We’ve been seriously crushing on in-home family portrait sessions for quite some time now. As primarily outdoor portrait photographers, we love the change of pace that in-home sessions provide - the cozy, intimate, and laid back vibes are drool-worthy! And even beyond that, there are a slew of other benefits to hosting your family portrait session in your own home. In this post, we’re going to break down our thoughts on family portrait sessions including the perks, some considerations, and prep tips!
Why in-home sessions are awesome
In-home portrait sessions can be an amazing way to celebrate your family, no matter how big or how small. They are perfect for newborn portraits, couple sessions, pet photos, and lifestyle family portraits (think of the kids playing in their playroom, or everyone collectively decorating the Christmas tree). They're even great for professionals like Realtors or creatives, who would benefit from a lifestyle approach to their headshots. But no matter what it is you want documented in an in-home portrait session, there are some great benefits to going this route.
The comfort. There’s something really magical that happens when you come home. Within those four walls, you find peace. And in our experience, that wave of peace is absolutely reflected in the photos that we capture of you in your own space. Especially if you have little ones or pets that will be involved in your portraits, that sense of familiarity can go a long way. And the part that's very practical about in-home sessions with little ones: their favorite toys are within reach if a major meltdown starts happening.
The ease of scheduling. Don’t get us wrong; we love outdoor portraits. There’s not much that beats a beautiful golden hour shot, in our opinion. However, working outdoors does have its drawbacks: having to depend on the weather, scheduling to take advantage of the small window of “best light” during the day, and being out in a public space all take their toll on scheduling a portrait session. By going in-home, you eliminate most of those challenges. So whether it’s the dead of winter with 6 inches of snow on the ground or we're in the middle of a thunderstorm on an oppressively-humid New Jersey summer day, you know that you won’t be too affected by that for your session. And in-home sessions also allow us to be more flexible around session timing; we can work with natural light throughout the day for your portrait session - even harsh noontime light isn’t a problem if we’re inside!
The biggest consideration we’d want to make sure you have time to think through is this: an in-home portrait session is going to feel intimate. And while we think this leads to beautiful portraits, we acknowledge that not everyone loves the thought of inviting people into their safe space to photograph and document all the goings-on. For some people, showing off your home in photos can be uncomfortable, and we absolutely understand and respect those personal boundaries!
When we visit your family for your in-home session, we want you to know that you are still in control of the whole experience. You decide what rooms we take photos in and which doors remain closed - because let’s face it, we all have that guest room filled with old boxes we still haven’t unpacked from the move years ago… or is that just us?! We’ll help you try to prep your home and plan which rooms might be the best suited for portraits (more on this below), but at the end of the day you get to pick how much of your home is shown in these portraits.
Tips to make the most of your in-home portrait session
If you’ve made it this far, we really hope that you’re seriously considering an in-home portrait session for your family! But before you run off to our contact form to book it, we want to leave you with a few more tips to help prepare your home for portraits and to get the most out of your investment.
Clean and declutter. Like we said above, it’s totally fine to only focus on 1-2 rooms for your portraits - so there’s no need to go on a full cleaning spree! And we’ll never know (or judge) if you’re hiding all the extra stuff in a guest room or closet somewhere…
Turn off all the lights. This is a practical step that we always take when we start the session to try to control the “color” of light in the photo. But it’s a great thing for you to do ahead of time just to make sure the room(s) you want to have your portraits in are getting enough natural light through the windows - though if you’re nervous that it's a bit too dim, it’s not the end of the world! Let us know ahead of time and we’ll be sure to bring some lighting options to supplement the lack of natural light.
Still not sure that an in-home portrait session is right for you?
In-home sessions aren't the perfect fit for all of our clients, and we commit to working with you to find the session that is the right fit to tell your family's story. If hosting a portrait session in your house doesn't sound appealing, that's totally fine! We have lots of other amazing locations that we've worked at throughout the New Jersey area that we'd be happy to share with you!
If you're looking for a family portrait photographer in New Jersey and greater Philadelphia area, we'd love to chat! Click here to start the conversation :)