Meet the Smagacz Family:

This is my second largest family to date, 26-total. WOW! One of the many things I’ve learned over the past 30-years in photography is experience counts and you must remain flexible in this profession.

Lisa commissioned us to photograph her family from Brentwood, TN while in Florida on vacation.  What I have learned is, try to put as many “things” in our favor, time of day for outdoor portraits is vital, if there are small children you want to choose a time when  they are at their best and it’s also best to feed them before the photo session and clothing selections can make or break a portrait.

We scheduled the photo session on a Thursday at 8am. At 8am the sun is pretty high in the sky and can be difficult to find good lighting for a large family grouping of 26. I arrived early on the photo day and scouted the grounds and found this spot. I liked the depth it gave us, we set the group up on the cart path so they would not get the clients wet & dirty from the dew. I learned if I put my camera at a lower prospective it would not show the cart path. The location was not far from their vacation villa, which was a benefit for the grandparents at ages 79 & 75 years young.

You learn to improvise and make the most out of any/all situations. I recall way back in my early training that when you are in a difficult lighting situation… back-light! So I did, with a little help with a fill light off-camera.

What I’ve learned the past 30-years is everyone in the group needs to look good. Starting with mom, if mom doesn’t look good you are done! Happy momma, happy life.

What I’ve learned through my decades of photography is to listen to the client. Occasionally they have a few ideas of their own and I try to make it work.

One last thing from what I’ve learned through my time in the photography business is to have a plan. I start pre-planning the night before, I start getting my mind “set” into large family groupings by looking at past large family groups we have done, thinking about the ages of the children, wondering how mobile the grandparents are, etc.  It’s not always EASY putting together 26-people and making them ALL look good with lighting, posing and expressions, etc. This was not an easy task and certainly NOT for someone who has little experience with large family groups. But it was worth the effort, we now have captured their family vacation in 2014. Who knows if or when they ALL will be together again?

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