Extended Family Portrait Session: A Prep Guide

Considering a Santa Barbara family photographer for an extended family portrait session but unsure of what to expect?

I've got you covered with my comprehensive prep guide!

Extended family sessions go beyond the standard setup to include multiple generations, offering a precious opportunity to capture cherished memories that will be treasured for generations to come.

What's on this blog:

  1. What's An Extended Family Portrait Session?
  2. What To Expect
  3. Who's Included?
  4. Locations
  5. When Will Our Session Take Place?
  6. How Long Is The Session?
  7. Wardrobe Tips
  8. Prep Tips
  9. Children's Involvement
  10. Extra Tips

Here are some helpful tips to help you prepare for your extended family session with me in Santa Barbara!

Black and white image of grandparents with grandkids at an extended family portrait session
Extended family portrait session of a family holding hands in a beautiful park like setting.
Extended family portrait session photo that is in black and white of young kids playing by a fence.

What Is An Extended Family Portrait Session?

Imagine a gathering that spans generations—your parents, you and your family, and your siblings and their families all coming together for a memorable photo session in beautiful Santa Barbara.

What To Expect For An Extended Family Portrait Session

These sessions are real and honest. I want to capture your family just as you are now. I strive to communicate love and connection through my camera, think of it as less posing and props. Rather, a collection of candid moments that express joy and emotion. Don’t worry, I will capture a group shot with everyone looking at the camera at the beginning of your session. 

Can a family member leave half way through our session? Kindly ensure that everyone participating in the session can remain present for its entirety. It breaks up the flow if someone needs to leave partway through.

We will start off with big group photographs and then move on to individual families. Think of these as family mini-sessions! Then we'll move on to grandparents with grandkids together, adult siblings together, and finish with more whole family group photographs with lots of candid moments mixed in!

As the session progresses, we'll capture grandparents with grandkids, adult siblings together, and more whole-family group photos, all interspersed with candid moments. Following the session, you'll receive a private gallery featuring a minimum of 90 images in both color and black and white. Each family unit will also receive their own luxury photo album, personalized from your session.

Who is included in an extended family session?

Imagine a gathering that spans generations—your parents, you and your family, and your siblings and their families all coming together for a memorable photo session in beautiful Santa Barbara.

Locations For Extended Family Portrait Sessions

The stage for this memorable event? The scenic beauty of Santa Barbara provides the perfect backdrop. Whether you prefer the sandy shores or the shade of a majestic oak tree, I offer various locations to cater to your family's preferences. Click here for Best Locations for Family Photography in Santa Barbara

RELATED POST: 5 Reasons To Hire A Santa Barbara Family Photographer

When will our session take place?

Your session will take place during the magical golden hour. My sessions begin one and a half hours before sunset. This time is referred to as golden hour because the lighting is much softer than the harsh light of day. With the sun being so low in the sky, it creates a warm, golden glow that truly is magical. The images in my portfolio look this way due to the time of day your session starts.

How Long Is An Extended Family Portrait Session?

Rest assured, my family portrait sessions are efficiently conducted, typically lasting no more than an hour. Within that time frame, I'll curate a diverse and compelling gallery.

Wardrobe Tips

Comfort and authenticity are key when selecting attire for your session. Rather than matching outfits, opt for coordinated ensembles that reflect your family's personality. I'm happy to provide guidance or consult directly on wardrobe choices.

RELATED POSTS: What to Wear For Your Family Photography Session & What to Wear For Your Next Santa Barbara Family Photoshoot

Preparation Tips

Prepare for the session with a few helpful tips in mind, including smudge-proof lipstick and bike shorts under dresses. While props aren't typically used, feel free to bring along any meaningful items you'd like to include. Click here to see my favorites!

Children's Involvement In Extended Family Portrait Sessions

Parents, leave the discipline at the door—our session is all about laughter, play, and genuine connections. Embrace spontaneity and affection, and prepare your little ones for the session by explaining what to expect. Please click here to check out my helpful blog on how to prepare your children for your photoshoot!

Extra Tips

Remember to bring as little as possible to the session to ensure ease of movement. Arriving on time is crucial to make the most of our scheduled golden hour. And after the session, why not celebrate with a special dinner outing?


With these tips in mind, you're ready to embark on a memorable family photography experience in Santa Barbara. If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to reach out. I'm excited to capture your family's unique story and create lasting memories together!

How do I sign up?

Are you and your family ready to sign up for your extended family session? That is fantastic, and I am so excited to meet you and capture your family!

Start by clicking the button below! From there, you will fill out my contact form, and I will contact you with available dates!

Don't forget to follow me on the 'Gram, too!

There are not enough words to describe how special these extended family sessions are and I truly hope you and your family consider an extended family session next time everyone is together in Santa Barbara. I know it isn’t easy to get everyone together, but these moments together create magical memories that you can look back on for years. I promise it is worth it!