My mom comes from a large family. She is one of seven kids and her father was one of eight. I remember her telling me that holidays were an absolute riot of fun with so many aunts and uncles and cousins together. I loved to hear her stories of things they did together, all the different kids and cousins, all the fun of growing up with so many people to love. The funny thing is, though, I have never seen any photos of those gatherings. I can’t count all the cousins or see the chaos that must have reigned.
It gets me thinking about the importance of getting good photos when family and friends gather for the holidays. The stories are so important, but so is being able to show, not just tell, your loved ones about days gone by. We all change, homes, relationships, the color on the dining room wall, your favorite china, the pets in our lives. Photographing those times is a terrific way to preserve your memories, remember who was there and who felt like being a grouch that day.
The way I like to photograph large groups (also knows as extended family photography) is to see if we can get a little energy into the images. Obviously we do try to get as much of an “ordinary” group photo as possible, but I do think that eventually the photos we will really treasure are the ones that show a bit more personality.
Depending on the size of the group, I like to spend between 1-2 hours with the group. This allows me time to create the overall typical group portrait, get some more fun portraits of the group, and then break into smaller groups with grandparents alone, grandkids alone, grandparents and grandkids together, family units together, each generation together. In between, I try to capture moments that are unposed, so my clients have a bit of the overarching story to share as well.
If the family has the time, we can do a longer session that includes more lifestyle photos of their day, perhaps their meal, or a family activity. That gives context and a lot more fascinating story to share with future generations. Families can also schedule a Day in the Life Session with me for a true documentary experience. Learn more about Thanksgiving Documentary Family Photo Sessions here.
Interested in scheduling a large group family photo? Contact me.