I’m getting more and more questions about family photography and how I approach larger family sessions. I have some HUGE ones on the books for this summer at the beach (25 people, 18 and even 33) those are big families and I don’t usually handle that many, but I do work with larger families all the time and I love it, but it is tricky and there are some tips!
- Have a plan! I always have a few “shots” in my mind that I know I want with the family. I typically try to get several sitting down, several really close up family faces, a few standing up and a few where they are standing up but leaning on something. This makes sure that I cover all my bases and I know that I will have a good variety for them.
- Take several different individuals of the kids: I like to have a great option for the kiddos…this way, if they are doing a wall gallery (which most do) then I have a variety to choose from to keep it congruent and to go with different layouts.
- Always build connection: I took a workshop once and the biggest thing I learned from it, was that you need to build connection among your clients…and it makes all the difference in their images. I promise you, have them touching, have them hugging, have them leaning, have them close together…do NOT have bookends. (that means people standing or sitting without connection) They are family and they want to showcase their love! Make that happen! It means that you have to help them as some will not feel as comfortable as others with this, but it’s key!
- Interesting locations: This always makes a huge difference for so many reasons. I post about it here, but specifically for family sessions, it gives you so much more flexibility of what you can do.
- Make sure you sit them: I can always tell a new photographer or one that just doesn’t get “connection” when I see family pictures that are all standing. I let my clients know ahead of time…you are going to be sitting, so dress accordingly and be prepared. It may mean that your behind gets a little dirty, but it will make all the difference in your images. I will say 9 out of 10 canvases I sell are family sitting shots
- Keep it relaxed: Make it fun, joke with the kids, let them run and play so you can get shots of mom and dad…just have fun! Your clients will appreciate it and be so thankful.
- Make sure you can see faces: Nothing worse than capturing a great shot, but someone is partially hidden behind another! Take the time to correct your clients. They want you to guide them, they need your coaching and they want it because they want an amazing final product!
- Don’t shoot to “wide open”: If you are like me, you like to keep that F-stop low..but when it comes to larger families, don’t do it! You want to make sure everyone is crisp and sharp.
I’m not sure when exactly I met Suzanne, she and I have been facebook friends for a while, she is a dynamite business owner as she has risen to the top with her Mary Kay business! Our kiddos go to the same school and we have lots of mutual friends….but the first time I “met” her was when she brought sweet baby girl into the studio for a newborn session. I so enjoyed chatting with her, listening to her talk about her kids, which I immediately realized are her life! Then she contacted me to work with her whole family and I have to say, they have taken on her beauty, her personality, her spirit! I could tell that these were important to her sweet husband because they were important to her. I love that! These kiddos just twinkle…you will see what I mean below! Thank you Suzanne and family for allowing me to work with you and capture these special memories! Enjoy!