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8 Ways to Prepare for your Family Photo Session - San Jose 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. We're so lucky we live in Northern California and there are no shortages of beautiful places to shoot! Determine what you want your session to look like on the walls of your home. Do you want crashing waves behind you, or sprawling golden grass and openness? Check out my post on different locations that I love using throughout the Bay Area!

Couple standing in field for maternity photos in San Jose
Maternity photos in big open field in Palo Alto

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. If you're currently browsing for inspiration, check out my Pinterest boards (women, men, family) which has tons of fresh ideas!

Family photo session wardrobe ideas for Los Altos
Newborn wardrobe ideas for Palo Alto
Family photo session wardrobe ideas for San Jose

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 about 5 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!

Little girl in denim romper smiling at camera in San Jose

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!

Baby on dad's shoulders with mom during golden hour in San Jose

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 this beautiful Bay Area weather? Pack up some of your favorite snacks in a pretty 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!

Family reading Where the Wild Things Are in San Jose
Family reading Where the Wild Things Are in San Jose

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 goes into getting family pictures 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! Again, don't forget about dad's shoes! Sneakers and white socks can call a lot of attention in family portraits. Wearing darker leather dress shoes is most flattering!

Little girl in daddy's arms in San Jose
Family picture of little boy on daddy's shoulders in San Jose

Family photographer in front of old barn in San Jose
Dad's shoes in San Jose

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! Try and make sure that it's not messy or doesn't stain their mouth for photos. Check out this post for some more useful things to bring 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!

Family walking in front of barn in San Jose
Family hugging mom during golden hour in San Jose
Family of three laughing in front of Golden Gate Bridge
Family tickling each other in teepee in Palo Alto

If you would like your family photos done with Laura Pope Photography in San Jose or the Bay Area, please email me at

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