EXTENDED FAMILY SESSIONS
WHAT IS IT?
An extended family session with RMP is a session that incorporates more than just your immediate family, it offers a way to capture your immediate family PLUS your extended family, and all the generation photos we appreciate as time goes on. This type of session tends to be a bit more structured compared to my normal one-family session only because we have a lot of photo opportunities to make sure we get through. If there are more than ten participants, I will strongly encourage a double session to make sure that we have enough time to document your family in a thorough but relaxed and fun way!
So how does it work?
Typically an extended family session will be made up of:
Grandparents (who I will refer to as Nan and Pop for the purpose of this explanation)
Their Kids (who I will mostly refer to as Mum and Dad for the purpose of this explanation - I understand not all may have kids so please do not take offence to my generalisation!)
Grandkids (who I will refer to as Kids for the purpose of this explanation)
It can also absolutely include additional grandparents, great-grandparents etc)
I suggest making it an awesome excuse for a big family get together! Feel free to bring some drinks, and a couple blankets to sit on and lets have a lovely family catch up while we are documenting this awesomeness to preserve for you all! You could finish it off with a big brekky or an evening BBQ, or simply just throw a platter together and sit back while the kiddos play. Location-wise we could aim for one of the family homes/farms, or at a local favourite beach or park... we can fine tune the details once we have a date! Think about how you can make it a beautiful memory outside of your photo session too - you are all dressed up and looking the goods so you may as well have a celebratory catch up to mark the occasion! If you live rurally we can go for a wander around the farm, get the machinery or the motorbike out, or see the horses/sheep/animals... think about what you as a family recognise as a special spot or memory for you all, and look to the kids for inspiration about what they look forward to about catching up with the family/grandparents etc... as these photos will be precious to them for generations to come too!
THE SESSION SHOT GUIDE
WHOLE GROUP SHOT - I will usually do one of these as soon as everyone has arrived, particularly if there are younger kids as this means if they fade pretty quickly we have at least got the main shot!
EACH FAMILY UNIT - I will pull each family to the side to take photos of them as their own family. Provided everyone is keen, I would usually aim to do something like the below: Parents + kids, kids together, kids with mum, kids with dad, mum and dad together, individuals of kids. anything else the fam wants! Note: for couples without kids - you get snuggly shots together! For singles - woohoo! a couple shots with your number one... you! haha
THE ORIGINALS - Shots of Nan & Pop with their grown up kids, this can then merge in to shots of Nan & Pop with each family unit.
THE GRANDIES - Shots of Nan & Pop with their grandkids
And we finish up with another group shot plus some silly shots if everyone is feeling pretty jovial. It seems like a lot but I am a photographer that likes to have a laugh and a chat as we shoot, so yep there will be some 'stand & smile' setups but I will be shooting as you interact with each other before and after the pose as well - those are usually the winners in my eyes because it shows the family dynamic pretty well!
I will aim to do a mixture of smiling at the camera and interacting with each other. I love the interacting with each other ones, particularly with the grandparent/grandies photos - its so precious. I will usually ask the kids to think of a joke each to recite to the group at different times too to break up the mood - so feel free to prep them to look some good jokes up prior to our session!!
WHAT TO WEAR, HOW TO DRESS A GROUP?!
I know, seems daunting doesn't it!! Very simply, don't overthink it too much - in a bigger group it tends to just flow. Same as there is different body shapes, heights and ages; there are different preferences for clothing. So I tend to find it is easier to dress your family unit to compliment each other - as that is where you are going to notice it the most is in those smaller family unit photos.
Earthy or neutral colours, denim used sparingly, chinos on the guys, patterns and textures plus accessories create an awesome depth to the palette. For our recent family photos I picked a printed dress that I loved and then picked colours out of it to dress the rest of the family. I felt beautiful and the photos look awesome. So mum's - start with something that makes you feel amazing and build the colour palette around that!!