Updated: Mar 18, 2021
I like big families and I cannot lie. You other brothers can't deny. No? Cool, I’ll stop my singing… Anywho, I think big families are so much fun! They have so much personality and can be a blast to meet! I shot the Durant Family on their property; they actually own a big seed business so we incorporated a lot of that into their pictures. The best part of the day was at the end, we all got ice cream. But not just any ice cream, they had a soft serve machine! I was in heaven.
I am going to give you some tips and tricks on how to make shooting extended family photos a breeze. I know it can be painful and some of your family might be dragging their feet but I promise this will speed up things!
SNACKS! Brings little treats for the adults...ehh *cough cough, I mean kids. It will make everyone happy. The Durants had “Happy snacks” where every time a child was getting ancy or upset they would get a happy snack. It also is used as a reward. Sat still for a min? Snack. Smiled without sticking your tongue out? Snack. Obviously you would only give out one to two goldfish crackers at a time or whatever you are giving them. If you have older kids you can promise to take them out to ice cream or something bigger after if they cooperate.
If you are not about giving your kids all the food, you could bribe them with experiences. I've had parents tell their children they will go to the park afterwards if they are good and it typically works! Or you could bring their favorite toy so they can play with it while they are not getting their picture taken.
Make a game plan. Who is going first, who is in the picture, what family, which order will be best, what variety of photos do you want, ect. I try to get the big group pictures out of the way first so the big family picture you print out hopefully has everyone still happy in it. Then if the family with the youngest/rowdiest kids are not having a meltdown, I will start with them. Then they can go run and play. It makes it easier to chunk out all the families and plan it in advance.
Think about the weather. If you are doing pictures in 100 degree heat, pack water bottles and have people wait in their cars with air conditioning till it's their turn. Or on the flipside, if it's snowy and freezing, bring extra layers, blankets, hothands, and again sit in the car.
Have the photographer or whoever is in charge say only one person is allowed to get the attention of the kids to make them smile/look. If everyone is trying to get Bobby to look at the camera and is pointing and looking at him, it is defeating the purpose of telling him to look because the only one looking will be Bobby. Right? So someone could be the designated person to do that either by standing behind the photographer (If they don't need to be in the picture) or in the picture, but at some point they need to stop and smile themselves.
What have you found that helps your family out in family photos? I would love to hear your ideas!