Being a grandmother is an honored stage in life filled with wonderful memories of spoiling your grandkids and supporting your now grown kids. When grandmother’s are at a family session, whether it be a newborn session or an extended family session, it’s a priority to make the perfect framable picture. Because no one celebrates their family more than a matriarch.
So what do grandmothers really, really want? Pictures. Pictures of you and your kids. Photos of their grandchildren. And a big family portrait of all those she loves together.
Since the pandemic, these extended family photoshoots have become even more popular. Celebrating who we love and being together is the perfect reason to hire a professional photographer. Here are a few tips on how to plan for your large family photos!
How do I Schedule a Large Family Photo Session?
Are you getting together for a milestone birthday? Reach out and let me know the details. Starting a little early and meeting at the party location for 30-minutes of photography will lend itself to wonderful photos. Everyone will be dressed up and ready to have a good time.
Do you need to bribe a few members of your family? Reach out and schedule a photo session in one of New Orleans beautiful parks. If you can convince your family to get up and ready, early morning sessions are a fun way to start your weekend. Several families have met me in City Park for an early morning session and finished by walking over to Ralph’s on the Park for brunch. Or you can end with Beignets at Cafe du Monde in the park. The promise of a great meal can get anyone through a photoshoot.
Is your family visiting for the holidays? Reach out and schedule a photoshoot during Thanksgiving or Christmas break. The holiday vacation break is often one of my busiest time of years for extended family portraits in New Orleans. This is a wonderful outing for your family. The kids are home on college break, the cousins are in town or the grandparents are visiting. Let’s take advantage of everyone being together and take pictures!
Where is a Good Location for Extended Family Photos?
When you are getting a larger group together for photos finding the perfect location in New Orleans is important. Let’s start with the many green spaces that will have room for a group of 10 or more. City Park under the giant Oaks is always a great place to start. The Owen/Butler Memorial Fountain offers a place to sit for smaller group portraits and the bridges and lagoon create beautiful backdrops. The front garden at Audubon Park similarly offer a large area for running around and the curved benches around Gumbel Fountain allow lots of places for sitting and hugging with grandkids.
For a more urban setting, the Garden District around Commander’s Palace can be great for a smaller group of 12 or less. The blue awning, large homes, Magnolia trees and the fern-growing wall around Lafeyette Cemetery #1 can be lovely in pictures. Or if you like a little graffiti, the Bywater district near NOCCA and the Marigny Opera House can be a fun, funky location.
Grandma’s home might be the best location for everyone to gather. Or a family member’s back yard. The memories of a beloved home can be the perfect location for family photos. Don’t worry about having the perfect garden or interior. A beautiful front porch or stoop can lend itself nicely to photos.
When choosing a location for your large family photos, take in mind the needs of your oldest and youngest family members. Is there a baby that needs to be held or an elder who has trouble walking and needs to sit? We will take all of this into consideration when choosing the right location for your family.
Check out my New Orleans Best Locations for Family Photos Guide Here.
But What Do We Wear?
This is the most asked question for a group of 10 or more. How do you coordinate outfits to please everyone and not look too matching. It’s best to start with either lighter or darker colors and the season you are taking pictures.
For Fall, darker colors can be easy to find and flattering for both men and women. Dark grays, browns, blues, eggplant or purples and mustard/yellows look great together. Darker bottoms will blend together nicely whether it’s jeans, pants or skirts. Women always look great in flowing dresses for movement and don’t be afraid to add a little pattern in your chosen color template.
For Spring, lighter colors match the flowers and greenery of the season. Light blues, blushes, creams, tans and grays are flattering for all skin types. If going lighter on the bottom isn’t received well, focus on the top half with lighter fabrics and lighter colors. Spring dresses that flow can again be very flattering for women. Kids look fabulous in spring outfits and can stay in your color template for all.
Details matter. Make sure all the boys and men have ironed shirts and well-groomed facial hair on picture day. You want to plan haircuts for kids about 1-2 weeks before pictures and don’t be afraid to accessorize with a beautiful necklace or scarf. In the fall, adding those layers can be a wonderful way to add texture and depth to your outfit.
Most importantly, feel your best. We are going to make a portrait of your family that will be a family heirloom for years to come. Take the time to look and feel your best on picture day. And then when you arrive your hard work is over, I’ll take over and make you look amazing.
How Do We Stand?
This is where I will take over and make you all look amazing. You’ve done the hard work, got everyone there. Now just enjoy your family and the pictures will shine. For larger families I usually start with the big group photo. Standing in a line nearest your immediate family members with grandmother and grandfather in the middle is a good place to start. After all, you are reason this family exists. I’ll help you figure out what to do with your hands, how to get a little bit closer, and make sure no one is hiding. From there, I will ask you to look at each other and laugh, smile and hug. Sometimes the awkwardness lends itself to humor and the kids love getting attention from a big family!
It’s Not Always About the Big Group
Since you are all together in one place, it’s important to take pictures of each smaller group. Sometimes that is grandparents with the grandkids. Or all the cousins together. For some family members, this might be their first foray into professional photography. Let’s take advantage of being all dresses for pictures and get a great portrait of mom, dad and the kids. I also try and take a picture of each of the kids by themselves. It’s a great addition to your gallery wall at home to have a beautiful portrait of each of your grandkids.
How to Enjoy Your Photos
About 2 weeks after your photo session your private online gallery of your final images will be ready to view for ordering. We will talk about your goals for your home, how you like to display photos and what family gifts you are looking for. That one big portrait is a great place to start for you home. I’m here to help in making your decisions!