Meet the Garcia Family!
First off, I got the opportunity to take this family’s pictures because I use to work with Cristina and Maria back when I was a medical assistant at a pediatrics office. Cristina was my pregnant friend that I got strawberry cheesecake shakes with every single day during lunch and Maria was my friend/work mom.
We originally chose to go to a different location but then last minute Cristina mentioned that her father was about to retire from working for years on a farm in Elberta. This was where they all grew up. They thought, why not take our family pictures in a place that means so much to us? I was all in and drove clear out to the middle of no where to meet them. Thank goodness I knew them well otherwise I would have been slightly skeptical.
So, what should you expect at your extended family session? How does the flow go and what family combos do I get?
I always like to start with the whole family shot. Kids can lose their patience to smile and do pictures quickly and this is the shot that everyone typically wants the most. We do a few different combos of the whole fam! This includes posed, natural, sweet moments, we try to get it all!
Next, I try to do the grandparent/grandkids shot.
Basically any group shot with the kids I like to try to get done before anything else. In this case the Grandma and Grandpa were divorced so we did grandkid shots separately with each of them. Then we did a whole grandkid shot with each of them on one side. So many times people are worried about how I handle divorces in the family. Guess what, you just tell me your comfort level and we’ll work with it! Having them both in a shot with all the grandkids was still important, so we positioned things to be comfortable for everyone! I usually ask about what would be comfortable for everyone in these situations beforehand. This way I already have an idea of how to position everyone to accommodate every situation.
Then we break things up and do some individual family shots.
The family with the youngest kids are usually first because they’re the quickest to get over taking pictures. This is also a great time for the other families with kids to take a break or run and get their energy out! I like to do just a couple pictures of different combos to give each family a bit of variety. These are short, maybe 10 minutes, depending on how many individual families there are. If you’re wanting more of your own little family, then definitely book a separate family session! This way we can focus on getting more variety in shots, play more games, and get more real emotion!
Next we try to get individual shots of anyone that is single in the family!
In this case, it was the Grandparents, so we did a couple portrait shots of each of them (they’re important too!) If grandparents are married then we do couple shots instead!
The end of the session is saved for any other combos that you think of in the time we have left!
Sometimes we do a couple family shots in a different spot as well! I also like to grab shots of the siblings and siblings with their parents.
Things definitely don’t always go perfectly as planned. Sometimes combos get pushed to the end because kids just aren’t quite ready yet and that’s okay! We improvise and go with the flow that best suites everyone. If you have combos that are very important to you, let me know ahead of time. That way we can do them at the beginning to make sure we try to get them!
The most important thing to remember when preparing for your family session is things will probably get a little crazy! Kids sometimes just are not into it. Your job is to smile and work with what you have! That makes for the best photos, when parents just go with the moment!