Most of the family portraits we take involve nuclear, or immediate families – moms, dads, kids, and (if we’re lucky!) pets. However, every now and then we get the opportunity to photograph large, extended families. It’s an exciting event that presents its own unique challenges and rewards.

Having an image which includes all members of a family – aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc. – is a unique and special memento. It is a chance to highlight both the uniqueness of your family and the commonalities which bind you all together. Oftentimes, the experience of the session itself is a great bonding opportunity for the whole family. With so many people involved, you are sure to come out of your session with plenty of laughs and memories.

However, as exciting as large-group portraits are, they do present their own unique set of challenges for both the family and the photographer. On your end, you have to sort out the logistics of actually getting the whole family together. Between distance, work, school, and travel plans, getting every member of your family in one place at one time can be quite the task. And once you know who will be able to attend the session, you still have the challenge of figuring out what exactly everyone is going to wear!

On our end, there are challenges that come along with managing and organizing such a large group. We must think about the location and whether or not it will accommodate many people comfortably. We have to consider the positioning of the group so that we can maintain balance in your images while ensuring that every member of your family can be seen clearly. And finally, we must find unique ways to work with a group that includes such a large and diverse spread of individuals.

Thankfully, through years of experience, we have found specific ways that we can help ensure that your large family session runs smoothly. Since having all of your family together for a portrait is such a rare and unique opportunity, we want to ensure that you, as well as those you love, enjoy every minute of the experience.

During our consultation, we will walk you through exactly how the session will progress. Once a lot of those unknowns are out of the way, you can actually feel excited for the big day.  When it comes to your family’s wardrobe, we have the experience, along with guides and examples, to help you decide exactly how to tie your family’s outfits together for the portrait.

Furthermore, we love Colorado and have worked throughout the plains, mountains, and front range extensively. Because of this, we can help you find the perfect location that will comfortably accommodate your large group and provide a beautiful environment for your images.

A unique challenge of extended-family photography is that, oftentimes, we are simultaneously working with people that, though all related, can be very different from one another. Throughout the years, we’ve learned how to make every type of person you may have in your family feel unique. We pride ourselves on being able to work with the 2-year-old and the 90-year-old in the space of five minutes.

Finally, since we have photographed so many families, we know exactly how to make the process run smoothly. We can transition your entire group from one position or pose to the next seamlessly. When your session runs smoothly, your family is less stressed, and everyone enjoys the experience.

The one thing we can’t help with is getting all of your family members’ schedules together so that they can all attend the session. That’s why we always say that the holiday season is the best time to capture your family portraits. If there is one time during the year where your family is likely to convene in a single location, it is between Thanksgiving and New Years. However, sessions during the holiday season tend to fill up quickly, so we recommend booking in advance!


Do you have any images of your entire family together? What makes it such a special keepsake? Let us know in the comments!