Right now I’m in sunny Florida helping the one and only Mags celebrate her 30th b-day.    I wanted to get some focused work done while I was here, but instead I’ve started every day with puppy chow, gone on a 5 mile walk down the beach, and out to eat at least once a day.  To say I’m overindulging is an understatement.  The fun ends tomorrow so today I’m going to get some of that intended work done.

Today’s post is about large family photos.  These pics were taken right around the holidays so it was cold outside.  In the most favorable situation I would do big family pictures outside where the light can be controlled.  My studio is way too small for 20 people so in the winter the challenge becomes all about the where.  I knew I wanted a location with good natural light.  Lighting this many people evenly with speedlights can be tricky, and with kids tricky means I’ll run out of time.  So I settled on Union Station, tons of beautiful filtered window light comes in and makes it a perfect location for pictures.  It was perfect, minus the ridiculous photographers fee of $75.  But, with a family this size the fee was necessary to get the shots.

The trickiest part about large family photos isn’t really the location or the lighting.  It’s really all about getting something creative which was another perk to shooting in Union Station.  Here are a few of the more creative shots I was able to capture.  The family was amazing, and so very easy to work with, which really makes the whole experience more fun for everyone. Lots of laughing during the shoot.

One of the family members actually suggested this picture, and man I’m happy they did.  The ceiling looks amazing!  The challenge was keeping that window to the right out of the frame, and not disturbing the patrons in the restaurant.  I just tell my clients to put a big smile on their faces and look like they know what they’re doing.  And I have to be quick.

Grandma with her grand kids.

Below is a picture of the Kitts.  Jon and I played tennis with Nancy and Steve this summer.  They are such great people, I feel lucky to know them!  And look at their beautiful family!

And of course when shooting a large family you always need to take the safe shot.  Some people actually prefer this more formal looking picture, so I’m always sure to include it.

A few things to keep in mind when you are taking large family photos.

* scope out your locations before your family gets there

* think about lighting and set up, I brought the bench you see to give variety

* be goofy behind the camera, people look better when they are actually laughing,  even if it means they are laughing at you

* start arranging people by putting the most important people or person in the middle then work your way outward by families or couples put the kids in last

* don’t stress, just have fun, most the time the people are already stressing

Thanks to the Kitts family for making this an awesome shoot!