At home sessions are some of my favorite sessions to shoot because shooting at your home where you are comfortable and most relaxed can make for such intimate and special portraits. I’ve done at home engagement, maternity, newborn, first birthday, family, holiday, and boudoir pictures and with a few tips to help you prepare these types of sessions can be even be less stressful than getting ready and heading to a studio or on-location to shoot. So here are my favorite at home session tips for you!
Clean everywhere even if you don’t think we are going to shoot there. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when you walk into the cutest house for an at home session and you look over at the couch where the most beautiful light is so perfectly falling but it is pilled to the ceiling with stuff because mom thought the other corner of the living room where there was a plain colored wall might be the perfect spot for the family’s newest portrait instead so instead of putting everything completely out of sight into the unfinished basement that we definitely won’t be shooting in she just stuck it on the couch instead. Haha I am a tired mom too and I have BEEN there so many times so I totally understand but just trust me on this and let me do the hard work when I get there of figuring out where to shoot and just get things picked up for me to make that a little easier. The first thing I will ask for when I come to your house is for you to give me a quick tour and to show me the spots that get the most natural light in your house. Sometimes this is the living room but sometimes it’s the kitchen, your bedroom, or an office that we can move stuff around in and make look like a cozy little nursery since yours wasn’t quite finished up yet or who knows. Preparing for an at home session means a little more prep on your part because picking up your house and putting any clutter out of sight that you might not want in the pictures might take a little extra work but I promise it will be so worth it when you get your pictures back and I was able to find the best light and quickly pull other pieces from around your home to turn it into the perfect place to snuggle you up and shoot your pictures. And speaking of pulling other pieces from around your home to style your pictures…
Have your favorite pieces out when I get there. When I am looking around your house for where we are going to be shooting (which may be more than one area in your home) I will also be taking note of any awesome pieces I notice that we may grab later to add in to your pictures for styling purposes. Sometimes I will see a blanket on your couch that I take into your baby’s nursery to put in their crib for a few pictures or I see a throw pillow on your bed that would be perfect in the background on your entry bench when we are doing lifestyle pictures of you making cookies with your kids at your kitchen island. And if you have any favorite pieces or outfits or accessories that you want to use have them out when I get there so I can look at them right away 🙂 And you can always message me questions or send me pictures if you want my opinion on something before your shoot or need advice on what to wear!
Showing off your personality. Since it’s so easy to be creative when we are shooting at your home it’s fun to start with some classic portraits and then finish up with some more lifestyle shots of your doing something that really shows off your personality as a family or a couple. For newborn sessions I always do a mix of classic posed newborn shots and lifestyle “new baby” capture the moment pictures but for engagement sessions or maternity sessions or the session you book for your family Christmas card planning something like decorating cookies, making ice cream sundaes, having a pillow fight, doing a bubble bath, or having a pizza party is such a fun way to end your session and capture some really fun non-traditional images too.
Outside pictures. If you have a beautiful backyard or a favorite porch that you spend your summers watching the sunsets on it is such a fun idea to do some outdoor shots to incorporate that during your at home session! I even love doing pictures in the middle of your street with your house in the background for something fun and different too! This is a great place to be creative and think of an idea that will show off what you love about your house/your neighborhood/your apartment building since it is where you spend most of your time after all!
The weather. The hardest part about doing at home sessions for me is planning for when there is going to be good light which is so important for me to be able to create really amazing images for you. I’m a wedding photographer so I can create beautiful pictures in any type of lighting situation and have the tools and equipment needed to take pictures anywhere… but to create the bright natural light images that you have seen and love in my portfolio it’s best just to wait for a day when it’s bright enough. I always plan indoor sessions for around 11am that way we are shooting when it’s the brightest time of the day outside but some days on those days when it’s just so dark out that you have to have all the lights on in your house even though it’s the middle of the afternoon because every storm cloud in Erie is out it’s just best to reschedule and I promise it’s not because I don’t want to come take your pictures. I’m actually just as excited (if not more) about your session than you are! I just want you to have the most amazing images as I can possibly create for you and I need the best possible light to do that so if I’m suggesting that we wait just trust me and wait unless there is a reason you absolutely can’t 🙂
I hope this helps make preparing for your at home session a little less stressful and remember, there are so many beautiful lifestyle sessions shot in the most catalog perfect homes shared on Pinterest every day that may make you feel less than when you are getting ready for your pictures but just remember, your home is beautiful just the way it is. Just like you are! Embrace the chaos and make the most of what you have because your babies aren’t going to see a less than brand new couch when they look back at their pictures or a little smudge mark of crayon on the walls. They are just going to see a mom and dad who loved them and the dining room table they grew up doing their homework at and the family room you all crammed yourselves into for movie nights and hours of video games on and your arms all wrapped around each other and the smiles on your faces. You will only regret the pictures that you didn’t take. Not the ones that you did even if you didn’t think everything was perfect at the time. I promise 🙂 So schedule that dream at home session of yours if you haven’t already and let’s make some memories!