10 Tips to Prepare You For Your In-Home Family Photography Session

San Francisco Bay Area Family Photographer

There’s something truly special about documenting moments in and around your home. These photos tend to be more nostalgic, especially as time passes, and you witness changes in your living space – the way bedrooms transform as a child grows or the memories of your first home before renovations. If you’re planning an in-home family photography session and are looking for some tips to make the experience and images the best that they can be, you’ve come to the right place. Here are my suggestions to help you prepare for your in-home family photography session and ensure you make the most of this memorable experience!

1. Choose specific photo locations around your home.

During in-home sessions, I like to photograph families in a couple different locations throughout their home. These typically include but are not limited to the master bedroom, family room, child’s bedroom or nursery, and front porch or backyard. Consider meaningful locations throughout your home where you’d like your photos taken and then move on to tip #2.

2. Look for the light.

Light in photography is EVERYTHING. (The word photography is derived from the Greek words phos which means “light” and graphe meaning “draw” or “write,” which essentially means “drawing with light.”) Among the rooms you’ve scouted, look for those with the best natural light and note the times of day when the light is at its best. Communicate these details with your photographer and consider sending them a few photos or videos of the lighting conditions ahead of time. On the day of your session, your photographer will assess the available light and choose the best locations for photos.

The word photography is derived from the Greek words phos which means “light” and graphe meaning “draw” or “write,” which essentially means “drawing with light.”

3. Prepare your home.

The beauty of an in-home session is that you have control over how much you want to prepare your home. If you’re seeking authentic, documentary-style images that capture your home as it is on a typical day, you don’t need to worry about extensive cleaning beforehand. However, in my experience, most families prefer a tidier representation of their home with their loved ones. 🙂 In that case, a simple decluttering is all that’s necessary. Simply look around the rooms in your home where we’ll be working and remove anything that you wouldn’t want as part of the images. Simply tuck it away in a closet or cupboard temporarily. Deep cleaning isn’t essential unless you have a noticeable layer of dust or pet hair on prominent pieces of furniture. Keep in mind that cleaning is optional, as some families appreciate the honest portrayal of their home during this special time in their lives. 

4. Prepare the master bedroom.

In my experience, people tend to forget about those pesky bedside tables. For a cleaner image, clear away items from your bedside tables you would not like as part of the photos. You might consider adding some personal mementos such as a book or framed photo to enhance the space. If you happen to own a white bedspread, consider using it in the master bedroom (no need to purchase a new one if you don’t already have it.) A neutral-colored bedspread works well in photos, as it brightens the space and compliments skin tones beautifully.

5. Showcase your favorite decor and personal mementos.

If you have specific pieces of artwork or personal decor that you’d like featured in your photos, make sure they’re on display ahead of time. Perhaps your child has a favorite blanket or book – bring those out so we can incorporate them into your documented memories. 

6. Consider clothing choices.

Your wardrobe choices are entirely up to you, reflecting how you want to remember this moment in time.Whether you prefer coordinated outfits with light makeup or you’d rather let your kiddos choose their own clothes, or even if your kiddo doesn’t want to wear clothes at all – it’s all acceptable! Think about how you want to remember this phase of your life and plan (or don’t plan) your outfits accordingly. As for yourself, aim to prepare so you feel beautiful but still look like your authentic self. For more inspiration about clothing choices, check out this blog post by an incredible Oregon family photographer!

7. Plan an activity!

Having a planned activity in advance is an excellent way to ensure your kiddos have fun during the session. If we’re spending time in the kitchen, bake some cookies! Hanging out in the living room? Bring out your favorite books, small games, or other simple activities. Let your kids be themselves and enjoy the moment Here’s an additional list of activities to consider:

In Your Home

  1. Bake cookies
  2. Make pancakes
  3. Read a book
  4. Jump on the bed
  5. Build a fort
  6. Take a bath
  7. Have a tea party
  8. Decorate cookies
  9. Wrestle / pig pile
  10. Play dress-up
  11. Paint a picture
  12. Blow bubbles

In Your Yard

  1. Jump on the trampoline
  2. Run through the sprinkler
  3. Play on the swing set
  4. Have a picnic
  5. Ride bikes
  6. Enjoy ice cream
  7. Popsicles!
  8. Jump rope
  9. Play hopscotch
  10. Fly a kite

8. Baby at your session?

Ensure your home is comfortably warm. I recommend a balmy 70 degrees to ensure we can document those cute skin rolls while your baby still feels comfortable. 

9. Relax, let loose, and have a good time.

Remember, this session is all about documenting those unforgettable memories during this special time in your lives. Don’t overthink it – just have fun with your kids! When I arrive at your session, I’ll provide gentle guidance at the beginning, but I’ll also let things flow naturally, just like any other day with your family. That’s when the real, unexpected magic happens.

10. Print your memories.

You’ll never regret booking an in-home family photography session. Before you know it, your child will outgrow that sparkly black dress and veil they begged you for (yes, that was me). Their obsession with Dumbo and walking barefoot through the yard while hugging their favorite hen will become cherished memories (also me). Their hair will no longer snarl, and they’ll be experimenting with makeup(!) before you know it.

I say this as someone who isn’t yet a parent but deeply appreciates the printed photos my parents hold dear from my childhood. These snapshots that carry memories of our old house, beloved pets who are no longer with us, and the younger, carefree version of myself alongside my youthful parents, brimming with exhaustion and pure bliss as they navigated the journey of raising five children. I highly recommend printing ordering a print pack or custom album of all your favorite images from your session. These memories will not only hold significance for you in the present but will become invaluable treasures for your children in decades to come.

Ready to make some memories?

I’d love to work with you! To learn more about scheduling your in-home family photography session, click here today.

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