If you are reading this, it’s probably because someone in your family sent you this blog post to prepare for your extended family session with me. I am SO glad they did. One of the best ways for you to have a good experience is to know What To Expect During Extended Family Sessions and How To Prepare For Extended Family Photos.
The first part of knowing What To Expect During My Extended Family Sessions is to know that I am really excited to meet your family. Yes, you read that right! I am so excited to get to know your family, and I promise they won’t be a challenge for me. I have divorced parents and I grew up with ALL sisters!!! My mom is now re-married and I have two brothers-in-law that are like biological brothers to me. My family is full of drama AND love. I mean it when I say your family is completely normal. There has never been a family too difficult. Extended families sessions are actually some of my favorite and easiest sessions.
The the most important thing for any session type to go smoothly is that you trust the photographer. With smaller families that’s not a hard thing because I am usually booking with one out of two adults. With weddings I introduce myself to the parents of the bride and groom as soon as possible on the wedding day. We have the whole wedding day for them to get to know me and learn to trust me. Extended families are SO SO tricky because I’m booking with one adult, but I need to get to know everyone so that they can trust me. There’s no way for me to get to know everyone, and our session only lasts an hour. I have found that the more people know what to expect during my extended family sessions, the smoother they go.
I want you to know that I am a very efficient photographer. Kids usually last 30 minutes before they start feeling the pressure of these big shoots. The more pictures I get done in the first 30 minutes means the easier the pictures are to edit, and the happier everyone is. Utah is the poster child for big families. I shoot families of 30-5o people regularly. As much as I love my job, it’s a business as well. There’s no reason I would want to spend 2-3 hours doing what I can do in 1-1.5 hours. I would much rather get all the pictures done quickly and then let everyone catch up, than break up mini conversations and beg people to stay on task. My promise to you is that we will get done quickly if you listen!
Second, our main goal is going to be the big extended family picture. This picture is the whole reason everyone is coming together. Each individual can get their family pictures done any time. It’s hard to get the group all together for a portrait. This is why it’s really important to have everyone on time. I like to start with the whole group so that kids aren’t too rambunctious when we take that big family portrait. If someone is late, it’s more likely that I will wait for the late family to start. Starting with the small families makes it so the the kids are more difficult during that big group. Please do your best to be 10-15 minutes early.
The third thing to know is that I am a professional, but photography is an art. Just like a painting, not everyone is going to like my pictures. The larger that group, the more likely it will be that someone thinks they can do my job better than me. I have a lot of training and experience. When I am putting groups together I consider what people are wearing, everyone’s height, outfit colors, outfit patterns, cousins that are fighting, the background of the pictures, what could be distracting to kids, and so much more. There is a chance that you might not agree with what I think looks best. If we voted on the directions I give, we would never get through the shoot. Trust that I am seeing what you see. I am probably keeping things the way they are for an intentional reason not poor oversight.
I deliver all my galleries in an online link. The link is just a URL, like a website, where you can download the images to your personal device. You can share this link with whoever you want. This online gallery is super convenient with anyone that is tech savvy but not so much with those that aren’t used to computers. Make sure to help whoever needs help so they don’t screenshot an images. Taking a screenshot decreases the quality a lot and will not be high enough quality to print.
When you download the images you will get a print release as well. You can order prints through whoever you want, just make sure you are sending them a high resolution download from the link I sent. Who ever booked the session is who I will email the online gallery to. They will forward the gallery on to the rests of the family. I love connecting with my clients after their session. You can follow me on Instagram and tag me in your favorites so I can see @hiliarystewart.
If you have any questions at all please email be at email@example.com
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