With the potential for familial relations to be sensitive, you may feel that photographing blended will be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be tricky to navigate the waters of family dynamics, particularly if there’s tension between the children and a step-parent, but if you add the following steps to your arsenal, you can create a fun family session (emphasis on the family).
Capture a full family shot
A great way to start the session, before getting into different combination of the family, is to capture a full family shot. Kids tend to open up easier when they see that their biological parent is comfortable with you. Following the full-family shot, start asking questions that will get fun reactions like “who’s the most ticklish” or “who has the smelliest feet”. When they all start laughing (and probably pointing at the same family member), start snapping away. That’ll loosen the tension while creating natural smiles and laughter.
Treat it like any other family session
Photograph the blended family as you would any other family that you capture. If the kids are more comfortable sitting by their biological parent, go with it. If you focus more on the ‘blended’ aspect than the ‘family’ aspect, you may cause more division than unity.
Don’t force any poses on the children if they’re not comfortable
If the family recently became one, the children may still be adjusting and may not be fully comfortable with their step-family just yet. Make sure to take mental notes of their non-verbal behavior and adjust your shots accordingly. You may want to start with all the new brothers and sisters taking some images together to relax the mood, followed by mom with all the kids and dad with all the kids. Comfort is key and family is about inclusivity, so make sure to keep an eye out for uncomfortable body language.
Ultimately, you’ll capture the best images when the family is interacting with each other and they are feeling comfortable. Showing everyone in their element will always create natural looking portraits that they will cherish for years to come.