Coming from a blended family myself, I can appreciate that photographing blended families may be stressful or intimidating. Having a few tactics to help you navigate family dynamics and ensure everyone has fun is important for creating lasting client relationships.
1. Start with a group shot
No matter the family, I always start with a more posed group shot. Especially when you are dealing with younger kids (or teens!), getting that shot off the hop saves you from a potential melt down getting your way later on.
2. Read the room
Family dynamics are tough. Everyone is entitled to their own feelings around the experience, and getting family photos might not be their first activity of choice. Respecting their feelings and boundaries is important for creating trust and connection. Ultimately if someone doesn’t want to be there smiling you aren’t going to change their mind, but by showing respect for their feelings you might make an otherwise uncomfortable situation an enjoyable memory.
3. When photographing blended families, focus on the kids individually
Grouping kids is often requested (usually for the sake of sharing images with grandparents) but it can also make kids feel excluded. Spending time chatting with each child individually makes them feel special and builds a rapport that can extend through the whole session. It can also provide you with talking points and bonding opportunities later on in the session.
4. Gather information ahead of time
Having an intake questionnaire or email conversation before any session is important for you to gather information about the family structure and any potential roadblocks. Prior to photographing a blended family you may want to know what sorts of groupings they want, if anyone is hesitant to be there, or what the kids are interested in. The more you know, the more you can prepare yourself and show compassion.
5. Most importantly, have fun
A blended family session is a family session. The most important part of my family session experience is creating a fun memory for the entire family. I treat every family with equal respect and kindness, in the hopes of creating a relaxing and enjoyable encounter that will leave them feeling good. I bring compassion and understanding to all of my sessions so we can create a comfortable environment to have fun in!
Photographing blended family sessions is always special to me, being from one myself. Bringing two families together is tough for a lot of reasons, but is can also be amazing. If you’d like to book a family session with me, get in touch today!