family of four stands in doorway in denver home

Family Photography

How to Prepare your Home for an In Home Photography Session

Stress-free In Home Photography Sessions

Tips to Prepare Your Home for Your Photography Session

There’s this old photograph that I stumbled upon in my dad’s collection (which is most likely some sort of old cardboard box)…it is of him and another man on what I think is a canoeing trip while he was in his 20s. From my memory, my dad and this other guy have mustaches and beards and it looks a little bit chilly.

I love this photograph because it reminds me of the camping and rafting trips I go on with my friends. I also love seeing what my dad wore to deal with the elements of his trip. And I love scouring the background for more clues about this trip…I think there may be an open beer bottle, maybe some fishing gear.

And this sums up one of the main reason I love in home family photography sessions. The background of your home helps tell your family’s story. You, your spouse/partner, or your children will one day look  back at these pictures. In addition to seeing the love, they will feel nostalgia over a couch or a toy or a piece of artwork. Your home will reinforce the emotions that viewers have towards the images!

Of course, some parents stress out about having a photography session in their home. It’s too messy! It’s not Pinterest-worthy! It’s too small! The lighting stinks! But I am here to help you through all of that…keep reading for tips to help you prepare your home for an in home photography session.

1. I’m not going to lie…clearing clutter in your home is a good thing.

Having out elements that tell your story is a good thing, but piles and piles of old mail will help detract from it. Same goes for piles and piles of laundry…and piles and piles of anything. Hide clutter as best you can! I recommend putting away your children’s toys soon before I get there. If your little kids take some of them back out, just go with the flow. No need to get on edge or put them on edge before I arrive.

(I think this is the biggest tip to prepare your home for a successful in home photo session!)

2. …But deep cleaning your home is not necessary for your photo session.

If you don’t have time to vacuum under the couch cushions or even the floors, don’t worry about it. (I will not judge you if your carpet doesn’t have the lines of a freshly vacuumed floor.) If you can’t clean the bathroom sink or the toilet before I get there, it is okay.

a boy reaches out from behind shear curtains during an in home photography session

3. …Consider bedrooms.

Photos of your family snuggling in your bed (if your kids are young) are super cute. And young kids also love the treat of jumping on the bed while I am there! I recommend either making your bed or else just having white/plain sheets and pillows on it. (We can hide the comforter behind me.) I recommend the same thing in the children’s bedrooms.

4. …Consider couches.

Couches are great spaces for family photos. Do you have any throw pillows or blankets that you love or hate? Add them or remove them before I arrive.

5. …Consider lawns.

This isn’t much of a concern with winter photography, but oftentimes I will photograph clients in their front or backyards. If possible, having summer lawns mowed fairly recently is a good thing. And picking up dog poop so that your children (and yes, me too) don’t step in it during our session is a good thing year round.

6. …Finishing touches.

Fresh flowers on tables always look nice.

7. …And remember this.

When I photograph you and your family, I am primarily watching the light and how it hits your face. After that, I am scanning the setting behind you so that it looks as minimal as possible. This means that if you didn’t have time to prepare your home, I do my best to photograph in ways that minimize clutter. I may make suggestions that we should move something while I am there so that your photos look even better. So please don’t stress about the condition of your home when it comes to an in home family photography session!

To view a couple in home photography sessions, visit this Boulder, Colorado family photography blog post or this more recent Sayville, New York family photography with film blog post.

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I've been photographing families professionally since 2006. I am a wife, mama to 2 boys, companion to 2 cats who are named after members of the royal British family, a former preschool teacher. I love running, hiking 14ers, sparkly clothes, the band Phish, river float trips, St. John USVI, farm CSAs, and Colorado blue skies.