I LOVE photographing families! Vacations, reunions, holidays and anniversary celebrations are special times and provide the perfect opportunity to be remembered with quality portraiture. However, in my years of experience photographing large groups I've learned that there are a few things to keep in mind when you are considering booking this type of session. There are a few common pitfalls that can easily be avoided by a little thoughtful preparation.
EXTENDED FAMILY SESSIONS
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
GOAL OF THE SESSION
Make sure that everyone is in agreement about the goal of the session. Some famlilies only want a great photo of the whole group, documenting that everyone was there and providing a well lit and controlled image that would look nice as a keepsake and perhaps an enlargment for grandparents. They don't want to devote much time into an already tight schedule (understandably so). Some families want to take the rare opportunity of everyone being together and use it to capture relationship images between family members - siblings, grandparents with all of the grandkids, etc. This takes longer but allows the creation of a custom album that will become a treasured heirloom and last for generations.
Make sure that everyone is in agreement about the style of the session. Some people love traditional, perfectly lit and posed studio photography and some people prefer casual, outdoor portraits that are a little more relaxed. It's important to know if their hair is blowing a little on the beach, or if they will be uncomfortable sitting on the ground. Often the session is a gift for grandparents, who tend to like a more classic style, so please be sure that an outdoor casual portrait would be something they would display in their homes. I will be happy to refer you to a photographer with a larger space if studio portraiture is your preference.
Once you decide what your goal for the session is, you can choose from one of 2 collections:
Package A: $240 plus $15 a person (10-25 people)
1.5 hours of time with the photographer. Group and individual families, and misc poses (extended family
portrait, each individual family in a few poses etc) 20 custom edits with full release to print.
Digital download, same week delivery
Package B: $480 plus $15 a person (25-30 people)
1.5 - 2 hours hours of time with the photographer. Group and individual families, and any poses (extended family portrait, each individual family in a few poses, grand parents with grand children, just grandchildren, anything we can fit in 2 hours!) 30 or more custom edits with full release to print.
Digital download, same week delivery
Package C: $720 plus $15 a person (30+ people)
2 - 4 hours of time with the photographer. Group and individual families, and any poses (extended family portrait, each individual family in a few poses, grand parents with grand children, just grandchildren, anything we can fit in 2 hours!) 40 or more custom edits with full release to print.
Digital download, same week delivery.
PLEASE NOTE: On larger extended families, it works well to take 2-4 different families and do their pictures right at the beginning of the shoot, and start the group shoot about 30 minutes in. Once the biggest group pictures are complete then we can continue photographing the rest of the families, so no individual family is there the entire time unless they choose to be! This works better to keep the kids (and dads!) attention When you book, just mention that’s what you want to do (vs doing the big group right up front, then small families afterward)
CHOOSE A CONTACT PERSON
Choose ONE person that I will be in communication with before and after the session, who will make the payment, and who will be the person to sign the portrait agreement. It is too easy to
make mistakes/omissions if there are too many people involved, and I want to provide you with the best, most stress-free experience that I can!
WHAT TO WEAR
Clothing decisions need to be made early so that anyone traveling can be prepared. Please DO NOT show up in matching white shirts! My best advice is this: Choose neutrals plus 2-3 colors that match the decor of the grandparents, in case they want to hang an enlargment. So - jeans, black/greys, creams/khaki for your neutrals, and then 2 or 3 colors with very limited prints or patterns. The designated contact person should check with everyone ahead of schedule so there aren't any surprises, such as someone showing up in a football jersey that happens to match the red, blue and grey pallete that was chosen (true story). Please see my What To Wear page under FAQs for more information.
Location is crutial to a good portrait because of the lighting. Often I am asked to shoot on location at a special place "in front of the garden" or in a lakefront home or at a hotel where everyone is staying. This creates special challenges, because I can't have people squinting into the sun or crushed together to fit in front of a landmark. Time of day is especially important because of the position of the sun. We need to discuss specific locations prior to the session so that I can be adequately be prepared with lighting equiptment if needed. I have many places for groups that I can reccomend for a beautiful result. And remember it's about the PEOPLE not the flowers!
The slideshow photos are intended for display use only. They were not taken
by Ashley Nichole Studio, All credits go to the photographers shown above.