Summer is right around the corner, and you know what that means… travel! Especially traveling to visit family. If you're reading this blog, you might be wondering how to coordinate an extended family session. 

Whether you’re traveling to visit family or your family is coming here to Santa Barbara, you may want to consider an extended family photo session. Capturing these moments with your loved ones can be an excellent way to remember your time together.

Coordinating the session may seem daunting, but it can be a fun experience for everyone.

In this guide, I'll walk you through the process step by step, making it as smooth and stress-free as possible.

How to Coordinate an Extended Family Session:

Bringing Up the Subject

How do you discuss the subject of an extended family photo shoot with your relatives?

Even if you've done extended family photoshoots in the past and they didn't go well, don't give up. I have a very easygoing but cooperative way to get everyone involved and make it as painless and, dare I even say, as fun as possible! I use games and humor and encourage interactions to keep things moving along.

Start by casually mentioning the idea during a family conversation. Highlight the fun aspects and the value of having these memories captured. Emphasize that it’s an opportunity to create beautiful keepsakes and share laughs. If there’s any hesitation, reassure them that the process will be relaxed and enjoyable.

Deciding Who Pays

One common question is, who pays for the photo session? There are several ways to handle this:

  • Split the Cost Evenly: Each family unit contributes an equal share, making it fair and affordable for everyone.
  • Gift from Siblings: The siblings might gift the session to their parents, covering the cost as a thoughtful gesture.
  • Matriarchs Cover It: Sometimes, the grandparents or matriarchs of the family may choose to cover the expenses as a gift to the whole family.

Discussing this openly and early on can prevent any misunderstandings or awkwardness later.

Choosing the Perfect Location

How do you pick the right location for your family photos? Pssst: I can help you with this part! Just let me know the vibe you're going for.

Whether it’s the serene beach, picturesque bluffs, lush foothills, a stylish hotel, or an urban setting, we can find the perfect spot that reflects your family’s personality.

Consider what kind of backdrop will suit your family best. Are you beach lovers, mountain enthusiasts, or city dwellers? Choosing a location that resonates with your family will make the photos more meaningful.

Organizing a Color Theme

Coordinating outfits for a large group can be tricky, but here’s how to do it without stressing:

  1. Think About the Location: Choose colors that complement the setting. Think cream, tan, light/medium blue, brown, blush, and lavender for the beach. For the bluffs and foothills, go for natural colors like cream, tan, and brown, but don't shy away from slightly darker or more saturated jewel tones (but not black please).
  2. Avoid Neons and Black: These colors can be too harsh and might not blend well with natural settings.
  3. Dress the Ladies First: Start by picking outfits for the women, then coordinate the men’s and children’s outfits around those choices. This approach makes it easier to create a harmonious look.
  4. Shop Smart: Recommended shopping places include Zara, Nordstrom, and Amazon. They offer a variety of styles and colors that suit your family’s needs.

How to Coordinate an Extended Family Session:

Additional Tips and Considerations

  • Weather and Timing: Consider the weather and the best time of day for lighting. Late afternoons or early evenings often provide the best natural light for outdoor sessions.
  • Communicate with Your Photographer: Keep in touch with your photographer to discuss any specific ideas or concerns you might have. They can offer valuable advice and suggestions to ensure the session goes smoothly.
  • Have Fun: Lastly, remember to have fun. The best photos often come from genuine laughter and interaction, so try to relax and enjoy the moment with your family.

Let’s Start the Journey

Memories Worth Everything

If you have any more questions or problems I haven’t thought of, feel free to reach out. I’m here to help make your extended family photo session a delightful experience!

Planning an extended family photo session doesn’t have to be daunting. With a bit of preparation and cooperation, you can create beautiful memories that your family will enjoy for years to come.