Extended Family Session

large family pictures

What’s a family to do when:

  • the group has grown exponentially since the last large family photo
  • the oldest grandchild is leaving to serve a LDS mission for 18 months
  • covid-19 has closed everything down (including photographers; no one was willing to take the job) and
  • by some small miracle they have a time & date when 20+ grandchildren can be clean, dressed and picture ready all on the same day???

The family asks their own personal photographer (me) to take all the pictures. That being said, my Photoshop skills are improving!

Bret & Ashley’s family

What families can do to get great images during extended family sessions

Color Coordinating

This was a large group to coordinate colors. Don’t get too specific about clothing options. You have to remember, we didn’t have the option of going out to buy anything because most retail stores were closed at this time too. I think the colors we asked people to wear were pale pinks, gray, light or navy blue, pale yellow and white. Most everyone had these colors in their wardrobe already. Everyone was comfortable in their clothes, no one was having to go out and buy anything and I think we looked pretty good.

Kyle & Wendy’s family

Candid images are treasures

I love candid images so much; especially with the children. So I tell the parents, their kids really can’t mess up the photo. Let them do what they’re going to do (within reason, of course). If they don’t look at the camera or if they make a funny face; it’s all good! The images where their personalities shine are the ones I treasure.

Be Engaging and Move!

Keep the kids (and dad) engaged and moving! Most families dread when there is mention of getting the family pictures done. No one likes to dress up just to be posed and reposed for a picture on the wall. I want the kids to have fond memories of getting their pictures taken with their family. So I play games, talk to them while we get in place, keep them engaged with each other. I use their names, if I can remember any with large groups like this. Obviously this is my family so I know their names, but if I pick up on a little child’s name and use it while talking to said child, they remember that. we are going to have fun and play some games.

Timing is important

Try to time your sessions so everyone is fed and has had their naps. This way we can avoid as many melt downs as possible and get everyone on their way again. Also avoid bringing snacks and drinks to the sessions, if you can. No one likes to see food stains and crumbly faces on their kids in family photos.

You’ll notice my husband and I are not in the same photos with the girls. We recently had our family photos done in the fall so it wasn’t super important. I was not going to do that much editing and I was in a time crunch with the lighting.

Overall, just enjoy this time with your extended family. Let your photographer worry about capturing the memories you’re making. Contact me, here, to schedule your next family portrait session.

May 16, 2020

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