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How to prepare for your extended family session with Kayla Rochelle

As everyone get older and starts growing their own family, getting the whole family together together can become harder and harder. Taking the opportunity to not only get everyone together in one place, but to document it with photos will serve as a reminder to you of how precious your time together is that will last far beyond the hour we spend documenting your session. Following the session you'll receive a gallery that can be shared amongst all members of the family, so everyone can download the photos they love the most meaning these photos will be displayed in all of your homes serving as a constant reminder of how much love your family shares no matter how far apart you all may physically be on any given day.

This family lives all across the globe, but after an hour long family session together they now have photos they can cherish of the times they do get to spend together.


How to select where to have a session:

Charleston boasts lots of gorgeous location options for photos but there are a few things that can help narrow down what will be required to make the perfect location for your family. If you are in town together celebrating a milestone or enjoying a vacation we may want to consider what backdrop will help capture the spirit of your trip the best. You'll always want to keep in mind the different abilities of the various members of your group. If some family members may require less walking or more stable ground an area park can provide us benches and concrete paths as well as give us big sweeping Southern live Oak Trees to photograph under. If you've got little one's who may get bored easily and you're staying at a vacation home on one of our local island's we may want to meet at the beach where we can get your group shots taken right away and then let the kids play freely in the sand and waves while we get all of the adult photographs taken. Luckily there are no bad options so we'll work closely together to find the exact right location to match your family's vibe.


What should everyone wear:

Now that you've gotten everyone to agree to be at the same time and place together, you've got to coordinate getting everyone dressed so that they all look good for the photos. Some would argue this part is a bit tricker, but it doesn't have to be! I always suggest you pick two colors and tell the entire group that they should be coming with those colors in mind. Find two colors that coordinate well together, and consider making one of those colors a neutral which can help make it very simple for everyone to find at least one thing that they already own in that color. To make it even easier, let the second color come based on the location you've selected for your session, and consider something that may work well against the backdrop we'll be photographing at.


This family went with khaki and pastels ( instead of picking just one secondary color) which really helped them pop against the greens in the park!


I've got a few resources that can help with styling:


Here is a blog post that offers lots of ideas on colors that work well together, as well as all of my standard rules for what to and not to wear.


If you or some of your family are local I do have a client closet you are free to 'shop' from. Take a look through my full closet here and see if anything sticks out that will get you a gorgeous dress and a great starting point for the rest of the family to coordinate with.


What kind of photos will we take:


I'll come to your session with a full list of all of the photos I hope to get before we leave. I like to start a session by capturing the entire group as a whole. From there we'll peel off people creating smaller groups, and then go through the process of bringing people in and out of the frame making sure that we capture all of the smaller groups that are important to your family. Not only will we want to capture all of the smaller groups in your family but also the nuclear families as well. Here is what a sample shot list may look like before a session starts:


Whole group

Grandparents with adult kids & grandkids

Grandparents with grandkids

Grandparents with adults kids

Adults siblings together

Adult siblings with Mom

Adult siblings with Dad

Each adult sibling with their nuclear family

Grandma with grandkids

Grandpa with grandkids

all boys

all girls

Grandkids all together solo


This is of course just an example of what a shot list may look like since an exact list is specific to every family, the members of that family and what the dynamics of the group is. Shot lists live in my head and are constantly changing through-out a session but know that while we are together things are flexible and we can take any photos that come to mind of any small groups to celebrate and special relationships that may exist within your family.


This photo with all of his grandparents is sure to be framed and loved by this boy for years!


How to prepare all of the family members:

Snacks and Naps! I'm kidding, but only kind of. You know your family better than me so prepare them as best as you can with whatever you think will make them feel the most comfortable. Let them know with a large group a session typically lasts between 45-60 minutes with lots of breaks between shots as we rotate in and out of small groups and may wander around our location looking for the perfect backdrop for your group. I like to keep sessions relaxed and easy and whether you come as a group of 3 or 13 that doesn't change. Be sure and let your family know my expectation for them is simply that they'll have fun, laugh when I ask for a big fake belly laugh and just enjoy being with their family for a bit. Knowing how happy having these photos will make everyone in the end can usually keep the grumpiest of family members engaged during our session and for the others, pack the extra fruit snacks!


If there are any questions I haven't answered here just send me an email! I'm excited to meet your whole big family and can't wait to give you photos that you will all cherish for years to come!

Mom & Dad and all of their girls


Kayla Rochelle photographs primarily in Charleston, SC soaking up the beach at sunset and daytime in the parks as much as possible.


Head to the website now for all details about booking.


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