1. PREPARE YOUR HOME
CLEAN + TIDY
The best thing you can do to prepare your home is to make sure that it is clean and tidy, especially the rooms that you’d like to photograph. When selecting rooms, don’t just think about your favorite places in the house, also think about which rooms have the best light! You’ll want to clean and declutter those spaces and I would recommend cleaning up at least three rooms, usually the family room, dining room, and bedroom! Kitchens are also great spots as well!
Remember, your house doesn’t need to look like it came straight out of a Pottery Barn Magazine, but you want to ensure that the background for your photographs is not cluttered. Put away extra toys or items that you feel would distract from the photos. Make sure other spaces are decluttered as well, for example, the hallway outside of your bedroom as it may be visible through an open door! Or if you’re taking photographs in the living room, make sure that the dining room table visible behind the couch is cleared off.
When I arrive, I’d love to take a quick tour of your home to look at which spaces have the most natural light. So be sure to tidy rooms that might not be your favorite, but have nice, big windows! We also may rearrange some furniture so that it faces the window, but I promise, I won’t rearrange your entire home! Make sure you open up all the blinds and curtains to maximize light.
It’s important to understand why I photograph only using natural light. First of all, I want the photographs to look as natural as possible. Secondly, if you have a lamp on in the corner, overhead lights, and light coming in through the window, that’s three light sources! Those light sources are all different “colors” which causes the photographs to look odd and not to mention the crazy shadows! So I’ll likely turn off the lights when I arrive and just use the beautiful light streaming through the window. Don’t be afraid to light a candle or two for ambiance, as long as it’s not a huge candle that will cast shadows into your photographs.
We’ll likely step outside for a couple of photographs! If you spend time in the backyard playing with the kids or sharing drinks with friends, I want to capture that! If you enjoy spending time on your front porch or taking walks around your neighborhood, I want to document you in those environments. Especially if your session is planned near golden hour, the hour right before the sunsets, then those outdoor photographs can be gorgeous! So be prepared to head outside and think about how you’d like to display your home from the outside. And don’t worry, I’ll be there with creative insight to guide you!
2. CHANGE EXPECTATIONS
Yes, change your expectations. This is not a “normal” traditional photography session. This is a lifestyle session, hence displaying your lifestyle! This photography session is meant to display you in a comfortable way in your natural environment. It is a great session to capture natural interactions and sweet moments as they unfold.
The goal of this session is to document the authenticity of your relationship at home, where you are most comfortable and most yourself. Aim to look at the camera less and interact more with your loved one(s). I’ll be sure to guide you, giving your prompts more than poses to interact with one another and evoke true emotion. And if you're curious about how you can mentally and emotionally prepare, head over to my blog to find out how.
3. CHOOSE YOUR OUTFITS
The first thing about choosing your outfit is picking something that you feel confident and comfortable in. You likely don’t want to be in sweatpants with your hair up in a bun (or maybe you do) but choose something that feels comfy. This is your home and you should be comfortable!
Consider wearing neutral tones, as they are not distracting and often coordinate well with home decor. When choosing your outfit, think about the outfits of others in the photographs with you. You’ll want to coordinate clothing and choose tones that are similar to compliment one another. If you’re looking for family outfit inspiration, check out this Pinterest board, and if you’re planning your couple session at home, this Pinterest board can help guide you! And for more information about what to wear, head over to my blog about preparing to be photographed!
4. PLAN ACTIVITIES
When you’re at home, it’s the perfect time to incorporate activities, hobbies, and special items into your photographs. I recommend this for any lifestyle session, but especially at home lifestyle sessions! You want to have fun and the perfect way to do that is by participating in activities or hobbies that bring you joy! You can eat popcorn on the couch, coffee at the kitchen table, or drink wine on the floor! You can play games, read books, or have a pillow fight! If you play guitar or enjoy gardening together, I’d love to capture that as it shows off who you are and what you love to do.
If you’re planning your lifestyle session at home with your children, you can show off your intimate, beautiful moments with snuggles on the couch, jumping on the bed, or bath time. You can bake cookies, have a picnic, fly a kite, or build a fort. Truly, anything that you love to do together is perfect. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate their favorite toys or books. And if you have pets, make sure they’re a part of it, too!
5. TELL YOUR STORY
Ultimately, I want to tell your story. When I photograph weddings, I’m a storyteller. When I document families, I’m a storyteller. When I capture you at home, I’m telling your story. It’s a beautiful, intimate story of the home you’ve created, displaying all the things you love to do, with the people you care about most. What’s more important than matching the pillows on your couch, opening all the blinds for natural light, choosing the perfect outfit, and planning your favorite activity, is you! You and your loved ones and documenting the interaction is the most important. Don’t let all the to do’s to prepare your home and get ready for your session make you anxious or scared to even do an in-home session in the first place. It’s a beautiful way to tell your story and I promise that once I arrive I’ll guide you each step of the way, from finding the best light to prompting true interaction to document your real emotions.
Are you looking for someone to tell your story in Metro Detroit? In-home lifestyle sessions are a favorite of mine. They capture the essence of the couple in the place they are most comfortable.
All my love,
If you’d like a bonus tip on preparing for your lifestyle session, head over to my blog about how to prepare to be photographed to find out!
I once photographed myself and my husband at home, check it out here!