Bridal Party at Sister Cities Park in Philadelphia
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Bridal Party at Sister Cities Park in Philadelphia

Family Formals at Philadelphia Wedding

Family formals are some of the most important images that a Philadelphia wedding photographer will capture on a wedding day. Seemingly one of the most straightforward portions of Philly wedding photography, these shots must be taken with great care. That is because photos of parents, grandparents, siblings, extended family, and bridesmaids and groomsmen mean the world to the couple. The best wedding photographers in Philadelphia, PA, know that these images are second only the the couples portraits in the newlyweds’ hearts. The bride and groom invited all these people to be by their sides as they exchange marital vows. Commemorating that with unforgettable pictures is vital.

Family formals at a marriage celebration in the Quaker City are important for other reasons as well. A Philadelphia wedding typically brings together all of a couple’s extended family and friends from different times in their lives. It is often one of the only times that all of those people are together in one place. The images taken of them during the family formals give the bride and groom tangible reminders that this happened. The Philly-based newlyweds can look back at the images years later to remember those once-in-a-lifetime moments.

Taking this kind of photo takes more than just care. A Philadelphia wedding photographer must also capture them on film with skill and delicacy. It is not as easy as just lining everyone up and pressing the trigger button on our cameras. When we are photographing a Philly-based bride and groom with their families and closest friends, we make sure everything is just right.

We start by positioning a Philadelphia wedding party so that the lighting falls nicely on every member of the group. When we are arranging newlyweds with those closest to them, we certainly don’t want anyone’s face obscured by shadows!

Symmetry in photos is almost always visually appealing. So we routinely check to see that women who are holding bouquets have them all at the same height. Getting the men on the same page usually takes a bit longer. We have to make sure that jackets are either all buttoned or all unbuttoned. It is also important that their hands (if clasped) are either all right-over-left or all left-over-right. It probably comes as little surprise to the women that the men generally need extra direction!

We also take care to ensure that there is nothing distracting in the background. The last thing we want is for a tree branch to appear to be sprouting out of someone’s head! The backdrop should be clean but also contribute to the composition of the photo. Ideally, we want to photograph the wedding party in front of something that helps tell the story of the wedding. For example, the City of Brotherly Love was very much a part of this marriage celebration. So we felt that Philadelphia should feature in the pictures we took of the wedding party.

All of these calculations and adjustments have to happen very quickly. Family formals are usually sandwiched between the end of the marriage ceremony and the beginning of the reception. Many couples have big families and a long list of people to photograph. Unsurprisingly, those folks would rather be enjoying the Philadelphia wedding reception than posing for pictures!

Producing memorable family formals photos is a challenge, but one that we love taking on. Because when we do our job right, our wedding clients get photos like the one featured here. When we get every detail right — the lighting, the background and the posing — the bride and groom can just focus on how happy they were to be surrounded by the people they love most in the world.

Location: Sister Cities Park, 210 N 18th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103.