In-home family photography is rising in popularity, but many photographers feel confused about how to photograph families in any home with creativity and confidence.
**This family was moving the week of our session, so their entire loft apartment was covered in boxes aside from this one room they cleared. We had one floor to ceiling window on a dark winter morning, but were able to shoot the entire session from this space.
Photographers have the power to shift consumer expectations positively about what family photos are “supposed” to look like. By getting creative with your environment and being open to spaces beyond picture-perfect fields and aesthetic, curated props, you can open the door for different markets to see themselves in your work.
These tips will help you start to navigate homes with a sense of excitement, openness and creativity. With new eyes for opportunity, you can shoot everywhere from apartments to mansions, beach condos to cabins.
**This corner of the couch was the only section of the home we could use. The family was in the middle of a renovation of several rooms, the contents of those spaces were flooding into the rest of the house. There was a large window on the left, but the fall-off was significant. I removed some picture frames from behind the couch for a cleaner background and shot tight, instigating prompts and posing that would have them facing towards the window. After about 5-10 minutes here, we did the rest of the session in the backyard!
Every home has windows and doors, so there is SOMETHING you can use no matter what.
For homes that are particularly dark or don’t have a lot of flexibility for different rooms, walk through at the beginning of a session and notice the pockets of light.
Can you open doors and let in more light? Maybe use the doorways themselves as a place to pose?
**This home was incredibly dark because it was surrounded by a ton of trees. By opening these french doors, I was able to pose the family here with great light and the kids surrounding their mama.
**This nursery was SO tiny and the one window light in the room was directional into the crib. After noticing the beautiful way it shined onto the baby’s sheets, I decided to silhouette this moment for impact around the connection between the brother and his new sister.
Don’t confine yourself to master bedrooms and living rooms! Hallways, kitchen floors, and kids’ bedrooms can all work for your session.
Constraints breed creativity, so once you’ve found the best light, look for how you can use those rooms as unique starting points for your posing.
**For this session with 2, we used rooms like the kitchen table, the daughter’s bedroom, and a living room corner chair as starting points for posing with the light and authentic interaction for life with 2 rambunctious kids!
Photographing in lesser-used or uncommon spaces in the home may feel intimidating, but think about how your family uses similar spaces in your own home for inspiration.
When we are not being photographed, kids climb on counters, dads lay down on the floor with kids piled on top, and moms kick their feet over the side of a chair with kids wrapped around them. Notice your behavior with furniture, spaces, and people.
See those interactions as an opportunity to draw truly authentic posing into your sessions.
Then, it can unfold into something that feels candid and natural.
**My kids are always sitting on the counter while we cook together – it’s just a super casual, fun place they seem to feel comfortable. I know this is not unique and kitchens are often the hub of a home, so I love looking for ways to incorporate that space!
**This image was shot in a hallway between a kitchen and a bathroom. No space off limits!
Sometimes, the opportunities for well-lit and clear spaces are slim. Think about how you can use leveling to utilize whatever is available.
Shoot from overhead on a colorful rug. Put kids on top of a table or in the window ledge.
**shot on a bedroom window ledge behind a set of white curtains
*shot on a living room rug!
Whether it’s laundry baskets on the bed, furniture in front of a great window, or picture frames on the wall, don’t be afraid to clear and adjust the surroundings for cleaner lines or background.
This isn’t about being “documentary.” It’s about creating images with feeling – empowerment, romance, silliness, strength or whatever other threads you want to pull on for your clients.
It’s ultimately about the people. This means we can confidently adjust elements in the environment to enhance the people and communicate a stronger visual message.
**These were shot in the baby’s tiny nursery. The crib was originally positioned in front of this wall, but I moved it for a few images where we could get a clean wall that would really make this mama’s radiance stand out.
**These 2 photos were taken in the same spot, but I just moved this gorgeous blue chair into the best light for the image on the left.
If you’d like more behind-the-scenes walkthroughs from my sessions along with community conversation and practical business and marketing advice, join my private Facebook group for lifestyle family photographers!
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