PEPS Group Cougar Mountain - Seattle Family Photography - the Happy Film Company

Attending PEPs groups is one of the Happy Film Company's favorite parts of being a part the Seattle community. These groups (which you can learn more about here) are a lifeline for new parents and a wonderful way to make a community when treading through new waters. I.E - parenthood.

We swoop in to get the behind the scenes look at what adorable families look like while just starting out! These groups have anywhere from five to eleven babies, which if you know babies, you know can mean a lot of crying, and wiggling - and often not at the same time. A quick tip for getting group baby shots? Roll with it, and make lots of noise and silly faces! The babies will want to look at the direction of their parents so clumping all the parents together behind the camera allows the babies to all look in one general direction. The next? Lots of squeaks, songs, and silly faces of course! Babies around this age are majorly stimulated by sounds. Any silly songs you muster will sure to get at least a smile or two. The Happy Film Company gals are silly song experts. The last and maybe most important? - If the baby or babies just aren't having it, there's no problem in letting them sit back and do their thing. Grumpy baby faces are adorable too.

Photographer: Chamonix
Location: Private Residence

Check out our last post: PEPS Group - North Greenlake

WHAT IS PEPS?
"Since 1983, the Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS), a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization has helped parents connect and grow as they begin their journey into parenthood. PEPS parent support programs educate, inform and create community. We've become a vital resource for new mothers and new fathers in the Puget Sound region, with parent groups serving thousands of families annually.

Each session of 12 weekly PEPS meetings brings parents together to share the joys and challenges of parenthood, and develop confidence in their own abilities. PEPS stands apart from other new moms groups or dad support groups by providing ongoing neighborhood-based resources and peer education, facilitated by trained volunteers. During one of the most vulnerable periods for new parents, PEPS provides immediate and accessible support, creating "extended families" that often last a lifetime."

PEPS North Greenlake - Seattle Family Photography - the Happy Film Company

We love, love, LOVE our PEPS Groups! They are some of the best families around and we are honored to be a part of this important organization. The Happy Film Company loves to get involved with our community and this is just one of the ways we make it happen. Who doesn't love being in the same room with 6 adorably squishy babies?! It was a fun morning for all - I know we had a blast. 

Thank you, North Greenlake Group for letting The Happy Film Company take a peak at what goes on behind the scenes! We hope to see you all again real soon. 

WHAT IS PEPS?
"Since 1983, the Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS), a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization has helped parents connect and grow as they begin their journey into parenthood. PEPS parent support programs educate, inform and create community. We've become a vital resource for new mothers and new fathers in the Puget Sound region, with parent groups serving thousands of families annually.

Each session of 12 weekly PEPS meetings brings parents together to share the joys and challenges of parenthood, and develop confidence in their own abilities. PEPS stands apart from other new moms groups or dad support groups by providing ongoing neighborhood-based resources and peer education, facilitated by trained volunteers. During one of the most vulnerable periods for new parents, PEPS provides immediate and accessible support, creating "extended families" that often last a lifetime."

Photographer: Olga
Location: Private Residence

How to Avoid Chaos When Photographing Large Groups of People - Seattle Family Photos

Staring through your camera at a big group of people with multiple families can be intimidating as a photographer. Whether you're a professional shooter or you're taking a casual photo at a family reunion, a wedding or on vacation, photographing large group portraits can be a madhouse! In this blog post, I outline how to photograph large groups of people and manage multiple families during one photo shoot. 

A LITTLE CASE STUDY - SEATTLE PEPS GROUP PHOTO SHOOT
When I show up to a Seattle PEPS group photo shoot like this for their Seattle family photography session, the energy is pretty high with lots of baby bags, diapers to change, someone is running late, and someone else is dealing with a broken button. I see it as my job to reduce the chaos and make sure everyone knows exactly what is going on. We're working with limited amount of time so right at the beginning I give the families a quick outline of our agenda and what they can expect after the shoot. {Learn more about PEPS}.

This particular PEPS group was celebrating their one year anniversary with a Seattle group photo shoot at Matthews Beach followed by a group (baby-free) dinner that evening. After meeting them in the parking lot and gathering their payments via check (they all split the cost of the shoot), I gave them one choice to make: do you want pictures in the trees or beside the water? They requested water.

Matthews Beach group family photos - the Happy Film Company - Seattle PEPS Group Photo Shoot

WHAT I SAY TO THE GROUP BEFORE TAKING THEIR PICTURES
We walked down to the water, I had them put their baby gear behind me and then gather into a group in front of the camera. With all of them looking at me, I gave them the low-down.... 
"Ok guys, we're going to start with pictures of the big groups and then we'll break down into smaller groups so everyone can get pictures of their individual families. When I'm photographing each family, the rest of you can just hang out and chat and have a great time. If at any point you have special requests, just let me know. We'll work quickly to keep the babies happy. After the shoot, I will send an email to all of you that has instructions on how to view your pictures in your online gallery. You will be able to download your images from your gallery straight to your computer. If you have any questions you can always shoot me an email. Cool?...Sweet! Let's get started! Everybody squeeze in tight...closer...even closer...there we go! SNAP SNAP SNAP!"

When we photograph big groups like this, our strategy is simple.... start with everybody and work our way down to the smallest groups.

MY SHOT LIST
For the PEPS groups we usually break down our shot list like this:

a) everyone
b) moms &  babies
c) dads & babies
d) just moms
e) just dads
f) just babies
g) each individual family
f) random candids & special requests

group of dads with babies on shoulders at matthews beach seattle - the Happy Film Company - Seattle PEPS Group Photo Shoot

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WHEN PHOTOGRAPHING GROUPS
The key to photographing big groups like this, is to make sure everyone knows what they're supposed to be doing. When I'm working with one family, I make sure all the other families know what they're supposed to be doing, even if that's just hanging out. It's amazing how telling someone that their job is to "hang out" really helps them relax. People like having permission to sit back and not do anything. hehe

WHY WE PHOTOGRAPH BIG GROUPS
The benefit of these big PEPS Group photo shoots for us as a photography business is that we get to quickly meet a handful of new potential clients. It's a chance for these families to meet us and see how we work and hopefully they're love their short and sweet time in front of the camera and decide to come back to us for more. Many of our regular clients met us at PEPS Groups photo shoots. Sweetness! 

Hope these tips are helpful for you the next time you're staring through a camera at a big group of families. The same principles apply when shooting groups at weddings or on family vacations. Manage the masses! Godspeed my photography buddies!

xoxo
Chamonix

Thank you so much to the Hamon family & your adorable PEPS Group for booking your shoot with the Happy Film Company! I had a great time with you guys at the beach last weekend. Hope to see you all in front of the camera again soon! :D

Check out our last blog post: PEPS - NEW PARENT GROUPS IN SEATTLE - FAMILY PHOTOS