Extended Family Portrait Session - Prep Guide

An extended family portrait session is a wonderful way to document special moments with the grandparents, adult siblings and their children.

Here are some tips and tricks I've found to be super helpful in preparing for your session so it can be as fun, stress free and enjoyable as possible.

What to expect

Extended family sessions usually last around 60 minutes, which is plenty of time to capture images of you all together as well as individual family groups.  I always allow extra time should we over run so your session will never feel rushed!

The aim of an extended family portrait session is to deliver a series of beautiful posed portraits of you all as well as some more relaxed candid shots of those in-between moments!  With a wide variety of family members to photograph, there are many potential shoot combinations. First and foremost I will capture you all together within one group, and then move on to other combinations that you would like.  I always ask you to let me know ahead of time what specific combinations you would like to help things run more smoothly.  

What to wear to your Extended Family Portrait Session

I understand it can be difficult to get everyone to coordinate colours, especially when there is such a large group of you!  I’ve put together a few tips below which I would recommend sharing with your family beforehand to help ensure you have a cohesive look.


  • First and foremost, wear what you are comfortable in and what makes you feel good. You need to like how you look in your pictures as you’ll be keeping them forever! You also want your clothes to reflect your own personality and style.

  • Try and agree a style between you all. For example, if you choose casual, everyone should wear casual. Sames applies for semi casual and formal. 

  • You do not have to match! The days of wearing matching denim jeans and white shirts are long gone, unless of course that’s the look you’re going for!  A mixture of textures and colours that go together rather than match make for great photos. Don’t be afraid to wear vibrant colours, textures and patterns like florals and plaid.  Cottons, denim, textures knits all work too. Try and avoid pinstripes and logos! 

  • Don't forget your shoes! Shoes can often be overlooked in photos but there’s a good chance they’ll be in the shot so worth thinking about.

  • Try and avoid neon colours or just one person in a very bright colour - this can be distracting.

When and Where

Due to the size of the family group, extended family portrait sessions are generally held outside.  There are two main things I take into account when deciding when to hold your session - the first is when your children are likely to be happiest - happy children trump soft light any day. The second is when the light is going to be at its best, which is usually as close to sunrise or sunset as possible. This means that I get to work with that gorgeous soft light.  Taking pictures in the middle of day is of course possible but its worth bearing in mind the light and feel to the images is somewhat different. I will always try and avoid the midday sun as this can create very harsh shadows on faces and is not very flattering! If the weather forecast is showing cloudy, then it really doesn't matter what time of day we shoot.

In terms of location, I have plenty in mind and will agree with you a location during booking. If you've got a spot in mind, feel free to share! I've got a list of my favorite locations that I can suggest based on the time and weather, but I'm always open to exploring new places, especially if they hold special meaning for your family.

What happens if it's raining or the weather turns bad?

I’ll always get in touch with you a few days before your session to finalise details and at the same time i’ll be keeping a close eye on the weather forecast.  If the weather is looking miserable then I’m always happy to rearrange the session. I appreciate with large family groups this isn’t always possible, so where possible I will look to reschedule for later or earlier in the day.

What happens if one of us gets poorly?

If a family member becomes poorly, i’m happy to reschedule the session, however would ask you to let me know as soon as possible.

After the session

After your session I will send you a proofing gallery via email link where you will be able to go through and choose your favourite images depending on the package you have chosen. You are also welcome to purchase more images if you wish. Please allow around 2 weeks for your gallery to be delivered, although I will always try and deliver your gallery as soon as possible.

Final Tips!

  • Prepare your outfits the day before and having everything ready to go so you're not stressed or rushed on the day of the session!
  • If you have little children, be sure to bring some handy snacks and treats which can also be useful for a bit of bribery.
  • Have fun! Above everything else I want your session to be as enjoyable and stress free as possible!