14 Ways to Prepare for Your Family Portrait Session | Cincinnati Family Photographer





Hello there! I am Sarah Lewis, and I am a Cincinnati Family Photographer, and I get it! You really want to schedule a family portrait session, but you don't know where to start. The whole process seems stressful, and you don't know how you will pull it all together. That is why I am here to help you make this process easy, stress free, and fun!  I have pulled together a list of 14 ways to prepare for your family portrait session to help you get started on your journey to creating beautiful heirloom memories for your family.


1. Choose a Photographer

This seems like the easy part right? Not always. You will want to take a look around your home, take a look at your style, and your decorating choices. Do you know a photographer, that you love that you can decorate your walls with their photos, that you know matches your style? That is your first step in choosing a photographer. The next step would be deciding your budget and availability. Check around with a few photographers that you feel match your style, and then choose one based on the experience they can provide you. 


2. Set Up a Pre-Session Consultation

Setting up a pre-session consultation with your photographer will set the session up for success. This allows you both to get to know each other a bit better before your portrait session. You will be able to discuss session details (i.e. date, time, location), what kind of prints and products you would like to invest in from your session, any details your photographer may need to know about you and your family, and so much more. 


5. Choose the Season

The portraits you will have taken during your session will grace your walls, and fill albums, and be heirloom keepsakes for your family for many years to come. Deciding what season to do this in makes a big difference in the final outcome. If you love Fall and want to enjoy the beautiful rich colors, this is the perfect time to capture your family. If you love greenery or flowers, you will want to choose Spring or Summer. Winter can also provide a gorgeous backdrop!


4. Choose the Perfect Location

During your pre-session consultation, you will want to discuss with your photographer any ideas you may have for locations. Envision your perfect location and let them know what you want. This could be your favorite park, somewhere with lots of fall leaves, wooded area, your local city, or wherever your mind takes you. This will help you to both brainstorm and pick the perfect place for your portrait session.


5. Choosing Your Wardrobe

This is the tricky part, but I am going to try to make it more simple for you. Start with the person in your family that you feel will be the hardest person to dress, and find them something they are comfortable in (comfort is a huge part of making your portraits amazing!). You will want to then, coordinate everyone else with that person. Choose a 2-3 coordinating colors for the family and mix in maybe 1-2 not-so-heavy patterns. Accessories can make a world of difference here as well!

Download my What to Wear/What Not to Wear guide here.


6. Choose Your Accessories

Accessories can really add to your final look to make everyone look polished and make your image pop. This might be bracelets, a statement necklace, scarves, boots, etc. Just don't go overboard with heavy items.


7. Make Sure Everyone is Well Groomed

Looking your best will help to ensure you receive a final product you are happy with. This might mean that everyone needs a new haircut or hairstyle. Make-up is also something you will want to perfect before your portrait session. A foundation with a photo finish might help to keep your face from looking too shiny in your portraits. Manicures and Pedicures also help you too look polished and picture ready.


8. Bring Props 

If you would like to bring along any props with you to your session, please do! Including things in your portraits that are meaningful to you and your family will help provide a more custom experience. This might be a family blanket, grandmas trunk, a teddy bear your child loves, your favorite family book, a chair you love, etc.


9. Get Plenty of Rest 

Getting plenty of rest the night before your session will provide a happy and relaxed session. If anyone is lacking sleep, this can cause more stress on the family during portrait time. This will also help to ensure a better end result if everyone looks well rested. This is also great for nap times as well. Plan your session at a time your child will be well rested.


10. Make Sure You Eat

Making sure everyone eats before your portrait session will keep everyone happy! Full bellies = happy smiles! 


11. Arrive Early

Arriving about 10-15 minutes early to your session will give you plenty of time to prepare everyone for your session. Complete final details, put shoes on the baby, wipe little faces, etc.


12. Relax 

It is time for your portrait session, and this is the time to relax and enjoy it! Your photographer will have learned a few tricks during your pre-session consultation to help your children relax as well. Love on your family, give lots of hugs and kisses, breathe, and take in the experience. Your photographer will be snapping away at all of the beautiful moments between you and your family, posed and un-posed. 


13. Schedule Your Reveal Session

After your portrait session is complete, your photographer will schedule a reveal session with you. I like to bring my clients dessert, go over a beautiful slideshow of images from your session, and help you to complete the vision you have for your home with custom ordering. This is the time to complete your investment in beautiful heirloom wall art, albums, or other products you had on your wish list. 


14. Decorate Your Home with Beautiful Memories

Approximately 6 weeks after your reveal and ordering appointment, you will have your art delivered to your home. Now is the time to hang up those beautiful memories we created during your session, pull that album out to share with family and friends, and enjoy the life you have created each day when you see them. 


Have fun, and enjoy each and every moment of your session! Ready to get started with Sarah Lewis Photography? Contact us here!

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