A multi-generation session with a warm, big-hearted Dunedin family
Families can't always be together. So the time we share with our extended family is precious and special.
Sometimes, however, we take that time together for granted. A lesson that maybe many of us learned during the Covid-19 lockdown when we suddenly could no longer visit our grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles!
Special occasions are a perfect opportunity to capture multi-generation family portraits
Usually it is special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries or holidays that bring family together. And times and celebrations like these are the perfect opportunity to document these memories with professional, quality family portraits.
Whenever all of my own extended family is together I always have to remind myself to treasure this moment, because you never know when - or even if - it will happen again.
Circumstances change, family move to a different city or country, older generations may not be here forever. None of us can know what is around the corner.
The Nafatali family certainly never expected that one of them - at just 21 years - would be told they had cancer.
Times like these can become defining moments for a family and this Dunedin family decided to take the opportunity, before treatment started, to have a multi generational family photoshoot.
Now they have these pictures forever. And one day they will be priceless.
At the end of their shoot each family chose the pictures that were most meaningful to them to have printed and framed to hang in their homes. I’m sure that when they look at them every day they will be so happy they didn’t let this moment in time, this brief window of opportunity, slip past.
I love every family I photograph
I’m honestly not exaggerating when I say I love all of the families I photograph. There’s a process you go through, as the photographer, in which you have to let people warm up a little and then very quickly develop a connection with them.
I often feel as though I have become a part of the family for just the hour or two we spend together.
The few hours I spent in the warmth and laughter of the Nafatali family stayed with me for days. I like to think I captured a little of the spirit of such a fun, big-hearted family in their photographs.
I always start my extended family sessions with the big group photo. This is often one of the most important pictures and it’s important to get it while everybody's fresh.
Then it’s on to the various groupings - the love and connection with grandma, the fun with all the siblings and their partners. There’s always a long list of group shots with extended family shoots!
Finally it’s always great to take the opportunity to shoot some pictures of each individual family. I love to incorporate a few natural, unposed-style shots into these images if I can.
As you can see I always like to squeeze every last picture I can get out of my families during their time with me!
Tips for natural, timeless extended family photos
In my experience of photographing multi-generational family groups, I have learned a few strategies that can go a long way to ensure the best experience possible for everyone and to create images you will love.
I urge you to think about and discuss what you would like to do with the images at the end of the shoot? Some families only want a great photo of the whole group for a large, framed print on the wall. Others want pictures of each family and individual portraits of family members, such as grandchildren, to create a collection of wall art that tells a story of your family.
Because this is often a rare get-together of so many of you I suggest photographing lots of combinations and capturing relationships between your family members.
It’s a great idea to appoint one member of the extended family to be the organiser and contact for the photography shoot. This helps me to get a clear brief of how we will run the photoshoot to maximise our time.
I strongly recommend that family have a good discussion and agree on the style of the extended family photo session. Some factors to consider here are the shoot location and what everybody is going to wear.
Consider if there is a location that resonates with your family. I will have suggestions for you for locations that work well and your own family home and garden may be suitable too.
If you've been thinking about an extended or multi generation photoshoot for your family contact me here to find out more.