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8 Ways to Prepare for your Family Photo Session - Northern Virginia Family Photographer

Planning a session might feel a little overwhelming, but here are 8 simple things that you can do to ensure you have a great session!

1) Choose a great location. Since recently moving to the DC metro area, I've found a handful of great locations that I love using, but I'm always happy to shoot somewhere new if you have a location in mind! What do you want your session to look like? An open grassy field? Water? Old Town? Let's chat about what you want your photos to say!

2) Prepare your wardrobe. Do not underestimate this one! Your wardrobe is a huge part of your session. Try to visualize what would look great hanging on your walls in your home. For most people, this would be a neutral wardrobe pallet that will be timeless and classic. I offer complete wardrobe assistance upon booking. I'll create a mock up board for you that will look similar to the one below. Don't forget shoes & socks, especially for dad! They'll show, so make sure that shoes go with the rest of the outfit.

3) Be sure to leave plenty of time. I'm a mom to two littles, so I get how last minute things always seem to pop up. Plan on getting to the location at least 10 minutes early so that we don't lose the good light.

4) Leave the cheese! I know it's a habit to have our kids says "cheeeeese!" when we're trying to get them to smile, but let me work some magic to get their real and authentic smiles! Here's a perfect example of a "cheese" smile vs. a real smile! In the first picture I asked her to say "cheese." In the second picture I asked her if she had ever heard an elephant toot before. She was much more interested in the latter conversation! ;)

5) Be prepared to NOT look at the camera! I know, it sounds kind of funny, right? But pictures of you being engaged and connected with your family make amazing portraits. Think: "everyone tickle baby brother!!", etc... Of course we'll get a couple of the smiling straight at the camera, but we also want to capture you being YOU!

6) Bring an activity that your family loves doing together. Do you love reading? Bring a stack of your favorite books to read together! Are you over the moon for ice cream? Bring some ice cream bars to dive into (in an ice chest so we can save them for the last shots!) or do you enjoy picnicking in the great outdoors? Pack up some of your favorite snacks in a beautiful basket. Really think about the things that you'll want to look back and soak up in the future! If you're not sure, I'm here to help guide you!

7) Prepare dad! I can't tell you how many times dads have told me during their session "wow, I was really dreading this, but it's actually not so bad!" I know that a lot has to go in to getting family portraits done, and it can feel pretty stressful up until your session starts, but please ask dad to put his best foot forward and to be a willing participant during the session. I promise that it will be worth it!

8) Bring a healthy snack! I swear, a string cheese can turn even the grumpiest toddler into a willing participant! I notice that a lot of families plan to grab dinner after their session. If this is the case, please make sure to bring something to hold children over! Here are some more helpful things that you can plan on bringing to your family session.

9) Ok, there are actually 9 ways!! Be prepared to have fun and let go! Even if your toddler is teething, your tween is complaining the entire way there, or you had a wardrobe malfunction, just take a deep breath and leave it up to me when you arrive. I promise that if you come with a happy attitude, we'll have fun and get great pictures! This sweet family swore that family photos were a nightmare for them every single time and that their children were not excited about my arrival! We ended up having so much fun at their session that they invited me in their home to hang out for a little bit! I promise that I don't torture my clients, and that if you come willing to have fun, we'll get the images and actually enjoy the time spent getting them!

If you would like your family photos done with Laura Pope Photography in the DC Metro Area please email me at

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