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A Guide to In Home Sessions (and 3 Common Myths)

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

There's pretty much no place I'd rather capture a family than in their own home. Children are typically super comfortable and happy in their own spaces; we have convenient access to snacks, music, bathrooms - pretty much anything any member of the family might need; and home is just the best and most amazing place to capture the "essence" of families... it's so easy to see connection and bonds in the spaces we call home.

There are three common reasons clients tell me they don't think their homes are a good place for a session. I truly think these are misconceptions! Let's look at them below.

mother plays tea with daughter for lifestyle photographer

Myth 1: "My home is too dark for in-home photography."

There is always, ALWAYS light. I've been shooting home sessions for years, and I have never once been in a home that was too dark for in-home photos.

However, the first thing I tell clients about in-home photography is that they have to let go of expectations with regard to the spaces we will shoot in. I will always seek the best light in your home (honestly, I have to in order to give you high quality images), which may mean we end up shooting in unconventional spaces: I've captured families on their kitchen floors, in a patch of light in their entryway, in a pretty corner of their office, on their kid's beds. If necessary, I will rearrange furniture or get creative with arranging a space.

Myth 2: "I don't want to have to clean my house."

I get it. But here's the thing: you really DON'T need to deep clean for an in-home session. I am not going to poke my lens under your couch cushions or photograph your baseboards. Honestly, the camera doesn't pick up smudges on your walls and windows (toddler parents, gasp!) or dust bunnies on your floors.

My number one tip (and really, a please-do!) for in-home sessions is to sweep clutter off of your tables and countertops - throw your mail, cell phone chargers, dish rags, and other life clutter into a basket and stuff it in a closet for a few hours. I cannot stress enough how amazing this trick is for making your home look clean and tidy, AND it eliminates distractions in your photos.

Myth 3: "My home is not polished/pretty enough."

You do not need to have white walls, Joanna Gaines on speed dial, or a VIP Pottery Barn membership to have a home worthy of documenting your family in. Your home is YOUR home: no matter how you have styled (or not styled) it, it is the space and context for the majority of your family's memories. Some of my favorite in-home sessions have occurred in homes with children's scribbles on the walls, Goodwill furniture finds, and travel mementos stuffed in every nook and cranny. These homes had character, and were beautifully suited the families that lived in them.

family poses with dog in Arcadia home for lifestyle portraits

child washes hands in Arcadia home for family portrait

family plays in Arcadia home for family portraits

dog poses in Arcadia home for family portrait

Are You Available for In-Home Sessions?

Get in touch with me! It's typically easier to schedule an in-home session than an outdoor session because there are more suitable hours in a day to do them (typically between 9 am and 3 pm). I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have and give you information on my upcoming availability.

Laura Waugh is a lifestyle and documentary photographer based in Phoenix, Arizona.

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