When it comes to family formal time on the wedding day, most brides and parents automatically assume they have to have them at their ceremony site. And while that is definitely an option that works out in most cases, a lot of people don’t realize that they have other options. So I am here to tell you that it is okay to break the age old tradition of indoor family formals.

Usually ceremony sites, such as churches, don’t have the best lighting. They are often adorned with stained glass windows and dim ceiling lighting that doesn’t make our job the easiest. But as long as we have enough room and a bit of light we can make it work. But why “make it work” when just steps outside the doors is gorgeous natural light that leads to more flattering portraits. Obviously there are situations where going outside just isn’t possible! Sometimes the weather isn’t cooperating or we don’t have enough shade/good lighting outdoors to get what we are looking for. But more often than not, there is more than one area that would be perfect just steps away. So here are three reasons why I think outdoor family formals are a great thing to consider!

The Backdrop

Most couples pick their ceremony spot because they love the look or feel of the area. I love shooting ceremonies in large cathedrals and churches! I love the wide angles and the details many of these venues have. However, when it comes to family formals, most people don’t realize that the only thing that will show are the people. I don’t shoot family formals with a super wide lens to capture the staircase or the ornate details of the altar. Family formals are shot close  so you can actually SEE the faces of the people! So really you only see the smallest details of the space that is directly behind you.

Better Lighting

As a natural light photographer, I LOVE shooting outdoors. Inside the lights are often dim, coming from weird angles or a bit yellow, depending on the venue. Outdoors you have the option of finding the perfect spot that corresponds to great lighting. And great lighting means more flattering portraits! It’s a win win!

You can start immediately

Instead of waiting 15-20 for all of the guests to leave the ceremony location, we can get photos underway immediately! As you celebrate and enjoy the “oh my gosh we are MARRIED” moment, we can work on gathering the family as they recess out of the ceremony. Then we can hop right into family formal time which means you get to start celebrating that much sooner!

And just to show you that I practice what I preach! Here are a few of our outdoor family photo from our own wedding!

Education, Wedding Wisdom

WHY IT’S OKAY TO BREAK THE FAMILY FORMAL RULES

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