If you can't tell already, I love meeting people! The best part is hearing new stories and turning strangers into friends. As you read through my blogs, you'll notice that I try to find the joy in every photo session! Nothing brings me more joy than getting the opportunity to photograph large groups of people, like extended families. When it comes to photo sessions, I say, the more, the merrier!
As you can imagine, getting ready for your photo session with your extended family is a bit more complicated - for your family and for your photographer. For you, decisions may involve finding and agreeing on a date, coordinating the perfect outfit colors, figuring out the style of photos you'd like, etc. For photographers like me, it's doing a bit a of homework and discovering who will be at the session and quickly understanding the different personalities and dynamics.
One of the most important things you can do to help out your photographer is provide a list of who will be attending your session. Make sure to identify the VIPs and be thoughtful of the combination of family members you'd like for your photos. For example: Grandparents and grandchildren, all the children, all the siblings, all the women, all the men, etc. Having a list will not only keep your photographer on track, but will also help give a framework for your family members to follow.
When you have so many people involved, it's easy to get stressed out and focus on the imperfections. With so many different personalities and temperaments, you're bound to have some meltdowns and some unhappy family member. Being flexible and adaptable is key! If you should have an unhappy camper, switch gears and photograph other family members until your little ones (or big ones) are ready for their close ups. Keeping it light and fun without any pressure is the key to getting everyone comfortable enough for the smiles to shine through.
Besides providing a who's who list to your photographer, what else can you do to be prepared for your family session with your extended family? Similar to your regular family sessions, you'll want to make sure you bring some snacks and treats for the kiddos. Smiling is a lot of work! If your kids have a favorite toy, don't hesitate to bring it along. It could provide comfort throughout the photo session. Remember there could be downtime between photos. Bring activities that could entertain your kiddos during these times. Lastly, don't forget to bring keepsakes or additional props that you would like to use.
At the end of the day, it's all about capturing that very moment in time. Embrace the craziness, remember the laughs, and enjoy every minute!