Lots of family photographers don’t like photographing extended families and some don’t even offer these sessions as an option. I however really enjoy capturing large and multi-generational family groups. Maybe this is because this is not the type of family I grew up in. Big groups though can be chaotic. They can be loud. They can have different ideas, opinions and needs. This is why I have written this post. By being clear and honest in all our communication with one another we can successfully capture the best images possible of your family.
WHAT I DO DIFFERENTLY
- I don’t charge an additional per head surcharge once you exceed 6, 12 or 15 family members.
- I allow and encourage you to reserve two timeslots when booking in case we need to reschedule because of bad weather.
- I understand and accommodate the extra back and forth required when coordinating large numbers of people with diverse needs and wishes.
- I leave your gallery online for 12 months allowing you to spread costs or to come back to purchase prints or artworks for gifts throughout the year.
QUESTIONS TO ASK EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY BEFORE ENQUIRING ABOUT EXTENDED FAMILY PHOTOS
Trying to please and co-ordinate multiple households is not easy. If the session is a gift or the costs are being split this can be especially difficult. Here are some questions to discuss together at the outset.
- Who is willing to co-ordinate the booking, collect money and act as the contact between your family and the photographer?
- How much is each family or household comfortably able and willing to spend?
- Do you want to purchase a package with limited images (and if so how will you work out who chooses them) or do you want to elect to purchase the entire gallery at the outset?
- What time of the day and day/s of the week work best for everyone?
- What types of images is everyone wanting captured and are you all on the same page or do different people have different ideas?
- How soon do you want your session to occur and how flexible can people be with dates?
HOW EARLY TO ENQUIRE AND BOOK
It is never too early to make contact and the larger your extended family group the trickier the logistics become. For Melbourne-based families I recommend booking a minimum of three months in advance. If you have family flying in from interstate I suggest contacting me six months in advance for weekend sessions and three months ahead for weekday sessions. This longer lead time when people are travelling to Melbourne is so we can reserve timeslots on consecutive days in case the first day is affected by bad weather.
INITIAL PHONE CONSULTATION
Once I receive an enquiry I arrange a suitable time to telephone you to answer any questions you and your family may have and to discuss your needs and wishes for your session. This includes how many people/households will be involved and what sorts of images you would like to have captured. At this point I can also discuss available dates and possible locations.
THE BOOKING PROCESS
After our initial phone consultation I understand and anticipate you will need to go back and discuss things with your family. At this stage I welcome you to email or message any additional questions which may arise. If EVERYONE decides to proceed please;
- email, message or text with which package/inclusions you wish to book and THREE suitable timeslots.
- within 24 hours I will email the contact person a three part digital booking link.
- complete the photoshoot questionnaire (so that your expectations are documented and your session can be planned).
- sign the contract including consent for the use of images (I encourage you to share a copy of the contract with your family and discuss if anyone has any objections).
- as per your invoice pay your non-refundable $200 deposit by bank transfer (your session timeslot is not confirmed until payment is made).
- one week prior to your session I shall contact you to confirm arrangements.
- the balance of your invoice is due one day prior to the shoot.
HOW AN EXTENDED FAMILY PHOTO SESSION FLOWS AND HOW THEY DIFFER FROM A REGULAR FAMILY SESSION
My regular family sessions for a single household are extremely fluid and child-led with lots of opportunities for playing, moving and exploring. I try and keep the same relaxed approach with extended families but the increased number of people involved generally goes hand-in-hand with a much longer wish-list of combinations. Therefore, extended family sessions are typically more structured and the more households involved the more structure is generally required. I normally start with shots of the entire family and progressively work through to smaller and smaller groupings. Where there are households with different aged children I normally start with the family with the youngest children first and move through to those with older or adult children. With single family sessions I pride myself on memorising everyone’s names but once multiple households become involved this may not be possible and I apologise now for this.
THE ROLE OF THE ‘HERDER’ ON THE DAY
For extended family photos involving three or more households I will ask the family to nominate a ‘herder’. This may or may not be the individual who has been the contact person with me during the booking and planning process. This person will be my go-to contact on the day. They will assist me to make sure everyone is where they need to be and that everyone for a desired grouping is in a shot (there is nothing worse than realising after the fact one of the kids had run off and hidden and wasn’t in any images) and that the next grouping is ready so that we can quickly and smoothly work through the shot-list.
THE KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL EXTENDED FAMILY SESSION
The following things will allow us to have a fun and relaxed extended family photos shoot;
- Please be on time as photography depends upon light and this may be lost or less than ideal if we don’t start at the scheduled time.
- Please dress for the conditions so that you aren’t freezing cold or boiling hot and miserable.
- If you have children bring water bottles and non-messy snacks if they are likely to become hangry.
- And finally be honest with each other and with me during the planning of your session so that there are no surprises and we are all informed and on the same page.
Within 14 days of your session your password protected online gallery will be sent through to the nominated contact person who can then share it with everyone. If your family elected at the outset to purchase the entire gallery the images will be provided watermark-free and ready for download. If your family chose a package with either 10 or 20 included images the gallery will be watermarked and the download password will be provided to the contact person for them to then co-ordinate the selection of images.
ORDERING ADDITIONAL DIGITAL IMAGES AND/OR PRINTS AND ARTWORKS
Any member of the family who has been provided access to the online gallery by the contact person can access the integrated online store to purchase additional digital images not chosen within the selected package and/or to order professional grade prints or artworks.