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  • Writer's pictureGiovanni Rusconi

Family portraits in wedding photography

Family photographic portraits are a fundamental moment of weddings: everyone, friends and relatives, are gathered in a single pose, laboriously organized, to celebrate the union of the spouses.

In turn, the various groups of relatives, friends, the different circles that have and have welcomed us into our lives, fight to have photographic proof of the relationship developed over time. It is useless to look at the type of relationship that binds us: entering at least one pose with the spouses is a right that no one wants to give up.

Family photos

Family photos are clearly the most important portraits: it is often for the parents that additional albums are printed, and it is the parents who keep them who will use them the most, proudly showing them to relatives and friends.

While I'm doing major family portraits with my canon, I keep an eye out for interesting moments – people filtering in and out of the scene, hugging, kissing, laughing and interacting in funny ways. When something like this catches my attention, I quickly walk around my backup car and capture some candid images. I use the Canon as the vertical camera, while the second camera body as a documentary camera.

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Depth of field in family photos

I photograph my family portraits with a very shallow depth of field, so I need to make sure all my subjects are on the same focal plane. I typically work at f/2 apertures with my 80mm f/2 lens. But if we are outside and the sun is very low, the dim light exaggerates the shallow depth of field. In this situation, it is difficult to focus on all the subjects if they are at too long focal distances. Rather than line everyone up in a flat, boring line, I increase my stop to gain more depth of field. In most cases, jumping from f/2 to f/4 gets you the desired result, although you can't go too far or you risk losing definition.

When and of whom and where to take the first portraits at the wedding

Before the ceremony, I look for a good location for family portraits for the wedding. Immediately after the ceremony, I gather the family and the wedding party, and we immediately go to take the portraits: it is the best moment because you are sure of having all the necessary people available without losing anyone.

For family portraits, I usually work mainly with immediate family. If my clients want to include their extended family in other photos, I usually have my assistant take over, because doing all the family portraits as posed photos forces me to spend too much of my time away from the rest of the group, where opportunities for photography abound. emotional shots with great visual impact.

I like to photograph the bride and groom's family as soon as possible and then leave them free. The wedding party allows you to calmly create some additional portraits, especially of those who care most: we willingly listen to the requests of the spouses. I usually photograph the bride and all her bridesmaids individually and in groups. Then I do the same with the groom and groom before letting everyone go to enjoy the reception, be it aperitif or dinner.

The importance of organization

Family portraits are tightly scheduled into my timeline for the day. People don't want to wait for the photographer. I'm at the wedding to have fun, not to pose for portraits. So I make them quickly. I always remember that my clients' time with their friends and family is precious, and I usually finish my posed portraits in fifteen to thirty minutes.

Of course, if all family members request them, the time dedicated by my assistant to this type of photos will be greater.

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