617.501.4008 cara@carasoulia.com
The Most Important Photo You’ll Ever Frame

The Most Important Photo You’ll Ever Frame

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Because I, too, have three children (the youngest still just four years old), I find that I have a lot in common with many of my clients. While we have different careers or live in different areas of Boston, we’re also somewhere within a 15 year age range of just starting to build a family and sending one (or more) off to college.

One thing we all agree on: Time flies. Fast.

One characteristic that differs between many, however, is the location of extended family. Many of my clients do not have grandparents and cousins down the street or within a quick drive. And many families make a commitment every year to get together for a holiday, celebration or vacation, which creates connections between individuals of all ages.

For these moments, I encourage you to consider an extended family photo session.

Boston Extended Family Photographer

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Just over a year ago I had the pleasure of photographing an extended family at the Arnold Arboretum. The mother and her husband had both recently lost their fathers and they realized how important it was to get some photos with their children and their grandmothers.

The images of that session are lovely, of course, but they’re more than just pretty pictures. Images of your extended family provide your children with context of their family beyond themselves. In this age of fast-and-furious iPhone snaps that rarely get printed, images from a family session become precious visible and tangible items that help tell a story of many generations.

Consider these two images below. No, they are not cliche posed images of a grandchild with grandparents (or, dad and grandad). They are moments between family members who love each other. An extended family session can be more than simple posed photos. Let it be a chance to capture your relationships. Someday your children will look at these images and literally feel the love in them.

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Images from an extended family session are a gift, really.

Whether your children’s grandparents and extended family live close by or not, everyone’s lives can be busy. Taking an hour to photograph your children with their family is a gift they didn’t even realize they wanted.

And that’s my point. While a traditional family photo session consists of parents with a child or siblings, the resulting images are a treasure for the parents, true?

Consider extended family photos a gift for your children. The reality is that the family in those photos may not be as consistently present as parents. The cousins might not be at every birthday or holiday. In thirty years when your child starts to reflect on life, finding images of early childhood – complete with faces of many family members – will be a treasure.

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I love extended family sessions because it’s fantastic and fun to see the energy that other family members bring to each other. Capturing joy and relationships between family members of all ages is an opportunity not to miss, but it does require advance planning.

Preparation is Key

I always schedule a phone consultation so I can be sure to understand the ultimate goal of the session and any family dynamics. A family member can be aging and unsteady, or ill, or a child is “a runner”. Keeping a large group organized – but relaxed and happy – during an extended session is my priority.

I also ask families for a list of “must have” images ahead of time so I can plan accordingly. It’s good to know it’s important for a family to have a picture of Dad and Grandchild #3, because he is his namesake.

I scout the location ahead of time so I understand the light at the time of day. It’s also important that I make sure there is somewhere to sit so we can create images that bring each person close vs. all standing in one line. (I have been known to bring my own chairs to ensure everyone is comfortable!).

On the day of the session, we have some fun and we do some work. Yes, I will make sure to take many full family photos, but I’m also aiming to capture a lot of in-between moments of joy.

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And of course, I won’t forget the cousins…

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Or some images of just your parents. You’ll be glad I did.


Cara Soulia is a Boston Extended Family Photographer who loves capturing the creative, sweet and fun side of every family.  Get in touch to find out about scheduling a Boston Extended Family Session in 2020.

Extended Family Session – Needham Family Photography

Extended Family Session – Needham Family Photography

Arnold Arboretum Extended Family Session Cara Soulia Photography

Back in October, I met up with this special family to capture an extended family photo session at the Arnold Arboretum. When I first talked to Mom, she expressed to me how important this family photography session was to them. The family had lost both grandfathers within just two weeks of each other the year before. Needless to say, it had been a tough year for everyone. But, it also made them realize how important family time is. Not only spending time together, but capturing and documenting those moments in photography. 

Extended Family Photography Session

October in Massachusetts is always lovely, but the foliage on the day of the photo session was especially beautiful as we all met up at the Arnold Arboretum in Roslindale. The morning of the session was misty and dreary- so much that I momentarily considered rescheduling the session…  But as the day went on, it worked out so well. The slightly overcast light was beautiful. On an overcast day, the sky is like one giant, softbox that creates a really flattering light.

I love all the beautiful smiles I captured in the candid moments of this session. The family looks so happy and, after such a tough year, it is nice to see them with such big, genuine smiles. I hope these photos bring them lots of happy memories when they look at them for years to come.

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Family sessions like this one remind me of the beauty of family. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time can fly and how quickly things change. So quickly, children grow and change. And, of course, it’s so heartbreaking when cherished family members pass away. That’s why I take my work as a family photographer so seriously. Family portraits and family photography is a way to pause that passing of time, if only for a moment. In a photograph, you can capture those sweet smiles, the spontaneous kiss from a brother to a sister, the laughter shared by family members and the time they can spend together. In a photograph, you can preserve those moments and those memories. And years later, you can be transported right back to that time when the kids were still small, and when their grandparents were still here. It gives meaning to my job and I am so thankful when I can stop time through my photography.  Even if just for a moment.

Arnold Arboretum Extended Family Session Cara Soulia Photography

Grandparents are always welcome at my family photo sessions! Don’t hesitate to reach out now for a spring or fall family photography session! Even though it feels like winter will never end, spring family sessions and fall family sessions are my most popular seasons. They book up quickly, so don’t be afraid to book your session in advance!

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For more information, click here to learn more about my relaxed approach to family portrait sessions. It would be my pleasure to capture your family, your love, and your memories in a unique and special way.

rain, rain, you can stay | Family Photographer in Needham MA

rain, rain, you can stay | Family Photographer in Needham MA

The forecast did not look good the morning of this family’s photo session, but grandma was visiting from Canada and we really wanted to include her in the photos so we did not reschedule.  At the last second, I told Mom, “Worst case scenario:  bring the umbrellas!” And boy, am I glad I did.

Everything started out clear and we were lucky to have the gorgeous orange flowers blossoming in the background.  I love how all these (more…)

Cousins!! | Newton Family Photographer

Cousins!! | Newton Family Photographer

I don’t know what it’s like in your house, but when I tell my kids they are going to visit their cousins, an onslaught of squealing, shrieking and crazy bouncing off the walls immediately ensues.  I suspect something similar happens for the family in the images below.  These cousins were all together for Easter weekend and one of the moms invited me to (more…)

a gift from mimi | wellesley family photographer

a gift from mimi | wellesley family photographer

A few weeks ago I photographed a very special extended family session at Elm Bank in Wellesley, MA.   The session was a gift from Grandma ( aka Mimi ) for her two children and her three grandchildren.  She and her husband were just about the sweetest pair of grandparents I’ve ever seen.  So proud of their children and so much love for their grandchildren.   They also happen to be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year, which is (more…)