Six Tips to Help You Prepare for an In-Home Family Session


If you've never had a photographer in your home, an in-home photo shoot can be a bit daunting. You may be asking yourself questions like: Will it be awkward? What should I wear? And does my house have to be magazine worthy? Answers to those questions and more, here are some tips to help you prepare for your in-home family photos:


dad spoon feeding toddler sitting in a high chair
This photo was taken during an in-home family lifestyle session. I had a small space to work with, so we placed the high chair between Mom and Dad right by the sliding glass door. I had them rotate spots so I could get photos of both Mom and Dad with the light on their faces.

01. Tell Your Photographer about Your Family before the Shoot

A great place to share about your family is through the questionnaire that you will receive as part of the onboarding process. What's your family all about? What do you like to do together? What are your kids' personalities like? Sharing this information with me will help us decide what we want to focus on during your shoot, which leads to...


02. Have Activities in Mind

Choose 1-4 activities that resonate with you. These can be special activities or elements of your daily routine. Here are a few ideas:


» Making breakfast together

» Baking & decorating cookies

» Snuggling on the couch

» Building a fort

» Playing a family game

» Pillow fights

» Helping the kids with a craft

» Reading books

» Nursing or rocking your baby

» Bathtime


0.3 Take the Time to get Ready

Even though you don't have to leave the comfort of your home, I do recommend putting some effort into getting ready so that you feel confident but still comfortable. You don't have to wear fancy things or spend hours on your hair, but take the time to shower and consider wearing makeup. You don't have to! As long as you feel confident and comfortable.


Getting ready goes a long way. Trust me, feeling good about yourself shows up in the photos.


04. Neutral Colors & Avoid Busy Patterns

I've created a board on Pinterest of colors that go well together. I recommend neutrals or pastels for in-home shoots. This helps you to pop off a busier backdrop, since homes tend to have stuff in them. Check out a few more tips here: What to Wear.


05. A Tidy, Imperfect House

Prior to shoot, tidy up and spend a little time decluttering. Your home DOES NOT have to be perfect, but minimizing the clutter helps a ton. Bright, neutral colors are also best, so consider placing a lighter blanket on top of dark bedding. These little touches will make a big difference in the overall feel of your photos.


While we're shooting, I may move some (smaller) things around to help with this. I'll also decide where in your house are the places we'll spend the most time in. (It all depends on the light!)


06. Relax (It's Harder than You Think)

The goal of these sessions is create photographs of your family to remember everyone in the family as they are, not as the world thinks they "should" be.


Kids NEVER sit still for long. That's OKAY. Your job as parents is to embrace life as it is and enjoy your kids during our time together. Your kids will enjoy the session much more if you get playful with them and agree to not direct them. That's my job. And I love running after them. Heck, it's how I've avoided the gym for this long.


We humans hate giving up control. Moms and dads, your one and only job during the session is to relax and let someone else direct your kids. I know it's not easy. I know it's unnatural. But embrace those short attention spans. The chocolate on the face. Play some music. Let the kids be kids and enjoy your coffee.


Lifestyle photography sessions are all about telling a story. The goal is to document your (real) life. The focus will be on connection, not perfection. The absolute best thing you can do to prepare for your session is relax!


A Quick Note about Curtains

For the most part, we'll open your blinds and curtains to let in as much light as possible. We'll also turn off lamps and overhead lights.


A Note to New Mamas

Do whatever you need to do for your baby! If you need to nurse, nurse. If there's poop everywhere, we'll roll with it. I'm a mom. I've been there. And I get it. And it's okay to be wherever you're at, burp rags and all. I totally understand the accomplishment that it is just to shower!


Want to see it in action? This family chose to feed their baby, chase his outfit, and read to him during the session.



Looking for a photographer to document your family in your home?


I specialize in lifestyle and documentary photography. I love photographing families in their element! Send me an email at karajoyphoto@gmail.com. I'd love to chat!

LOOKING FOR A PHOTOGRAPHER?

Based in Elk River, MN, Kara Joy Photography is a lifestyle & documentary photographer who specializes in newborn & family photography. She's known for capturing raw emotion & authentic expressions through a laid-back approach. Her unforced images have a glaze that is natural yet polished. The cherry on top? A quick turnaround time.

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