How do we make an extended family photo session fun?

Are you wondering how a photo session with so many people can be done? Well, I am here to tell you that we can have lots of fun when all the family gets together for photos. First, I want to chat about expectations. Depending on the size of your group and the ages of those in your group, it might be super challenging to get a photo of everyone looking at the camera (I always try to get one at the beginning). I do my best and usually succeed on getting everyone looking. However, I am a lifestyle photographer and for a photo to be great, I don't think everyone needs to be looking right at the camera. I just don't. Looking at the camera is not always natural, plus it can be very stressful for parents and kids. We are not getting together to be stressed and frustrated with each other. You want this experience to be a good one, right? So, let's start now with the expectation that we will try to get a few photos of everyone looking at the camera, but we might not fully succeed. AND THAT'S PERFECTLY FINE. In fact, it is likely you will love the natural way your grandchild/child is looking up at a parent or down at a sibling. What a sweet connection.

Now that we have realistic expectations about getting everyone to look at the camera, let's talk about the fun we get to have. Now I have a routine of photo poses I go through, but they are always tweaked to fit the family I am taking photos for. For example, this extended family I took photos of had a grandchild who loved throwing rocks in the water. This is something his parents knew he would love doing, so we switched gears a little bit and went to throw rocks in the water. While he was doing this I set up the family to be around him and capture the sweetest moment with this family. It was easy for the family and way less stressful because everyone was happy.

My photo routine makes the session smooth and less stressful.

When I do extended family photos, it is a little different than my normal family sessions because I know grandparents and parents usually want a few traditional photos in the mix. So, I will start with a pose that is more traditional, take a few shots, then make the slightest changes to turn what was a traditional (everyone look at the camera) to a naturally posed photo that brings through the connection between family members. There will be several times I'll poses this way throughout the session. It'll start out more traditional, then switch to natural/lifestyle posing. This definitely helps a session run more smoothly. The parents and kids know what they are supposed to be doing, but they also get little breaks of constant smiling at the camera. It is much less stressful too because parents aren't flustered with trying to get a child to look at the camera the entire photo shoot.

What type of photos can I expect?

I usually like to start with the big family photo then break down the groups from there. We do a mix of traditional (everyone look at the camera), and lifestyle photos (candid, natural poses I guide you through). Like I said earlier, we will constantly be going back and forth between smiling at the camera and interacting with your family. If there are kids, I also have a few games I play when we breakdown into the smaller families within your extended family. This really helps everyone involved loosen up and feel way more natural in their photos. Not to mention, it makes the time fly by. As you play these "games," or sometimes I refer to them as "activities," I will be photographing the whole time. This in one trick I have up my sleeve to provide natural photos that showcases the love and connection you have with your loved ones. I can't wait to photograph your family!