There are a few decisions to be made when doing a portrait session – what do I wear, what time will the light be best, what time will my kids be most cooperative, what will the KIDS wear, and of course, where do we do them? And you’ve got options, one of which a lot of folks dismiss immediately, but hear me out. We can do portraits in your home. Really.
You don’t have to have a fancy house, or a big house, or a spotless house, for this to be an option. I know this because I’m not the world’s best housekeeper (or interior designer), and I did portraits of our baby every month for his first year. At our house.
Okay, a few of the newborn ones were at the hospital, but my point stands. Here’s how I went about planning his little portrait sessions. First, decide where you want to shoot in your house. I always look for somewhere you can get a pretty clean background, and for good light (if you’ve got a nice big window, look for a clean background nearby, and you’re set.) Babies make this really easy to do, because they need so little space, but you can do the same thing with adults. For my little man, I knew we had a big window in the living room, with neutral sheers which I 100% bought for photography reasons. Anyway, once you pick a room or two, just straighten those ones up. Leave the rest of the house alone. In fact, you don’t even have to clean the entire room, just the side that you’re shooting toward. (I’m totally serious, and this is absolutely how I did a recent shoot with a family that was in the middle of packing for a move.)
If you’ve seen any of those “instagram versus reality” style posts, you know that what ends up in the frame isn’t the whole scene. Which means there are all sorts of great spots for photos around your home that you might not have even noticed. I did my own head shots on our stair landing, because there’s a window there and a nice white wall (and we don’t have a ton of white walls in our house). You probably wouldn’t immediately think “the stairs are a great spot for portraits!” But I also find myself pulling couples into shady looking alleys, and they trust that I have some idea what I’m doing, and are shocked later to see what you can turn a weird space into. Don’t discount your weird spaces!
There are some positives to doing sessions in-home, too, especially with younger kids. You’re all comfortable there, all of your stuff is there, and you’re documenting a space that’s a big part of your life. I not only got pretty portraits that remind me of what our little guy looked like when he first came home, I got portraits of him in his own nursery that we put together for him, interacting with his toys, in some of his favorite places. You can get plenty of variety in your photos still, we even did some studio style shots.
And hey, if you don’t get around to sweeping the floor, black and white covers a ton of sins.
Twelve photo sessions, and all of them were shot in our living room, nursery, bedroom, and backyard. With dishes in the sink, and dust bunnies well… look, we have two dogs, there are dust bunnies everywhere. There are plenty of great spots to do portrait sessions, no matter what kind of photos you’re looking for. Consider the space you call home.
newborn and maternity guide
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