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        Finding a family photographer sucks. 100%. I’ve done it for both sides of my families three different times in 3 different states. Photographers all have different ways of handling inquiries and response times. I’d send off half a dozen emails in one evening, wait days to get responses from half of them and usually they were already booked. OR I couldn’t remember whose name went with what work I liked.

        Add to that the stress of non committal family members – are they going to even BE there for the session?

        Then what to wear for over 20 people?!

        The hardest part is a single date where everyone will be there. My fam had organized 3 different beach houses on Fripp Island a year out. Date secured!

        For what to wear, we went with pinks & blues for several reasons:

        • Pink & blues are complimentary to the beach, which is a nice neutral location
        • Pinks & blues are easy colors for most complexions
        • Just about everyone has something in their closest already in any shade of pink or blue. Point proven: our giant group photo was a last minute add on and everyone already had with them clothes that just went together
        • Adding in any neutral is easy – khaki, white, navy, denim, and gray

        The Value of Extended Family Photos

        Extended family photo sessions are really several family sessions in one. In addition to the large group, all the cousins, and adult children shots we also get:

        • Each nuclear family solo
        • Each couple solo
        • Each set of siblings
        • Grandparents alone

        And that’s for every nuclear family in group, which means no need for fall family sessions and your Christmas card photo is complete!

        Tips for Extended Family Photos

        Nothing is easy about extended family photos, but its always worth it and I’m here to support you every step! But the hardest part is done: Everyone will be in one place at the same time!

        Date: I always start as early in the week as possible – before anyone gets a sunburn, and several options for weather back ups.

        What to wear: Use Style & Select for a custom curated idea list (All my clients get free access!)

        • When in doubt, pinks and blues are easy and look good on everyone at the beach

        Photographer: There’s so many to choose from! Tick of these basic requirements:

        • Has experience with familiesa wedding photog will not work here bc bridal parties are not the same as a gaggle of kids.
        • Is FAST This can make or break your experience! A slow photog will make for a painful session with kids begging to be done. I’ve experienced it myself!
        • Is flexible in your travel dates. You have a short window and weather is real. Make sure there’s a back up plan if the first date doesn’t work.
        • Will come to you. Make it easy on yourself and make sure you don’t have to transport your crowd further than absolutely necessary. Less stress!

        These images were taken by Alexis Ralston Photography in South Carolina.

        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia

        The big kahuna! My Granny, aunts, uncles, cousins, brother, SIL, nieces, nephews, first cousin once removed. ha! Sad part, this isn’t our whole crew! Missing about a third of the clan.

        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia

        My family, my brother’s family, our Mama & our Granny.

        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia

        My family

        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia

        My boys

        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia

        My brother’s family

        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia

        Their two kids.

        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia

        My brother’s fam plus our mom and grandmother (the kid’s grandmother and great grandmother!)

        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia
        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia
        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia

        I always get mom & dad alone! This is important, y’all!

        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia
        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia

        The candids. Always some of my favorite.

        Extended family Phographer on the beach, virginia beach vacation family photos, large group photographer virginia
        Alison is the chaos-commanding family photographer in Virginia Beach, VA thriving in the loud & messy offering in home lifestyle, outdoor, and extended family sessions.

        Owner & Photographer of Alison Bell, Photographer, she is also the circus ring leader of four boys, half-homeschooling USMC family.

        Alison offers full-contact family photo sessions with wardrobe styling, sessions that feel like a party and custom print shopping. Even Dad has a good time!

        She's on a mission to get your images in your hand, rather than gathering digital dust! Get an album and print dozens of shots in one place!

        If you can't remember last time your family did photos, its time to chat asap!

        Clients rave about how easy and enjoyable their session is and how their kids wanting to do it again!

        Alison Bell, Photographer serves VA Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cape Charles, and Hampton in Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

        Find her on Insta @alisonbellphotog!

        Hi! I’m Alison!

        I find joy in chaos. The louder, the better!

        I’m a chaos-commanding family photographer thriving in the loud & messy.

        I love freezing time, photographing families in their own element at home, or on the beach!

        I’m  the ring leader of four boy circus, half-homeschooling USMC family, currently in Virginia Beach, VA!

        Follow the antics on IG @alisonbellphotog!