I took a photography course in college and I've read countless articles online... a main thing to remember when planning for a photoshoot is that lighting changes throughout the day. A few of us went up to the granary the day before to check out the location, find sitting props and of course, make sure the lighting would be OK for the time we hoped to take pictures (I think we planned on between 4pm and 5pm).
The front of the granary... a little too busy, but the lighting isn't horrible. It was sunny at the time, so shade was a must to prevent squinting and harsh shadows.
We headed inside the granary - this was one of the walls. The lighting is perfect, but the area didn't allow for a large family set-up. (PS: How little is E, here?! That hat fits a little better this year, haha!)
We went a little on the risqué side and picked out a corner on the other end of the granary. This spot is a slight risk because the backdrop isn't identical - see how the door is white and the wall is weathered wood? This could potentially be too busy if too much of the backdrop shows up in the picture, but at least it allowed for a larger family picture.
We then realized that we needed more sitting options than just one easily hay bale (we had brought it from the home place).
More exploring in nearby buildings meant that we found a rustic box to add! Notice how we have one person standing and one sitting in these practice pictures. It's important to be able to visualize the different heights that will be present when the entire family is there for a picture.
Don't forget, though, that along with a large group picture, we were planning on doing individual families as well. So, here's a close-up so we could see what the backdrop looked like with a smaller subject. That metal thing on the wall was very close to being a problem - it could easily show up coming out of one of our heads! Something to keep in mind for the big day...
Ok, just one more moment for reminiscing back to little E :)
Ok, back to practice shots. We decided that another box was necessary for even more sitting options. We decided to also bring some blankets along to protect our nice clothes since these boxes were dirty! The granary was a little narrow, so we had to shoot from about this angle. It would have been better to shoot a little more from the left, but sometimes, you just have to work with what we have.
Then, all of a sudden, it was the day of the pictures...