extended family

Family Portraits Don't Have To Be So Serious

I love seeing all these big families together… it makes me so incredibly happy to know that they all cleared their schedules for one morning to have a portrait session. One small part of their day - for a lifetime of memories hanging on their wall.

Plus, I heard that the family I’m featuring below family got lunch out of the deal, too!

When we get together for your family portrait, I want to make sure that a few key things happen. They are pretty simple…

  1. I want to make you and your family look your best. This is why you hire a professional. I will arrange the group to look great and help pose you to flatter you the best.

  2. I want to photograph any and all combinations of family members. I’m here. So are you. So… let’s do this! Want the aunties with all the cousins? Great. Line em up! Want the siblings all together? Super! Quit pulling each others’ hair and smile for the camera (I have actually had to say that to ADULTS!) Do you want individual photos of your kids? Good, I already got them.

  3. I want you to have fun. You’re “supposed” to smile in photos, so why not enjoy the process, too? Why not make that smile as genuine as possible? Surely you didn’t choose me as your Favorite Boring Photographer - let’s have some fun!

Speaking of fun, this family had no shortage of laughs. I wanted to post a Sneak Peek for the Wilde clan and rather than a perfectly finished portrait, I’m sharing this. I think you can see why.

Extended family photo of cousins laughing

Are you ready to take the leap? Gather your family members together, pick a date and call me… consider family photos handled.

Fake Fall Family Portraits

I'll tell you, the weather really can mess with us.

Sometimes it's bad - like rain on your wedding day (thank you, Alanis) or snow in the spring (no thank you).

On the flip side, sometimes it can actually work to our advantage - like when there's NO snow in December. 

I met this lovely family - TWENTY-ONE strong! - in December. There should have been snow on the ground and a sharp windchill in the air. Instead, we had what I'm calling Fake Fall. 


Not only was it warm enough to be outside, this Fake Fall day was warm enough to be outside with NO COATS! In December! Lucky us!

So what if the weather didn't cooperate? Here are three options I offer my clients:

  1. GRIN AND BEAR IT. If it's super-windy, cold and freezing rain, this is clearly NOT an option. But cloudy and cool? No problem! 
  2. GO INSIDE While this one seems simple, it's not always a favorite choice if you've had your heart set on photos outside. I get it, but the change in scenery sometimes works out better than you'd think! Plus, depending on the size of your group, this may be a WAY EASIER choice than finding another date that works for everyone. We can use your home, my studio or another venue with permission.
  3. RESCHEDULE. While I try not to reschedule unless ABSOLUTELY necessary, sometimes it just is. 

Back to this great family.

Their fearless leader, Laura, told me ahead of time that her family can be loud and fun. I know she meant it as a warning, but all I could think is, "well, these must be my people." Yup. We were loud, we had fun and I could DEFINITELY tell they are a close-knit family. The love was absolutely palpable.

(Plus, there were dogs!)

Sometimes you just need to have fun. Sisterly love at its finest...


Thank you Belsky family for a wonderful Saturday afternoon in December and inviting me into your little corner of the world. It was truly a pleasure to get to know you all! xo

Do you have a family reunion or a holiday gathering planned for this summer? I would love to work with your family - large or small - to coordinate family portraits. Let's talk!

Elm Grove Family Portraits | At Home with the Kandulas

I really enjoy going to the homes of my clients for portrait sessions. Not only do I get to steal their decorating ideas (hee hee), it gives me a chance to push myself photographically, challenge my creativity and rev up my imagination.

Shooting in clients' homes is not as easy as setting up in my studio. There, I know what to expect from the surroundings, how much space I have to work with and what the background will look like. It's MY home base.

When I go to a client's home, sometimes I get to preview the location, but sometimes it doesn't work out. So I have to wing it. And think on my feet. 

Luckily, I've been to the Kandula home before. The last time I was there, we created some full-on Christmas portraits as well as some beautiful time-neutral extended family portraits.

Merry Christmas, 2015! (Don't forget your fur baby!)

Merry Christmas, 2015! (Don't forget your fur baby!)

This time, they wanted to do something different -- and maybe not quite as festive. After a brief tour of their (gorgeous!!) home, I set my vision in motion. We settled on two rooms (saving some others for next time, perhaps?). One was a basement bar and the other.... well, let's see if you can figure it out.

Aren't they classy? This family has some exceptionally great taste. And that bar? It's not your average Wisconsin basement bar, that's for sure!

Here are some others from the same session... would you believe we were in a WINE CELLAR? The brick wall was calling to me. 

Oh, and you know how I always say, "Quick before they grow up?" The photos below were from our session in 2015. I never kid around when talking about babies growing up. It happens too fast, and amazingly, right before our eyes.

Do you want some in-home family portraits? Would you rather come to my studio for a cleaner look? Or maybe you want an outdoor setting? I aim to please! My number one goal is to create images that will reflect your style and personality. Let's talk!

Oconomowoc Family Portrait Sneak Peek | Marj + Dick celebrate 50 years

This weekend a lovely couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They were surrounded by family - from near and far. 

Along with the parties and meals and other fun activities, they planned on a large family portrait. That's where I came in. 

As with most extended family sessions, I make sure to capture the big group in as many setups as we feel like. I definitely photograph the grandkids with grandma and grandpa. Each family grouping gets photographed, of course. 

And then I take some time for this.... 


Happy Anniversary, love birds! 

There are many, many more beautiful photos to see at the Big Reveal and I can't wait to share them with you!

Thinking of getting the family together this summer? Include your favorite photographer (cough cough) and capture the memories for your walls and your tables. CONTACT ME today to book your extended family session.