Ask M: How to Handle Complicated Family Photos / by Melanie Grizzel

Photographer Shot List

"My family is...complicated. How do we handle family photos when relations are less than perfect?"

This is a GREAT question and a necessary one. We are totally aware that every family has different needs, especially when it comes to relationships. Are your parents divorced? Remarried? Are they friendly? Or would they rather not have any photos together? These are things your photographer needs to know in advance! Below are three steps to help prepare for those complicated family photos on the Big Day.

1. Be candid with your photographer, there's no judgement! It's important that we're aware of all situations that could arise so we can prepare. If we need to keep certain individuals out of pictures with each other, we will do just that. Should we call upon family units separately? You've got it.

2. Be explicit in your group shot list. Don't list "parents," especially when there are step-parents in the picture. Use specific names, i.e. Mom (Lisa) & Joe. Make notes if there are family members who shouldn't be in a photo together, i.e. "Aunt Caroline and Aunt Lucy should never be in the same photo."

3. Relax! At the end of the day, this is YOUR wedding, YOUR big day. Everyone will be on their best behavior - even Uncle Larry. ;)

Have a story to share? Or a question you'd like answered? Leave a comment below or shoot an email to



This is our series, Ask M, where we take YOUR questions and answer them with honesty, love and care. Have any photography questions you’ve been dying to ask? We’re an open book! Shoot us a note on our FacebookInstagram or Twitter, or just leave us a comment below!