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Extended Family Photos in Collingwood, ON

Updated: Feb 15, 2022

📢 Extended family is IMPORTANT! 📢

I mean, the whole reason we moved back to (Simcoe County) Ontario from BC was for our kids to have a closer relationship to our families! I’m originally from Ottawa, and my husband is from here: New Lowell! It’s a tiny wee town between Barrie and Collingwood. We thought it would be great to be closer to our extended family...aaand then, Covid happened. We all know how that story goes!

These past few years have been so hard on families. It’s just plain not fair. I’ve been booking more and more extended family photos, with clients telling me it’s special, because the family hasn’t all been together for a couple years! Especially for families with young kids - years are WAY too long.

In August I had this client referred to me by the talented Katie Lintern Photography, who had recently photographed the twins as newborns. The booking came through just as I was opening back up after being off with our own new baby. I’m so thankful for the referral, and the opportunity to document this incredibly important time for this family. Poppy Jack was recently diagnosed with ALS, and the family was finally all together to spend some quality time.

The gang was huge! We had a family meeting before starting the shoot. We wrote out our shot list and made sure everything was covered. One of the first positions I held as a photographer from 2007-2010 was as a school photographer, so photographing big groups kind of feels like old hat! We had a list of all the groupings we wanted to capture, and we worked through them seamlessly. I made sure to also capture the authentic in between moments - that's where my heart really lies. Storytelling is my passion!

It’s been great putting together lots of extended family shoots this year. It’s really interesting and fun to see it all come together. Simple things like outfit coordination, and capturing the family’s similar expressions and mannerisms are fun. But the truly amazing, meaningful moments between grandparents and grandchildren, and the really solid and deep love between the heart!

Fun fact: When I send over your edited gallery, I create a slideshow set to custom music (that I spend way too long choosing 😅), and obviously I preview it first...guess what though? Watching the slideshow makes me cry...every..single.time.😭

Thank you to every family that trusts me to capture your forever memories...I’m so lucky to be able to call "family photographer" my job!

If you’re considering booking an extended family shoot, all I can say is DO IT! Time is going way too fast these days, and covid has taught us to cherish the time we do get to spend together. Oh, and printing them...Christmas gifts?! Check! ✔

To donate to the ALS Society of Canada click here. There are tons of creative ways to give, you can even donate your old car for cash towards ALS!

All the love,

Hillary West

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