How to get the Most Variety of Photos in Your Extended Family Photoshoot

A couple months ago, Diane contacted me and inquired about photographing her large family. The 4 generations were here in town in Friendswood, Texas to celebrate her parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. Their kids, grandkids, and great grand kids (over 30 people in total) all flew in from all over the country to share in this momentous occasion with them and they wanted some family photos while everyone was together.

So of course, we had to make this happen! I’ve done several of these types of sessions before (and of course large groups of family members at countless weddings), so I thought it might be helpful to get some insight into how I approach such a large group and makes sure we get tons of different arrangements of people for photos.

Here’s my process…

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The whole group.

Photoshoots always start the same - some people are uncomfortable, some don’t know what to do with their hands or how to pose, and the kids are behaving the best they’re possibly going to be. Get that large group shot first. It will help everyone feel more comfortable and if they’re not comfortable, they can at least fake it by being surrounded by their family members and not alone and on display.

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The Oldest or Most Frail.

The next photos should be those individuals of the group that can’t stand for a long time, or aren’t physically able to handle a long, drawn out photoshoot. Take a few photos of these folks and then let them have a seat somewhere. They’ll be thankful and the others won’t have to worry about being caretakers for an extended amount of time.

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The Kids.

Everyone knows that kids have short attention spans. They could care less that you just want *one* photo of everyone looking at the camera. So make sure to get photos of them at the beginning of the shoot. Get combinations of the kiddos with their grandparents, great grandparents, and sibling groups. Have the parents all stand behind the photographer so that all eyes are as close to the camera as possible.

Sibling Groups

As we age, siblings tend to drift further apart (both relationally and geographically), so make sure to get photos of all those “kids” together. And don’t let “Aunt Susie” excuse herself from the photo because she doesn’t like her hair that day - it’s about being together and capturing your family together as a whole.

Individual Families

These groups are usually the closest. They spend holidays together and may even live very close to one another. Make to get group photos of each of the families that make up the larger family.

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These always make for fun photos! For some reason, when adult cousins get together, there’s always a lot of laughing and joking around. Make sure to get these fun photos. It’s especially fun to compare these photos later to pictures of the cousins when they were kids themselves.

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If you’d like Stacy Anderson Photography to photograph your family, contact us today!

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