How to Prepare for a Family Lifestyle Session


I understand that hiring a professional photographer to come to your home and take casual photos might still be a relatively new concept.

“Why would we stay home for photos when we could go to a lake, beach, woodland area, downtown, or other fabulous outdoor location?”

Why? Because your home is where you live. It’s where you love. It’s where the majority of your life and memories happen, along with the people you love most in this world. Am I saying that you SHOULD be photographed at home rather than a fabulous outdoor location? No, absolutely not! I am the first to admit that I am obsessed with nature’s beauty and all it can contribute to a beautiful photograph. I equally love shooting indoors AND outdoors. I am simply saying that your shooting location should be something you think about when you book your session. It should speak to you and describe your family’s personality. Your photos should be very personal to you, not only now, but in many years when you look back on those photos.

Shooting in a your home allows the photographer to capture your family in the exact stage you are in RIGHT NOW. Your son may not carry around his favorite blanket a year from now. Your daughter’s new room might be her pride and joy because she helped decorate it. Your teenager loves his guitar but he will be gone playing it at college in two years. Your newborn baby only stays newborn for…well…we all know how fast they grow. How do you want your story to be told? Do you want to look at your photos and see yourselves barefeet and casual, all wrapped up in blankets in your living room or on the bed? Or do you imagine your family in styled clothing walking next to a lake or amongst trees?

If you’re not sure if a home session is for you, ask yourself these questions:

Do you love being home?
Do you love the look of your home?
Do you prefer casual clothing and bare feet over styled outfits?
Does your family (or individual family members) have hobbies or personal items within your home that you would love to have captured?
Are you comfortable with having a photographer move around your home photographing in different locations?

If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, an in-home lifestyle session is perfect for you! Now. How in the world do you plan for your home session? I have gathered a few tips and what to expect during your session.

LIGHT – Although I can use and will bring my artificial light, I prefer to use natural light if possible. When I arrive at your home, I will take a quick tour of your home to find the best areas of light. Sometimes it is the master bed, sometimes it is the small window in the corner. And yes, sometimes it is the bathroom. There are NO houses that aren’t great candidates for home sessions. I promise you, I will find the best light and locations in your home, and if I need to, I’ll create the light myself. I repeat, your house is a perfect backdrop for your session, no matter how new, old, big, or small it is.

FAVORITES – When I arrive, let me know if you have specific parts of your house that you love or want captured. And on the flip side, let me know if there are places you would prefer not to be in photos.

CLOTHING – We’re in your home! Chill clothing, bare feet or socks, and loose hair is best. Unless you normally wear heels and a cocktail dress when playing games with your kids, you can leave those in the closet. Solid, neutral colors usually look best, but you should definitely dress to your style. Light patterns and accessories also look fantastic.

CLEAN BACKGROUNDS – Your house doesn’t have to be void of daily items and decor (keep those, it tells your story), but general clutter removal on the floor, tables, and dressers is recommended. Please don’t stress about cleaning perfectly or moving small items! As we move throughout the house, we’ll move things like remotes, tissue boxes, garbage cans, etc if it’s needed.

THEMES – This is not necessary, but if your family has hobbies, games, or themes that you love to do together, it’s wonderful to add those to your session. This would also include hobbies or talents by individual family members. Ideas might be board games, music, sports, dancing, musical instruments, stuffed animals, blankets, books, tree houses, hammocks, fire pit, swimming pool, and anything else you can think of!

KIDS ROOMS – I understand that I am a stranger and it’s not always easy for a child to instantly open up to a stranger. I will often photograph kids in their rooms to not only display their personality and style, but also to get them to open up. Kids LOVE to talk about their dolls, books, legos, stuffed animals, or whatever else they love in their rooms.

NON-POSING – Because we are in a casual atmosphere, your photos will have a natural lifestyle look. My style doesn’t lend to stiff poses anyway, but we will be capturing you in your home…most likely cuddling, playing, and hanging out. Hair might get messy. Shirts might get twisted. Messes may happen. Laughs will most likely happen. Fun will definitely happen.

As always, I am available to answer any questions you may have, about home sessions, outdoor sessions, or my favorite kinds of food. Because I know you’re all dying to hear about my hunger pains, I’ll wish you a very happy weekend and leave you with this amazing family (while I go get myself some coffee)!

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