Getting the Family Together | Extended Family Session
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
Vermont Lifestyle Photographer specializing in Family, Maternity, Couples, and Newborn Lifestyle Photography. Serving Warren, Waitsfield, Fayston, Moretown, Montpelier and beyond.
I have had the pleasure of photographing two extended family sessions so far, and while the prospect of photographing so many people in one session seemed super challenging, it is quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to capture family. But what IS and extended family session anyways? It's a photography session where more than your immediate family is photographed: think grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins all together to capture some amazing love and memories. It's hard to get everyone together in the first place, but when you do get together, planning to hire a photographer to document your time together becomes easy, fun, and so special, especially for the grandparents.
-So what happens during an extended family session?
I photograph the entire family together first. While an extended family session is definitely more "posed" than my other work, its a far cry from everyone standing there looking at the camera. While I do photograph that too, its so much more fun for you to have images that show who you are as a family. If everyone is adventurous, you could all get in the river together. Or in winter meet me on the slopes to capture your Vermont ski adventure.
After capturing the whole family, I move on to capturing all the children together, followed by grandparents with grandchildren, and each individual family unit, and finally adult siblings together and with their parents.
-What do we all wear? Should we all match?
The days of everyone showing up to their photo shoot wearing white t-shirts and jeans are over! The look you want to go for is COORDINATING, NOT MATCHING. So I suggest choosing one or two coordinating colors, and then adding in neutrals, such as whites, creams, blue jeans etc. Earth tones such as browns, burnt orange, earthy purple tones, and mustard photograph beautifully. Flowy dresses or cute jumpers work well for women and girls, and guys look great in jeans or neutral bottoms and a nice shirt that complements the women's outfits. Add texture with different fabrics such as lace, linen, etc. Everyone should wear the same amount of "fanciness": Either everyone should be formal, or everyone should be casual. Stay away from florescent colors, and shirts with graphics or sayings on them ( leave the "I love Grandma" shirts at home). If it's summer, stay away from green, as you will blend right into the Vermont landscape.
-Where should our session take place?
When planning an extended family session, I look for a location with a lot of open space, and also one that is accessible to all of your family members. I want everyone to be comfortable at at ease, so if the older family members have any mobility issues, we find a location that suits their needs. In general, I like a location that is easy to get to that can accommodate a large group. I look for mowed grass or short cut fields, maybe an easy access river location, or something to consider is taking the chairlift up one of our ski areas , especially during the off season when the lift allows 2 way riding. It gets you a great view without all the work of hiking! I also love to photograph at client's homes or camps, as these places have special meaning to the family.
Now go and get your family together so we can capture some beautiful, heirloom quality memories!