Fall is the perfect time for an extended family session. Grandparents want photos with all the grandkids and you want an updated family photo for holiday cards and gifts. The whole family is in town for the holidays and you're getting together anyway, why not schedule a photo shoot with everyone? Umm.. why not? Because Marcy, that's easier said than done. Well, I say not anymore! If you want to rock your extended family session, you totally can! Just follow the 8 steps I have outlined below.
1. Contact your photographer a month in advance. This ensures they have room in their schedule to accommodate your large group on a date when you will all be in town. If you want a date on national holiday or the day after expect to pay an extra fee.
2. Plan a small event for all the family groups you're expecting to be photographed. A cookout is a great idea, this gives everyone something to do when they're not being photographed. If you're serving food, you should offer your photographer something to eat as well, it's a sure fire way to win their heart!
3. Make sure payment is taken care of in advance. The last thing you want during your photo shoot is to be thinking about which family members have paid and which haven't. This way at the time of your shoot all you have to think about is having a good time.
4. Your outfits don't need to MATCH! In fact, it's best if they don't! Stick to wearing casual fall attire. Think sweaters, plaid, denim, boots. If you want to coordinate a bit, pick 3-4 colors like olive, navy, brown, and mustard and a neutral fabric like denim and have everyone stick to that color palate.
5. If grandma has photos of certain groups that she MUST HAVE, that's completely fine! Make a list your photographer can reference during the shoot. Bonus points if you also set aside a little spot at the location for these group photos!
6. Give your photographer the freedom to document real life moments and interactions between your family! The best photos are most often unposed, in between moments where real life happened! Candid shots are my favorite, and they'll likely become your favorites too.
7. HAVE FUN! Being with family around the holidays can be stressful, but an extended family photo shoot is the time to LET GO of the little things and have fun with those you love. Laugh, hug, play games, snuggle, and share a meal. These are some of the best moments in life.
8. Let the kids play! The worst thing you can do is make a toddler sit still. Let them run, play, and interact with their cousins and other relatives. This gives you a little break and wears the kiddos out! Hooray! These photos are not the sometimes stiff traditional posed photos that come to mind when you think of a fall family photo session, but they are bursting full of life!