A Simple Guide to Help Wedding Day Portraits Go Smoothly | Pennsylvania and Tennessee Wedding Photographer


Let’s be honest, family portraits on a wedding day is probably the least favorite part of the wedding day. If is not organized and there is no direction, it can take a lot of unnecessary time and can be quite stressful for everyone involved. Here’s the thing though, it doesn’t have to be that way! While it may not be your favorite part of the day as a bride or groom, there are a few ways to make it more enjoyable and fun!

As a photographer, I’ve learned from a few wedding day family portraits not going the way I had hoped: they were chaotic, unorganized, me + the bride/groom + parents scrambling to find family members, and everyone being stressed out. I’m putting myself out there right now to say it was partially my fault and learning and growing as a photographer.

I took what I learned from the not so great experiences to make wedding day family portraits a fun, stress free, organized, time efficient and (hopefully) enjoyable experience for everyone! When I meet with each of my brides/couples before the wedding, there are a few things I ask/strongly encourage them to do to help with family portraits.

  1. I ask them to make me a Family Shot List. I ask them to include names of every family member that will be participating in family pictures. People like being called by their name, not just “Hey, Bride’s grandma”. This list is the first thing you need to help family portraits run smoothly and efficiently.

  2. I strongly suggest the couple to assign a good family friend or extended family member from both families to help with the family portrait time. Ideally someone who knows or is somewhat familiar with names and faces of the family. During family portraits, I give the Family Shot list to this designated person. It is their job to read off the list, find those people who are needed for the current picture and the one following it next. This has been a game changer. It not only saves time, but it saves from me, my couple, or their immediate families from tracking down everyone. Now what was chaos (sometimes is organized chaos — LOL), but that one change suddenly makes family portraits way more enjoyable for the couple and their immediate family. They can focus on the pictures being taken and being present instead of half smiling while working about who is and isn’t around for the next picture.

  3. When at all possible, I always ask my second shooter to help me arrange family members. People want to feel taken care of. They want to feel that they are truly important enough to take a moment and tell them where they should stand to flatter them in front of the camera. Having my second shooter around to be another pair of eyes and help me make everyone feel taken care of really changes the whole experience for everyone involved. Win win — always!!

I hope these three little tips are helpful to you, whether you are a bride or a photographer! I know they have really helped me and wedding day family portraits end on a happy note! <3

xo, MK


| Hello, 2016! |

It's a new year and that means new goals! This past week I sat down to process, evaluate and refine my goals for Mary Kate Steele Photography, personal goals in my life, and goals for my family. One of my goals this year for MKS Photography is to be more diligent about writing blog posts, but even more so, blogs about my personal life, my family and what goes on at our little Steele family homestead.

I am learning that past and future clients like connecting more with the person behind the lens and the person who dreamt up Mary Kate Steele Photography. So, here it goes! :) 

I'd like to introduce you to my mini me, my heartbeat, my little sunshine. Please meet my little one year old, Mark William. Mark is my only child - for now - we'll think about adding another one down the road. He is a pretty chill little guy. He is a very observant, content, sweet social butterfly and when he's not, it's usually because he's impatient for his bottle of milk. ;)

Mark was a complete surprise to me and Nick, since we were not planning on having kids quite yet. I will be honest in saying that I was discouraged that maybe once Mark was born, he would put a major hold on my dream to be a full time photographer and start up my own business. However, I chose to believe that God had a better plan for me, my dream and my family - and He did, because the truth is, He always does. Mark brought wonderful, new inspiration to my creativity and instead of setting me back, my business began to flourish in ways it never had before! It's pretty cool. :) 

I am very excited for where this new year will take us as a family and all that it has in store for Mary Kate Steele Photography. As hard as it is to work for yourself, get your brand and talent out there and feel like you're making steps forward instead of backward, the Lord is teaching me to leave my heart open and trust Him and His timing for everything - and that is much easier said than done. Ha! Some days my heart chooses well and other days, not so much, but that's part of growing. So any of you readers, clients, family, friends, who ever is reading this, I ask that you keep me, my family and my dream in your prayers. That whatever God has planned, my heart will choose to be open. <3

Blessings to you!

^^*Last three images by Janae Rose Photography*


Mary Kate 


| Bella + Mom & Dad |

I had a lovely time getting to know Bella and her sweet family during their session! It was a very last minute session and it couldn't have turned out more perfect! I absolutely adore Bella's name and her contagious little grin. She is just adorable. :) 

Enjoy their photos posted below! 

XOXO - Mary Kate