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Tips for a Big Family Photo Session in NW Arkansas

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

This is it! You were finally able to set up a family photo session. This is a big one though, because it includes parents, grandparents, siblings and their kids. Yes, a lot of people. And you have to keep the date, because one of your siblings came from out of town, so you won't have another opportunity like this one for who knows how long. Like I said, this is it!

1) Coordinate Style and Colors with the Rest of the Group

As much as 'jeans and a t-shirt' looks uniform and is a clean look, you want to make this occasion special and memorable. We definitely will focus on getting your best smiles, but these images will end up hanging on your walls at home, so why not make a bigger effort? It'll be worth it and you'll be so glad you did!

We have established that it's a big group, so there will be a lot of ideas and suggestions. It helps when you have one representative per family unit to speak for their own family.

Discuss what colors will look good - maybe try to work with the season and the weather in your area at the time of your session. Meaning, pastels look nice during spring, bright and bold colors look great during a sunny day; ochre and rich colors will go well with fall colors and cool colors (like blue, green, and purple) will match the landscape during winter. If you're doing holiday photos, add a little bling and sparkle!

Your goal is to be in harmony with nature and with each other.

That said, you DO NOT want to all match. Just decide on the palette and the style. Do you want the images to be formal, or more laid back and casual? Are you going for a fashion statement, or a family style that characterizes you all?

2) Make Sure That You Can Tell Each Group Apart

This one can be a little tricky. Most likely your group will be comprised of several smaller groups, so it’s a great idea to find a way to separate each individual group from the others. This needs to be accomplished while you still maintain the harmony of the whole. One group, for example, could be the grandparents; the next group would be the oldest sibling, with his or her spouse and children, if there are any. And so on...

Ideally, you're wanting to allow the viewer to know that this whole group belongs together, but that there are clearly other smaller groups within. And that's obvious, because every smaller unit may have one particular accent color that they're all wearing; or a certain detail that sets them apart from the rest. For example, their daughters are wearing matching dresses; or they're all wearing boots; or they all have a splash of color in pastel. The options are endless and your creativity will come in handy!

3) Bring Toys for Young Children

We will attempt to get at least one image in which everyone is looking at the camera, but we will also shoot for those more spontaneous moments that make your family unique and special. Every family unit will get their turn, which means that for some short periods of time , I won't be photographing your kids and this is when fun little toys will keep them busy and entertained for a few minutes.

4) Bring Snacks and Water

Generally this type of session will last between 60-90 minutes, so if you get a little hungry, you'll be ready with a bite of your favorite snack. Anything to keep you refreshed and happy!

5) Relax and Have Fun!

You've waited a long time to this moment and you've used a lot of time and energy planning and coordinating everything. Now it's time for you to enjoy your time! Have fun creating all the special memories that you'll be so glad you took the time to get everyone together to make them!

~Anaelisa Basche

Bentonville based Family Photographer

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