Only a few months after taking family portraits on a wintry day for this growing family of three, I met them again for extended family portraits! It's always fun to see clients again and again, and when they bring more family members along with them, its even better!
Once again, they had a colder than normal day for this photos at Cibolo Nature Center. It was a stormy weekend with highs in 60s. That is cold for a Texas May! Their California based family packed for the Texas heat but were met with cool temps and overcast skies. But that didn't deter them from having a wonderful stay, especially when it involved meeting Baby E for the first time after a year of not being able to travel.
I've done a few extended family sessions, usually involving the grandparents and aunts/uncles from one side of the family, but this was my first with both sides. It's always nice to see two families brought together by a marriage who actually get along, because its usually pretty rare. They're a lucky bunch. And Baby E is even luckier to be surrounded by so many people who dote on her.
When we arrived at Cibolo on a weekday morning we were surprised to find the park gate partially closed with a sign stating the Park was closed "for research." I had visited the website the day before and didn't see any notices about closures so we were all a little confused. I found a film crew and discovered they were there for the research project and got an idea of where they would be within the park. So, we agreed to stay close to the front so we wouldn't interfere or be disruptive.
We may not have been able to explore a lot of the park, but we managed to get a lot of variety and beautiful images for their family by staying in one spot.
To make the most of your extended family session, it's best to start off with photos of the entire group first. This way you capture everyone together before any kids (or sometimes adults) lose interest, become distracted, or get tired. The entire group can be posed traditionally, separated into smaller groups, or doing an activity to add some movement and variety. Movement also helps loosen everyone up and can introduce a little bit of fun or silliness to help people relax for the rest of the session.
The next step is to focus on each nuclear family. This gives other family members a chance to check hair, let kids run around, drink some water, and not feel like they have to be smiling for the camera for an entire hour or more. It's always helpful to have a list ahead of time to make sure you get all the combinations you want. Share the list with your photographer (names and/or relation) before your session.
Since Baby E's parents were the ones who hired me, it was easy to figure out which groupings I would create. I'd start with their nuclear family and then add relations from mom's side, then dad's side. When focusing on one side of the family, we again started with the full group and then created smaller groups. Then we switched to dad's side of the family. Baby E got the stay for all them because it was her first birthday and the star of the show after all.
When grandparents are included in an extended family session, they get to have their own mini session. There's photos with their children all together, each child individually, just the daughters, just the sons, with all the grandchildren, each grandkid separately, and with their spouse. It's important to tell grandparents before the session what to expect so they aren't caught off guard or so you can tell your photographer how involved the grandparents want to be during the session.
For this session, there were two lovely sisters on both sides of the family so we got some sibling photos and pics of just the aunts with baby E.
Star of the Show
The remainder of the session involved everyone doting on and watching Baby E as she had her photo taken. We took some portraits of just her to celebrate her turning 1 year old. Then we let her explore the park with some help from her parents. These are the type of precious moments I enjoy capturing the most in family sessions, where a family is being themselves and focus on each other rather than my camera.
We ended the session with a mini session for the family that brought everyone together that weekend.
A Moment Recreated
The best part about having returning clients is being able to recreate moments from previous sessions. I could picture several of their images from just a few months before. Winter to Spring. Four months of change documented.
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