Extended Family Photography is one of those things that can be so difficult because you are photographing so many people, but it is so rewarding in the end. I have shot several extended families, and each time I stress about it ahead of time. The thought of photographing 15 or 20 people sounds so intimidating! But in reality, it’s lots of fun. I feel like everyone is a little more relaxed with each other because they have their whole family around. I find it easier to get candid photos of family members interacting than if it were a small family. Because there are so many people, there is so much going on but that is really a good thing. I find I get the most genuine smiles and personalities when everyone is just talking and laughing with each other. I keep telling myself to not stress about it because it always turns out wonderful. So, here are my tips to remember when photographing an extended family.
- Don’t try to pose people. It’s one thing if there are only 4 people in your shot and the family wants a posed photo. With extended families, a posed photo seems so unnatural. When I am photographing the entire bunch together, I have them all stand together but ignore me completely. Just talk with each other and I will keep clicking away.
- Focus on the little ones. The youngest kids in the family are typically the center of the group, but can also be the hardest to photograph. If everyone gives their attention to the babies/toddlers, then they are happier in the photos.
- If grandparents are involved, make sure to center the family around them. They are the reason everyone else in that family exists so give the grandparents all the love. One of my favorite shots is having the grandparents stand in the foreground while the rest of the family is in the background.
- Just go with the flow. Extended Family Photography is not always easy to control. Some people show up late, some don’t quite get along with their siblings, and some just don’t right don’t want to be there. Go with it. This is what I tell every one of my family clients: this session is telling a story and capturing this moment in time.