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Photographing Family Gatherings

It’s Photo Tip Tuesday! I missed last week, but it’s still heavy on my mind that there is a desire for more photography posts out there–I’ve made a list of things to share coming up!!!  Today, I’m sharing my article, How to Photograph Family Gatherings, that is over at the New York Institute of Photography.

A lot of us are getting together for Thanksgiving or Christmas with friends and family, and will bring the camera. I’m sharing tips on how to go beyond the normal shots, and telling a story with photographs at get togethers. So come on over and read the full article!

Fun Ideas for Photographing Family Gatherings

More articles on New York Institute of Photography such as How to Take Great Backlit Pictures and Creative Self Portraits

More Photo Tip Ideas

Extended Family Pictures~My fam!

Over Thanksgiving holiday, my parents, 3 brothers, and our families all met up at a beach house near Port Aransas, Texas. It’s so fun to all be together, and the weather was so lovely! Probably 70-80 degrees, so our kids got to play in the water and enjoy it, too. I’m the designated family picture taker, so I suggested the color scheme of red, yellow, and blue, and it turned out great! I brought my tripod, set it up, and for the first shot above, asked a kind lady who was reading a book to come push the button about 50 times. I still had to do 4 head swaps for the image above.  If you want ideas on how to work an dressing for an extended family photo shoot, I did a post on that a while ago, HERE.

For the shot with the trucks below, I took a bunch without my hubby and me, then left the tripod in the same spot (so it would be easier to match up in photoshop later) and then someone took a few with my hubby and I hugging to the side. I actually did a quick match up here, and am going to have to re do it!  My brothers had trucks to match our colors, so I thought it would be fun to have them in a shot (funny enough, my mom has a yellow car, but it was 4 hours away).

Below, we were trying to mimmick a shot of the 4 of us at my brother’s wedding (them holding me) and I told them to laugh–they went for the exuberant laughter….which made me laugh for real.

All of these images were taken with my 35mm lens or my 85mm lens. 35mm for big family shot and 85mm for small family shots. LOVE them both!
I found the 18 inch beach balls HERE and the 12 inch beach balls HERE.

family reunion clothing ideas

Tis the season for family reunions, and when there are reunions, there are group pictures.  Am I right? I just had a cute gal email me the other day about being frazzled in planning outfits for a big group coming together for her grandmothers 92nd birthday. She said her grandma has such snazzy great style and she didn’t know where to begin. I said to have grandma pick her favorite outfit (maybe something new?) and then pick the colors from that and have everyone else plan around that.

In most cases, it’s just siblings getting together with all of their kids plus grandparents. Not only do I have to plan my own family outfits each year, but by default I’m in charge of planning for my siblings/my mom’s family portrait.

  If you don’t take a group picture when all together, then shame on you! Just kidding, but I am a big fan of that idea. Believe it or not, I LOVE planning outfits for family portraits, but having a group of 10 or more does get a bit complicated…but it doesn’t have to! I will give you my special formula for seamless group photos. First, start with a color palette. I say to pick 3 colors, then have a neutral for a freebie. In our case, we used neutrals, so had white as our freebie. Neutrals can be denim, khaki, gray, white, or black…but just pick one of those. Here is our color palette we came up with:

For more color inspiration, I’ve recently seen on Pinterest designers grab color palette’s from home design and nature:


Check out more at Design Seeds for some major eye candy.

Once you have selected your palette, each family has to coordinate their outfits first with themselves. Here is my family below. I used our selected colors and found something for each person that would go well with the others. It’s a bit of a puzzle, I tell ya. Even looking at this now, I’m not a fan that my husband and older son are wearing something identical, but with my hubby holding the baby (and yes I think of that when planning outfits), it isn’t as noticeable, and I knew they wouldn’t stand together in the big group shot.

Then my older brother worried just about his little family. I love how my sis in law threw in a scarf for her teal pop! Teal is a little harder to find for boys, but it

isn’t necessary here.

Then my younger brother and his fam… Love that my sis in law threw the teal in with a skirt to not just give the pop of color to the top half of the group. I believe my nephew has a onesie turned around backwards (I’ve even done inside out). For pictures like this, you won’t see the back.

Then my youngest bro and his wife did great, hers is a dress….

I did have to oversee my parents though. My dad came out with a teal shirt along with my moms teal shirt and I said…”Um, no no no….wear the gray.” He had both shirts ready, and we were at their home, so it worked.  Having a handful of options does help when all coming together.

Then we got all together for the group shot, and check it out! The main thing I worked with is separating myself, my mom, and my sis in law that had dominant teal on top. (I had just run in the picture–not my favorite photo sessions when I have to set up and run and corral the group that is my family).

I LOVE the way it turned out! Do you??? Just for funnies, here is our family silly shot. Always gotta have the silly shot.

So if you are planning a family reunion this summer, plan to get a group shot, and apply these guidelines and I know it will be great! Let me know how it turns out, too!

{originally posted at The Idea Room}