How To Avoid Photo Fatigue At Your Wedding

bride and groom in ski lift

As a wedding photographer, one of the most common concerns I hear from clients is that they don’t want their wedding day to feel like a photo shoot. Which, of course, it shouldn’t. As the daughter of a photographer, I’m all too familiar with photo fatigue: the moment when you realize that smiling through one more photo means your face will definitely melt off. Particularly for introverts (though certainly not limited to them), having to endure an extended period of time where you feel like you have to be “on” can be seriously draining.

Of course, the easy answer is that you don’t actually need a professional photographer to capture your wedding, or heck, even photos for that matter. But for those of us who want to have our cake and eat it too, here are a few tips I’ve learned over the past few years that can help minimize the effects of photo fatigue and allow you to enjoy your wedding the way you and your partner intended it.

Choose the right photographer for you: First things first, ask your photographer about their style. How do they approach their work? Are they going to be minimally invasive during the day? Or do they take a more editorial approach to things? Photojournalists, as a rule, tend to make a real effort to stay out of the way and allow moments to unfold naturally. Which doesn’t mean that they won’t do posed portraits and family photos. Just that those things aren’t usually the focus of their work and, therefore, your day. But whatever style you choose, your photographer should make you feel comfortable enough in front of the camera that getting your photo taken starts blurring lines with maybe having a little fun.

Secure yourself some privacy: Just because it’s our nature as photographers to capture every moment, doesn’t mean you need every moment captured. So if you want some privacy, just ask for it. Getting ready can be a great time to decompress before the wedding, so in the past I’ve had clients request that I not show up until afterwards. And you know what? That’s totally fine. Another great option is to take a few minutes away from everyone right after your ceremony to have a quiet moment to reflect with your partner. Your photographer will take that time to focus on photographing your guests and rehydrating.

Keep family portraits to a minimum: I find that a lot of couples expect the formal portraits of the two of them to be the major time suck of wedding photography. But often it’s the family portraits that end up taking the most time to execute, because, well, more people to wrangle. My recommendation is to keep your list of family portraits as short as you can. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to exclude your favorite uncle from your family photos. Just think about what photos you might actually end up framing and use that as a guide. Realistically, are you going to frame three separate portraits of each of your aunts? Probably not, so group them together into one picture (obviously you know better than anyone else who is important to you, so group accordingly). And my expert tip? With the exception of some special family members (like your siblings, maybe, or a three generations photo with you and your mom and your grandmother) there are few photos that you’re going to want to frame in the future with just you or your spouse alone with your respective families. So save yourself the time and include both of yourselves in the family portraits.

Do your couples portraits during dinner: There are lots of great moments to take couples portraits, and I know a lot of people opt for first looks these days. I, myself, am a proponent of getting ready together and seeing each other before the ceremony (especially if you’re nervous or have any anxiety about the ceremony). But if you’re trying to minimize the amount of time you have to spend actually posing in front of the camera, my secret weapon is to save formal portraits for dinner. The rationale is simple: by the time dinner rolls around, you’ve gotten through most or all of the scheduled parts of the day. You’ve already had a chance to mingle with your guests, and possibly even had a cocktail or three. The vibe, as a result, is relaxed. And since most of the time the couple eats before the rest of the guests, your guests will be busy stuffing their faces with lasagna when we sneak off for twenty minutes of portraits at sunset. Plus, at that point in the evening, a few minutes alone with your partner (and me, creepily trailing behind you) usually ends up being a welcome break from the party. Just be sure to talk with your photographer about light to make sure it won’t be too dark for portraits during dinner, but if you’re getting married in the summer, sunset and dinner usually coincide perfectly with each other.

At the end of the day, getting your pictures taken shouldn’t feel like a chore. And your wedding definitely shouldn’t feel like a photo shoot. But for those of us who hate having our photos taken to begin with, there are ways to make it less painful. And some don’t even involve champagne. Unless, of course, you want it. I’m cool with that.

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  • As my fiance and I are both photographers, choosing one for our big day was one of the very first tasks I tackled! In fact, I met with our photographers — an awesome mother/daughter duo — before we’d even chosen a venue or date.

    I can definitely appreciate the fear of photo fatigue, but I never tire of posing for pictures. Not because I’m gorgeous or especially photogenic (um, at all), but because I recognize the importance of pictures for our own records — and historical ones. That being said, I’m still a private person . . . and appreciate the idea of having some quiet, non-documented time with my guy after the ceremony. I like the idea of asking for some privacy from time to time, though I hope I’m not too shy to request it.

  • AIH

    My aunt is a photographer, so our family is used to tons of pictures. We made a list of family photos to be taken at the church and passed it to the family so they knew to be close by for pictures and then went right down the list.

    Also, we scheduled the family photos during cocktail hour, so they longer they took to get organized, the less cocktail hour they got to enjoy. Sometimes you need to know what motivates people.

    • “Also, we scheduled the family photos during cocktail hour, so they longer they took to get organized, the less cocktail hour they got to enjoy. Sometimes you need to know what motivates people.”

      This works best if you have the ceremony and reception in different locations; I’ve been to so many same-location weddings where we lost people immediately to the bar (people have their priorities)!

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Here was our photo plan:
    *Groom’s-side photos at the church before the wedding
    *All photos with the bride, including bride’s family photos at the church immediately after the wedding

    Here’s what happened:
    Very few formal photos were taken before the wedding. People didn’t show up, didn’t know what to do. So, after the wedding:
    *Per plan, everyone who was staying for photos escaped to the church basement, to let it clear out a bit. This was a good time to greet and meat family, especially my new in-laws.
    *Once the crowd had cleared out in the church, people still took an observational posture.
    *What worked was for me to call people out by name, “Next photo: Cousin John, Aunt Sally, Uncle Fred, please come up.” If I couldn’t remember the name of someone I’d just met, I’d say, “Cousin John and Cousin John’s brother.”

    I suppose a jaded person would say I was being a bridezilla, bossing people around, but my mother said I was doing a great job coordinating people. Anything like “Smith family next” just didn’t work. Relations-by-marriage didn’t know if they were to be included, people who didn’t have that precise last name for whatever reason thought they were excluded.

    As it turned out, we were ready for the ceremony 10 minutes early. We finished photos at least 20 minutes early, about 40 minutes after the ceremony. And we were ahead of schedule the rest of the evening.

    • K down under

      Or, instead of having to call a bazillion names if your families are large (see: MOB with 6 siblings…!) we went with “Anyone related to the bride” and “Anyone related to the groom”. We lost a seemingly photo-shy aunt, but got her in a photo at the reception. and there are at least two photos containing another aunt that unexpectedly passed away three weeks later (8 days before christmas). All of a sudden our wedding became very special to all of Mum’s family, as that was the last time most of us saw that aunty.

  • Yes to all of this! Especially “(and me, creepily trailing behind you).” PERFECT

  • I told my photographer that I didn’t want more than 10 minutes of posed photography (one of the wedding party, one of him and guys, one of me and girls, one of us and his fam) and I got it. Unfortunately those are some of the only pictures of certain people who attended my wedding. I didn’t get pictures of over 50% of the people who came and for a 60 person wedding, that seems pretty unacceptable.

    Make sure you’re clear on your expectations with your photographer. Although I feel like issues I have had with her work are hers to own, I definitely worked WAY too hard with all my vendors to be super easy going and relaxed about everything. Not surprisingly most took advantage of that attitude and gave me poor service on my wedding day. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you’re paying anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars what you expect, and be clear if you want something specific. Hopefully you won’t have to be so specific as to ask them to make sure to get pictures of 60 people in the 6 hours they’re there please.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      2 of the 3 photography teams we interviewed brought up the photos-of-everyone issue.

      I think background to all the advice here would be “choose the right photographer.” For some people, that’ll be the “we’d be friends even if we weren’t paying her” photographer. For us, it was, “We really like how straight-forward, no-nonsense, and analytical he is.”

      Another thing to keep in mind is that the vendor is the repeat player (and you’re paying them). As our vendors were strangers, and we don’t anticipate events in which we’d hire them again (though we would if we were throwing a comparable event), I don’t really care if they think I was up-tight or hyper-critical. (I don’t think I was, but, whatever)*

      But the vendor needs to make a good impression so they get your recommendation to others. And even if we were hiring our vendors again, you have to be a really awful customer for a vendor to refuse work. It’s hard to imagine that happening without laws being broken. Again, if my vendors think I’m a difficult customer, if we hire them again, we’ll both be in a good position to have fewer difficulties the second time around.

      *How up-tight was I? I sent the photographer a shots list a week before the wedding with a note that said, “I know you don’t need this, but I had it in my notes and figured I’d send it anyway.” I’m sure the photographer thought I was up-tight, cooky even, but he was a professional and just never mentioned it.

      • This is where the “worrying about being a perfect bride” post would have REALLY helped me out a year ago. I realize now I couldn’t have been a bridezilla if I’d tried but my usual doormatty self went WAY too far the other direction and practically invited people to treat me like garbage. It’s costing you money folks, so be demanding.

        If I could just get over being so pissed about my terrible vendors, I’d be fine. At the end of the day we look happy and in love in our disappointing photos which is all I’m going to care about for the next 5-55 years. That’s my mantra though it just can’t yet quell the rage. :)

        • Granola

          I’m hoping the rage will ebb in time.

          That being said, can we have a “How to move on from disappointing wedding photos” as a post?

          • K down under

            or “disappointment in friendor photog who took far too many photos of bridesmaid who he obv had a crush on”…

          • Edelweiss

            Or – how to handle a disappointing engagement session when you’re contracted for the wedding already?

          • Maddie

            @Edelweiss, I recommend talking with your photographer. Yes, those conversations can be painful (listen, I’ve had people straight up tell me my photos suck. I cried. I eventually got over it). But it’s much better to express disappointment and possibly call things off now than to hate your wedding photos (and for the photographer to know that you hated them).

            That said, an engagement session and wedding coverage are definitely different beasts. I’m better at capturing moments than creating them, so I think my wedding coverage is much better than my work in engagement sessions.

            So talk to your photographer. Be kind, but don’t be afraid to express your concerns. Maybe engagement sessions aren’t their strong suit. Or maybe you guys just aren’t a good fit at all. Either way, they should be able to have a respectful conversation with you about this and figure out a way to make everyone happy.

    • KC

      One thing I wish we’d gotten was a big shot (or a few shots) from the front of people after they were seated. Then we’d at least have a record of almost everyone who was there. The processional photos have some people in the background *and that’s the only way we knew some of them came to the wedding*, although ours was a large and somewhat unruly wedding and reception, so odds are decent that we’re unusual in that and that most people know who came to their wedding, probably?

      But anyway, photographers: if you can, get a couple of big fat group shots of people while they’re all seated before/during processionals or whenever you’re in the right spot and people are mostly there, if you can – it’s so much fun now to play “spot the friend/co-worker/cousin!” in those photo backgrounds, and I imagine in another decade or so, it’ll be even more interesting to remember who was there.

      • Our photographer decided to do a big group shot of everyone at the wedding right after the wedding. There was a balcony and he got it from above. Afterwards, I have referred back to that shot a gazillion times to verify a few questions of who from the distant family (from his side that I didn’t know well yet) was there… Very helpful for thank you notes too…

  • Another Kate

    I just got married a month ago, and do agree w/ most of these tips. However, I went into the wedding realizing that we were never going to frame pictures of each of us alone w/ our respective families (as Maddie mentions) and didn’t include them in the master list of family portraits. Unfortuantely I didn’t realize HOW important it was going to be for my (very difficult) mother to have a photo of “just the five of us” meaning, without my now husband. She felt very uncomfortable asking him to leave the photos, and I was just too hung up on following my list and schedule to the letter, that I didn’t really realize what was going on. So while I don’t need a photo of my w/ my immediate family, it was important to my mom. So I guess I’d just add to make sure you go over your list of portraits w/ any VIP family members who you know might have opinions before you’re actually up there taking the photos!

    I loved loved loved my photographer and our photos, but the one thing I wish I’d outlined better w/ her was just who some of the important people were that weren’t immediate family or bridal party, to make sure she got photos of them, whether at dinner or during dancing. Our dancing pictures are like 75% just my mother’s friend/hairdresser (??)…and yes, she was having a great time and dancing like crazy and the photos are fun, but I don’t care about her in the least, and wish she had captured dancing photos of my actual friends instead. But your photographer can’t be expected to know who people are unless you tell her! So it’s really my fault. There are quite a few people who don’t appear in any photos though, which is disappointing. We went with just one photographer for budget reasons, and she said that w/ our 100 person wedding it would be fine, but there are many people who aren’t pictured at all. Again, if it was that important, I guess I would have made sure to get them on a formal portrait list or just point them out to my photographer, but I guess I figured everyone would get into at least one picture without my having to direct it, but maybe that’s wrong??

    • kyley

      I wish I’d outlined better w/ her was just who some of the important people were that weren’t immediate family or bridal party

      I asked this below, too, (omg, sorry for the comment jack) but any ideas how to do this? I’m most excited about candids of my loved ones, but I’m unsure how to clarify who the “vips” are.

      • anon

        Seems pretty harsh for your mom to not want a family shot excluding, you know, the newest member of the family that we are all here to celebrate, or is that just me? I mean maybe if your mom has a different idea of what “immediate family” is maybe she should hire a photographer and hold her own photo shoot?

        Sorry, I don’t mean to be ranty, I’m sure you made the calls that worked for you and your situation, just saying that if that were my situation I’d be having a sit down talk with my mom (or more likely in my case my dad) about what the meaning of family is.

        • Another Kate

          As I said, she’s very difficult, and it’s more than I can really get into at the moment, but I think it’s just more a matter of her thinking it was the last time she’d ever get a photo of her, my father, me and my two brothers together ever again.

    • Another Kate – (*Disclaimer – I’m a wedding photographer.)

      I always mention to my couples & their parents to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come grab me if at any point they want photos with or of anybody throughout the day. If they’d like us to pay special attention to anyone that isn’t obvious (grandparents, parents, bridal party) – to let us know the day of the wedding, because getting the information any sooner than that (i.e. in a PDF with photos of guests before the wedding day… yes, it has happened) can be really tough because people often look very different on wedding days than they normally do. So seeing the actual people that day, dressed up, and to have them pointed out really can help us remember to snag pics of them whenever an opportunity arises.

      Other options are to have your photographers take photos of each table at the reception, offer a photo booth option so guests are more likely to hop in and have their photos taken, or make sure to have posed photos done before cocktail hour so the photographers can tag along and snag photos of separate couples, and guests mingling there since it is much easier to grab candids in that environment (people in small groups, laughing/chatting) – than it is when people are sitting/eating at dinner/dancing.

      Also – regarding your photographer – keep in mind that we are worried about getting 1 million other photos and capturing important moments as they are happening…. So snagging a photo of Aunt Judy looking bored in the corner isn’t something we would think to shoot, you know? (Not saying that happened at your wedding, but just an example.) We tend to gravitate towards people laughing, talking, dancing, and having fun… so often times people hanging out at tables during the dancing portion of the night may get overlooked because it wasn’t a great moment to capture, or more often because those people are avoiding the camera/photographer (which happens a lot).

      I’d say if you want photos of everybody at the wedding then make sure to make a point to voice that to your photographer before booking them to be sure they’re on board with it. And once you’ve foudn a photographer willing to do that – you can try some of the things I mentioned above to facilitate it happening naturally (couple’s photos, table photos, cocktail hour candids). But even then – we can’t 100% promise to get photos of every single person at the wedding because there are a ton of things going on all the time that we are trying to be aware of/photograph…. but we will do our best! :)

      • Maddie

        Well said. And I just want to confirm the “sitting at a table in the corner” thing. I feel terribly rude bothering your 90-year-old aunt for a photo when it looks like all she wants to do is drink her tea and enjoy herself. But if I know she’s important to you? I’ll pull the old “sorry, the couple asked for it!”

        There’s a fine line we walk between wanting to deliver the best work to you guys and not wanting to disrupt your guests’ experience at the wedding. So a lot of the time, just a heads up is all we need to get it right.

        • Yes – totally Maddie! While it seems from the outside not to phase us when we are snapping away – I’m actually very conscious of people’s reactions to having a camera pointed at them. If someone doesn’t seem to want me there… I tend to avoid taking photos of them.

  • We had a 3-hour break in between the ceremony and reception that we filled with photos with our wedding party. What I wish we had done was take 2 hours of photos with our wedding party, and then taken that final hour to do couple photos. The wedding party had a lot less patience with the photos than we did, it would’ve been really nice to spend more time alone together, and we didn’t get as many photos of just the two of us as I would’ve liked.

  • This is all really great advice, to all brides and photographers. And the first tip, choosing the right photographer, is the most important. Make sure you’re on the same page before you hire them, and make sure they’ll be flexible to please you! I’ve come across photographers who pretty much DEMAND a certain amount of time for pictures, with not much regard to what the couple actually prefers. That’s not what you want! :)

  • KateM

    We did most before the wedding with our families at my parents house. I am one of 10 children so to have a picture of all the siblings, and grandkids was my biggest priority along with one really great shot of my husband and I. And I got that. I have some others as well, but everything beyond that was a bonus. There are definitely people missing from all the pictures, who I was so happy to see that day, but I knew they wouldn’t catch everyone. The best thing our photographer did, was at the reception after dinner, did the bridal party photos. Everyone is relaxed and having fun, the guys are in vests and shirtsleeves rolled up. Hands down my favorites. And those are the ones we have framed, our friends grouped together having a great time.

  • Megan (from Nova Scotia)

    Possibly meeting with the photographers this weekend-so this is so well timed! Very good advice, I now want to start on the list for the formals! Come on end of the work day!

  • I also recommend communicating to your guests that you only want the professional/appointed photographer shooting during formal/posed portraits if you want to speed things along. Nothing slows that process down like the 10 people with cameras/phones/ipads gathered around the photographer yelling, “Wait! One more!” Not to say guests shouldn’t take photos at all! That particular part of the day is just hectic enough with wrangling family that extra cameras makes it even crazier.

    • SD

      Thank you- its an excellent point that hadn’t occurred to me…..I’m also considering nice ways to ask people (read: my MOTHER) to not go too crazy with photos *during* the ceremony. Nothing makes me crazier than people missing the moment because they were too busy fiddling with a camera. That’s what I’m paying my photographer for!

      • SD

        I should also point out the guest at the last wedding I attended – sitting in the second row aisle seat taking arms stretched up photos with his iPad. Because that’s not invasive/distracting/obnoxious at all. Sigh.

      • We just asked our pastor to make an announcement after my dad brought me up. I can’t remember what he said, but he had us face everyone and tell them to take a picture now, then they could photographer again after the kiss. It worked really well and I didn’t stress out too much ;)

      • Samantha

        YES! I put it on our website and I will put it in our programs I think. Something like: “We ask that you please refrain from taking photos during the ceremony but rather be present with us during this important moment.”

    • ElisabethJoanne

      For us, we kept saying, “You know, people, there’s FOOD at the reception site, and everyone will get to see the photos when we get them.” It was another area where I felt almost rude, but I knew I really would get rude if it got to the point where I felt heckled by my mother’s co-workers or my in-laws, so I hinted strongly I wanted people to leave.

      Our photography location was set up so it was easy to get good shots simultaneously with the photographer. [not that we did that on purpose, just the architecture of the place]

    • Granola

      This is a great thing to communicate, but I found that people sort of did what they wanted anyway. We just carried on with our plan and if they snapped a picture, so be it, but we didn’t accommodate them otherwise.

    • KC

      That happened at our wedding. I felt so, so sorry for our awesome, quiet-and-unobtrusive photographer as my not-so-quiet relatives were *stepping in front of her* to get shots. I should have yelled at people at that point, but I was on “we just got married!” happy fuzzy clouds. If I had to do it over again, I would a) have a shot list, b) give my wonderful photographer a big fat tshirt for the formal corralling-people photos saying “I am the official photographer” and an orange hat, and told people to obey the person in the orange hat.

  • Laura

    Anybody do a posed family and/or bridal party shoot *before* the ceremony? My (woop!) fiance and I like this idea, especially since it would let everyone enjoy the most time at the reception (which, come on, we are paying for, so we want to enjoy) and our families seem open to it, but I’m curious what other people’s experience has been with this format. Advice and suggestions appreciated!

    • Sara

      We did this and it worked well. The only logistical item was being very clear who needed to show up and when. Since we also did a first look, it was a little awkward when my maid of honor asked family to wait outside the venue so we could have our moment (considerate, but awkward). We did only immediate family (parents, grandparent, siblings) before the ceremony and then extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins) after the ceremony. It was definitely nice to allow most of our guests and the bridal party to immediately go to cocktail hour.

      So it can work- just be willing to really think through who you want there, when you want them there, and then SHARE that information accordingly.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      We tried and failed. We didn’t have family with the necessary level of organization and equivocation (as in, “Yes, the invitations say the event starts at 2pm, but because you’re family and we want to take photos, please arrive at 1pm.”).

      My advice would be to make the decision as early as possible and drill it into the necessary heads. I should add that family for us was about 30 people, mostly from out of town, so maybe we should have noted the possibility of organizational breakdown in advance. If your family is smaller, or local, it might be easier.

      One thing that did work was to appoint non-wedding-party family-members to corral family. We had one “shepherd” for about every 10 people (2 or 3 households). We did this with a note in the invitation (“Please greet any other [Name] family members you see at the church and remind them about [photo details].”)

      • My friend got married last year, her husband is from Mexico and his whole family is very…relaxed…about being on time. So his family was all told to be there 30 minutes before her family, who are super punctual. No one but us bridesmaids knew, and it worked perfectly. They did the immediate family photos before the ceremony and then 1-2 big family photos after.

    • Teresa

      We did, after our first look, and I’m so glad we decided to do this. Our bridal party and immediate family was all there early anyway, so we had a shot list and spent half an hour just breezing through those group pictures. After the ceremony, everyone was able to go enjoy cocktail hour and all was well! I recommend this if you can!

    • Laura –
      Pretty much as a standard I suggest to my couples to get all posed photos done before the ceremony! It’s a great way to get all that out of the way so they can just enjoy their wedding with their friends/family after the ceremony, and will automatically result in more candids/casual photos of guests enjoying themselves/mingling because the photographer is then freed up to document those moments at cocktail hour instead of being somewhere else shooting posed photos of the bridal party/family. Here’s an example of how it works out in a timeline:

      • Laura

        Awesome – super useful. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • kyley

    Oh man, this is awesome. I want, like, zero posed photographs. I don’t particularly care for those kinds of photos, but even more so I hate feeling like I’m missing out on the fun. Taking a bunch of portraits while my guests are drinking and laughing? MISSING OUT ON ALL THE FUN. It’s like my worst nightmare. I will spend the whole portrait time anxiously wishing it to end.

    So! We hired a photojournalist (literally: his primary means of income is his work for the NYT) who totally understands our aversion to portraits. I know we’ll need (and want, I guess?) a few formal photos, but I want to keep the list as short as possible–bridespeople, groomspeople, wedding party all together, my immediate family, his immediate family, and maybe one with our officiant/my uncle. We have giant, giant families, and the portraits could just go on foooorever, and I just don’t feel like dealing with getting them photographed. His mom is being super cool, but wants a “her family” photo–which means wrangling 45+ people, and that means we really can’t skip out on the “family” photo of all the other parents. UGH. I’m already stressed just thinking about making this happen. Any advice? Our ceremony and reception are in the same building, immediately following one another, and each “family” group is 45+ people, 40+ people, 20+ people, and (blessedly) 11.

    Here’s my other question though: Is there a way to point out to the photographer those individuals I’m especially interested in having candids taken of? Is that even a thing that is possible?

    • So, photographer here. I ask my couples to assign an “event guide”, like a bridal party member or cousin or friend-who-knows-everyone. They are my wrangler and go-to person whenever I have questions. They help round up people for candid shots, family portraits, etc. I also give my couples a 30 min warning before I leave (like, hey, it’s 9:00, so you’ve got me for 30 more minutes. Are there any other photos you’d like to get before I leave?) and that’s always a good time to be like, “oh, can I get one with my college roommates?”.

      As for not wanting to wait around while the family portraits get set up, what about having them start assembling (with someone wrangling – discuss with your photographer!) while you’re signing the marriage license or taking a moment with your new husband? That way you can decompress, get some stuff done, then snap a few photos and go. Even with 4 huge family groups, that should only take 15-20 minutes if (IF!) you can get everyone organized. Good luck!

      • kyley

        oooo, a photo-wrangler and making the wrangling happen while we sign the marriage license. Brilliant! Thank you (and your work is beautiful!)

    • LZ

      I advised my parents before the ceremony that we wanted a family picture of my whole family (about 30+ people), and gave them a spot to direct everyone to *ahead of time* — I was very firm in, “Do not let them leave the ceremony space until they have been told where to meet, and to get there quickly” — We took a couple of quick photos, and it was done. Seemed to work pretty well. So– maybe create a “wrangler of photo people” designation ahead of time, provide them with the list of who needs to be in the photos, and what order those will be taken in (or one wrangler per family set?). We did a very short amount of family photos, too, as I was the same way. I don’t need a million different ways to see my family or his family. We did a few right before the ceremony, and a few after, so it didn’t feel so overwhelming all at once.

      What you could do, is provide your photographer with pictures of the VIPS — That way they have a reference (so they don’t have to come up to you when you’re trying to see a million people with, “Ok — Who is most important to take photos of?”)?? I didn’t do this, but that might be a good way to communicate so you don’t have to worry on the day that they won’t know who you want photos of the most?

  • LZ

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED our photographer — Every picture he did was amazing, and captured the style I was thinking of perfectly.

    However, I wish I would have asked him how many pictures he usually ends up taking — I have friends who have 400+ pictures from their photographers from the wedding. We have 175. Which seems like a lot… But, I feel like there are pieces missing. And I wish we had more candids of guests. Had I have known, I probably would have asked him / paid him to bring an assistant for candids from the day

    So that’s my one piece to add — Make sure you are clear on how many pictures you are thinking / expecting. And clarify that you want lots of pictures of guests- – They don’t all have to be A-MAZING.

    Also — If you’re doing a first look, make sure the photographer is clear on your expectations. We don’t have pictures of my husband’s reaction to the first look, which is what I wanted most. Still lovely photos, but not quite what I really wanted.

  • What worked very well for me: make sure your Bridal Brigade has your back.

    My MOH knows that I tend to get overwhelmed/tired from large crowds, so after the family portraits (which were taken before the ceremony), she immediately whisked me away into an upstairs bedroom and locked the door. She would not let ANYONE in for 15 minutes prior to the ceremony. And it was exactly what I needed to ground myself.

    Tell the loved ones around you what you need (or have loved ones around you who KNOWS what you need), and it makes all the difference in the world.

    (All that said–our photographer was AMAZING and very respectful of our space. Win win!)

  • Becca

    I’m one of those people who hates having her photo taken under any and all circumstances, so I’m definitely not looking forward to this aspect of our wedding. I think keeping formal, posed pictures to a bare minimum will be necessary for me. And, after all, you’re right… , how many of us have actually seen those huge photos of the bride’s entire family hanging on our friends’ walls? Pretty much never in my experience.

  • Hintzy

    yay! thank you! there are actually incredibly few photos of the two of us because we don’t like posing for cameras, while I like having my picture taken I *hate* standing staring and trying to smile for a posed photo.

  • “At the end of the day, getting your pictures taken shouldn’t feel like a chore.”

    Amen to that! I’d like to point out that there was an awesome article about crowdsourcing your wedding photos to your guests+Instagram linked in this post. I think that’s a great alternative for the ladies who feel like they want more in-the-moment photos, and less portrait-y photos.

  • I expected photo fatigue on my wedding day, so I was very.. uhm.. strict.

    We hired a friend who is a photo journalist who occasionally also does weddings.

    We did a ‘first look’, although nothing staged. I just walked in :) A half hour of couple pictures, or so, then some candids of our close relatives (the only guests) drinking and socializing. Orchestrated group photo.

    Then we went to the ceremony location and he took pictures of the ceremony. After that, we put him in a taxi to the house of friends of ours who wined and dined him and put him up for a few days as part of his ‘payment’.

    I caught flak from my family for not having him photograph during dinner and I had to outright order my dad to not bring his own camera. It was worth it, though, because I could eat tasty food and talk and be excited and not worry about anyone pointing an image recording device in my face and wanting me to look good.

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  • Samantha

    I keep hearing “. . . you aren’t going to hang x,y,z on your wall . . .” but what about the album? If you are going to put together a photo album those pictures might very well make the cut even if you can’t frame them all for the wall.

    Just a thought . . .

  • April

    As someone who fretted endlessly about experiencing photo fatigue, I’d say the most important thing to ensure that doesn’t happen is to have a solid relationship with your photographer and make sure their own personal philosophy about wedding reportage and style jives with you and you partner. It’ll really factor into whether or not you can get through 10 hours of being filmed without strangling the picture-taking-person with your veil.

    I la la la LOOOOVED our photographers. Nothing felt forced or staged. Even the few formal photos they snapped were quick and happy with minimal crowd wrangling.

    That said: do make sure you tell them the top five photos you MUST have. Even if those are the staged ones. I didn’t and it kills me I don’t have a picture with my mother-in-law or my matron of honor. Or my gal pals that dressed in blue as my “something blue”. Oh well. That’s life!

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