What is an In-Home Lifestyle Photography Session and how do I prepare for one?
Updated: Oct 20
In-home lifestyle photo shoots are one of my most favorite things to photograph! If you aren't familiar with the term "lifestyle", it simply refers to a session that focuses more on authentic and natural interactions versus the more structured, posed portrait photography. Lifestyle photography sessions can be photographed anywhere but the in-home sessions, to me, are really special.
Why should I have my lifestyle photography session at home?
One of the hallmarks of a lifestyle photo shoot is the authenticity of the subjects (that's you!) captured in the pictures. It's hard to relax (and be your authentic self) when there's a camera pointed at you and you're worried about what you look like and what to do. Having your photographer work with you in your home can make things more relaxed, creating an environment where you can be yourself so that your pictures truly reflect you and your family together.
What if my house doesn't look perfect?
One of the most common worries from my clients before their in-home session is the stress of having their house look perfect for photos. I get that and I struggled with it when my girls were young and I was photographing them every day and posting pictures on social media. It's hard to keep the house pristine and uncluttered when you have children and a spouse and a job and pets and yard work (the list is endless). Here are a few tips to keep you from losing your mind over making your house "photo-ready".
Work with your photographer on choosing a few rooms to shoot in. Your session doesn't need to incorporate the entire house so you only need to make sure a few rooms are set up. For newborn sessions, I prefer to shoot in the master bedroom and the nursery (and maybe sometimes the living area, if there are multiple children). For sessions with older children, I usually like to photograph each child in their own room as well as the entire family in the living area (and maybe the kitchen, if cooking is an activity the family chooses to do together that day). Once you and your photographer decide which rooms to focus on, make those areas look the way you want them to look and don't worry about the rest of the house.
The alternative is to embrace your house exactly the way it is, because that is truly part of the lifestyle photography experience. You want to document your life right now and if that means you have a bouncy seat and and exersaucer in the corner and a playmat on the floor in another corner and sippy cups everywhere from your toddler, so be it. Your life won't look like this forever and there is something really special about capturing all of the different stages it goes through as your children age. When my girls were little, the house looked like a tornado went through it for most of the day until we did our ten-minute-tidy before bed each night. Now that they are teenagers, the only sign that they live there are the earbuds on the kitchen counter and the dishes stacked in the sink (will they ever learn to put things in the dishwasher without being asked???).
Some people have houses that always look "photo-ready" and I'm jealous! My family has always been in the 'drop things somewhere and pick them up later' category so if your family is like that too, hopefully one of the tips above will help you out.
What do my family and I do during an in-home lifestyle photography session?
Whatever you want...it's your session!! Before each of my sessions, I send out a questionnaire to get to know the family better before we meet for the session. Once the family has filled it out, we go over it on the phone and decide on a few things to incorporate into the shoot. It could be reading books on the couch or playing a board game. Some of my families like to bake together. Sometimes we go for a walk in the neighborhood or go to the park. The important thing is that you are all doing something together which helps take the pressure off of "performing" during your photo shoot and allows your photographer to capture images of you all interacting with each other in a natural way, which creates beautiful images.
What do we wear?
Again, whatever you want! The fun thing about in-home sessions is they tend to be a little more casual so you can wear whatever you want. I had one family who chose to do their session in the morning and all wore matching pajamas. I once photographed a session where one of the children was really into superheroes and wore costumes the entire time. In-home lifestyle photography really allows you to make your session personal and unique, without feeling like you have to stick to more formal, coordinating outfits (which you could do as well, if that's your preference). The important thing is that it reflects your family and your life.
Another bonus of the in-home lifestyle photography session...your pets!!
I love it when my families ask if they can bring their dog to their on-location session. Pets are part of the family and deserve to be a part of the photo shoot whenever possible! But for those of us with animals other than dogs (like five cats and a snake), it can be a little tricky including them in the family photo session when it's not at home.
If you decide to have the family bearded dragon or guinea pig take part in your in-home photo shoot, make sure you communicate with your photographer on the best way to do that where all participants feel safe and secure to make it a positive experience for everyone involved.
In-home lifestyle photography sessions can be a fun change from your typical portrait session if you're comfortable with having a photographer in your home. They tend to be more relaxed, not to mention fun and capture truly authentic moments with your family doing the things you enjoy doing together. If you live in the Tampa area and want more information on scheduling an in-home lifestyle photo shoot with your family, click HERE.