Published 08/03/2016
Stacy Smith Studios, A Rhode Island Featured Photographer Helps Prepare You For Your Family Portraits
Photo shoots require many hours of preparation before hand, so if you need to reschedule your session for any reason, please notify me with as much advance time as possible.  Your shoot will be 1 hour long, which includes time for a brief discussion of ideas and outfit changes.  After your shoot I will sort through all of our images and put all of the "good ones" in a password protected online gallery and email you the link.
Family Protrait
You will then begin the process of choosing your favorite 25 images for me to retouch. Once I receive your choices I will begin working on your photos. It generally takes two weeks to complete them all unless we have worked out another deadline. You will have a chance to review your images before ordering prints and other products.(Some clients opt to have me pick the images for them because they feel they are their worst critic. If that is the case, do not hesitate to let me know and I will gladly choose for you.)  
Family Protrait Photography
Everyone has their own vision of what they expect their photos to look like.  At least one week before your shoot, please email me a few examples of photos that you like and reflect your style.  Browse my albums on my Facebook Page. Pinterest is also a great place to find ideas.  Even doing a simple Google search of "family portrait ideas" will yield plenty of results.  Of course I have many ideas of my own and will put my individual touch on your photos but this is one of the most important things you can do to receive photos that are to your specific liking.
Coordinate your family’s clothing selections.  Choose clothing that will flatter all members of your family. For instance, do you photograph better in long sleeves than short-sleeved or sleeveless tops? Are long pants or jeans more flattering on you than shorts?  Solid colors generally photograph much better than patterns, stripes or plaids. Choose a color palette of two to three basic colors for a coordinated look.
Family Portrait
My personal favorite is one that consists of two basic colors (such as black and white) with a third accent color that "pops" (such as red). A great palette could consist of brown, tan and green. Another is tan, white and blue.  Jeans look great with just about any color combination as long as all shirts and accessories are limited to one or two other matching colors. You can find lots of great wardrobe ideas by again doing a Google search, this time entering "family portrait clothing ideas". 

Keep the setting of your shoot in mind while deciding what to wear.  If you are being photographed in the woods, formal clothing may not be the best option. However, no matter what you choose, as long as you are comfortable and feel good and confident in it, you can't go wrong!
Stacy Smith Studios
Make sure everyone’s clothing is clean, pressed and ready to wear the day before your photo session. Have everyone try on their outfits with shoes. This will help avoid any last minute panic if you notice a missing button, a torn hem, or discover that your son has outgrown his shirt or your daughter doesn’t have shoes that go with the dress you just bought.
Get haircuts or experiment with any new hairstyles for all family members about two weeks prior to your scheduled portrait session. Don't try a new style or look the day of the portrait. Be sure everyone gets a good night’s sleep before the day of your photo session.  Book your shoot around your children’s meal and nap times. Feed everyone before they start to get ready to avoid stains on clothing.  Be mindful what your children have to eat and drink to prevent face and hand stains (cherries, particularly red fruit juices and sports drinks, cheese puffs, etc. will cause staining.)Set aside adequate time to get ready. 
Stacy Smith Studios Portraits
Plan ahead and don't rush the day of your family's photo session.  Be sure everyone has plenty of time to shower, fix their hair, get dressed and do their make-up prior to leaving for your scheduled appointment. Leave early so you will arrive about 10 to 15 minutes prior to your appointment. Trying to rush everything at the last minute is a recipe for disaster.              

If it is snowing, raining or windy when your family leaves the house for the appointment, be sure to wear boots and/or coats and carry the shoes you will wear for your session along with you. Use umbrellas as necessary. Bring a comb, hairspray, make-up and/or other styling aids as needed so you can repair hairstyles and make-up once you all get indoors.  Bring along baby wipes and possibly a change of clothes (especially for young children) for last minute touch-ups or mishaps regardless of the weather.             
Stacy Smith Studios Portraits
If you have chosen to have the shoot in your home, please don't worry about getting your home ready for me ahead of time.  Once I get there, we will decide exactly where will be shooting and what minor adjustments may need to be done.  If your photo shoot is an outdoor session, don't worry about a thing! In addition, please try your very best to be patient and calm during the photo session under all circumstances. If you are flustered and frustrated, your children will probably be in that same mood.  If the adults stay calm, patient and posed properly, the children will often follow suit.  If not, I will still have a much easier time persuading them to cooperate and snapping a successful photo if you are ready for the photo to be taken. 
Although family portrait sessions can be stressful, with a good attitude, a little advance planning and preparation, your session will be memorable for all the right reasons.  Besides, even if the session doesn't go as smooth as you were hoping for, as long as you love your final photos (which I assure you will) then it's definitely worth the effort!  Family photos are cherished for not just years, but generations to come.
Family  Portrait

Rhode Island's Premier Photographer, Stacy Smith Studios
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