Prep Guide

In-Home Family Lifestyle Session


I’m so excited for your in-home family lifestyle session! I love photographing families and I’m so honored you’ve chosen me to tell your story.  I’ve created this guide to answer all of your questions and to help you prepare for your session. 

In-Home Family Lifestyle Session

There’s something special about in-home sessions.  Capturing images of your family in your own environment allows me to tell your story in a relaxed and casual way, capturing the connection between you and your family.  Whether it’s snuggling on the couch, reading a favorite book or making breakfast together, I just love the unique images we can create in the comfort of your own home.

I personally like to take a bit of a stylized approach to in-home family lifestyle sessions.  We will spend about two hours doing the things your family loves most but in good light, wearing coordinating clothes, in a tidy home.  These sessions are authentic and true to your family, even if we do a few things to make it look like your very best day at home. 

What to Expect

Before your session, I will send out a questionnaire which will help me get to know you and your family a bit better.  It will give me insight into your interests, what a typical day looks like for you and your family and where you spend the most time together when you’re at home together.  Prior to your session, we’ll choose a few authentic-to-your-family activities, talk about what to wear so you look and feel your best and answer any additional questions you may have.  We can either chat on the phone or converse through email (whichever you prefer).

On the day of your session, I’ll arrive at your home and spend a bit of time getting to know your children before I take out my camera.  I’ll take a look around and choose which rooms will work best for our session.  I typically like to focus on areas with good light that you and your family spend the most time in, such as the kitchen, living room and bedrooms.  During the session, you’ll go about your activities and I’ll move around the room documenting your family as your story unfolds.  In-home sessions are casual and relaxed.  Laugh and have fun, your only job is to be yourself!  I suggest turning off your phone, playing some music and loving on your family for the duration of our session.  Remember, the activities we choose are a jumping off point, as opposed to a set schedule.  Ultimately, we will follow your children’s lead and let our time together unfold naturally.  We can always stop for snacks, take a break (without the camera) or give children a moment alone if needed. 

After the session, I will send you a sneak peek of a few of my favorite images within 48 hours.  In the following weeks, I’ll create a gallery showcasing the best images that tell your story.  Your online gallery with all your retouched, high resolution digital images be ready about 4 weeks after your session. 

Preparing Your Home

Your house doesn’t need to be spotless but I do recommend tidying your home like you would if company were coming over.  De-cluttering surfaces beforehand will help minimize distractions.  Anything that is out on the day of your session will be photographed.  If that pile of mail on the kitchen counted drives you nuts?  Put it away.  If you want to remember all the beloved stuffies laying around the house?  Leave them there.  Ultimately, this is your story so it’s up to you to decide whether you want a more curated representation of your home or whether you want to embrace the beautiful chaos that often comes along with having children.

Preparing Children

You can help prepare your children by telling them that a new friend is coming over and will take some photos of your family.  Children are encouraged to be themselves during the session.  There is no need to tell them to smile or look at the camera during our session.  We’re going to laugh and play, have lots of fun and make memories!

What to Wear

Before choosing what to wear for your session, consider the following factors:

  • Your personal style.  Do you love to dress up?  Or are you more comfortable in casual clothes?

  • The decor, style and colors in your home.

  • Begin with the end in mind.  Decide beforehand how you want to display your final images.  If your goal is to have art to hang on your walls, think about which color palette will best suit the decor in your home.

Style Tips (for Her)

Choose an outfit that you would wear around the house on a day you’re expecting company.  Jeans or linen pants paired with a shirt or blouse work perfectly for an in-home session.  Pairing an accessory or two with your outfit can really help bring some extra dimension to your images and be a nice tie-in when you’re coordinating with the rest of the family.  I also recommend light make-up and hair styled down.

Style Tips (for Him)

Long, fitted pants (linen, khakis or jeans) paired with a solid colored shirt or light sweater works best on camera.  Solid colors are most complimentary whereas patterns, graphics and logos tend to distract the eye.

Coordinating the Crew

You will look most put together and cohesive on camera when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate but don’t actually match.  By choosing pieces of clothing that fit together you will create more visual interest in your images.  The goal of coordinating a family is to visually break up the colors and shades so that you’re not all wearing the same color on top and bottom.  I encourage you to think about planning each outfit with “dominant colors” and “accent colors”.  When you’re planning each family member’s outfit, aim for each person to have a different dominant color, then bring in and vary the accent color to tie everything in.

The camera loves shades of muted blues, grays and sophisticated light neutrals like heather grey, creams and leather brown for “dominant colors”.  A pop of mustard, forest green or coral makes a beautiful “accent color” to incorporate into your images.  

One Final Note

I know I just gave you a lot to think about!  I created this guide to help make your in-home family lifestyle session an experience you’ll look back on with fondness.  At the end of the day, a perfectly tidy home and the outfits you wear won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you make together.  I want your session to be a time for you to be yourself, have fun, laugh and enjoy each other.  I’ll take care of all the rest!