting lines – we’d recommend budgeting an additional 10-20 minutes after the ceremony for this event, depending on the number of guests you have.

If you’re doing a “fake-exit” (driving away in a car and returning for the formal pictures) make sure you budget at least 15 minutes for this as well.

And finally – we always recommend budgeting in time for your bridal party, family, and photographer to pack up any belongings at the church before heading off to your next location. You might want to consider at least 10 minutes for this process.

2. Make A List

Have a list prepared in advance of all combinations of family and people who will be in these portraits. Notify these people ahead of time that they will be asked to be in formal portraits, and that they should be ready when called upon. Organize it in the order that makes most sense – having elderly people and children at the top of the list, so that they can be excused to head to the reception as soon as possible.

As the photographer, we like to have your list ahead of time so we can run this part of the day smoothly for you!

FINAL TIPS – Contact us with questions, we’re here to help so you can RELAX and have FUN! You’re getting MARRIED!!


Want more planning tips? Check out these blogs!

1. Preparing Your Wedding Details

2. Ceremony light: Why It’s SO Important!

3. What’s the Ideal Time for Your Photo Session?

4. Start Creating Your Wedding Timeline

5. Do This Instead Of A First Look?

6. So, Your Groom Doesn’t Want An Engagement Session?


Gonzalez J. Wedding Photography

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