From the Wedding Tip Series, providing a new piece of advice every Wednesday to help brides get the most out of their wedding photography. This Wednesday we are proud to unveil Tip Sixteen: Keep Family Formal Photos to a Minimum.

This week we’re asking you to take a moment and really think about which of those family formal combinations you’re actually going to put in your wedding album. We suggest you create a list of these combinations and then be sure on the wedding day that you STICK TO IT! Especially if you only have a limited amount of time for photos on your day, which almost all brides do, you definitely don’t want to spend as much as 90% of that time wrangling guests and family members to come up with every possible combination of formal photos that you can at the expense of your bride and groom photos and wedding party photos.

If you do let this happen and leave your photographer with too little time for the rest of the photos, you’re almost certain to regret it. This is bearing in mind that you’ll probably only end up using six family formal combinations in your album… and yes, 9 out of every 10 albums we produce the couple would rather narrow down their formals to just 6 than waste more than a single album page on them. Meanwhile, the average number of bride and groom photos used in an album is 10, which typically span 4-6 pages, so why give more time to the less important photos? Here are some helpful tips for creating your formal photo combination list and sticking to it on the wedding day:

1.) If neither the bride and groom are in the photo, it doesn’t need to be taken on the wedding day. We know people are all excited to be already dressed up and gathered together, but your family formal time is not the time or place. If combinations are not on your well-thought-out list, they can happen at the reception or another day all together.

2.) Don’t let your photo time turn into a free-for-all for other families to get “free family portraits.” This goes along with number one. Every minute of your wedding day is time that YOU paid your photographer for – other families can have professional photos of themselves on their own dime and time.

3.) Give grandparents/elderly and out of town family members priority to have their pictures taken first on the list. Especially on a hot summer day you’ll be surprised how quickly the elderly will retreat to the reception, and while you may intend to get that picture later, often times it can be forgotten all together.

4.) Don’t go overboard on photos of the little kids. Without you even having to ask, the little children at your wedding will almost ALWAYS be photographed pretty extensively anyway. Why? Because they’re cute and most photographers enjoy taking pictures of them doing cute things in candid images. What we don’t enjoy is spending 20 minutes fruitlessly trying to get them to smile in each one of the family formal photos they are included in. Be sure to get the important combos with them; there’s just no need to go over the top.

5.) More than 15 combinations is probably overkill. As we mentioned earlier, unless you are sure that you are going to want 20+ family formal combos taking up 3-4 pages of your wedding album, you can probably cut this down a little. Also, most people don’t allot more than 30 minutes for family formals, and even in the MOST organized scenario, you can count on each combo taking around 2 minutes of your time. It’s okay to go with a longer list, just make sure you allot the appropriate amount of time for it or they’ll be none left for photos of just you and your new hubby/wife!