Best Tips to Prepare for Successful In-Home Photos

Jul 5, 2024 | Tips & Tricks

Foreground focus on a vase of white flowers, with a blurred couple laughing in the background in a cozy, warmly lit room with a green wall.

As I’ve begun to transition my family photo sessions to be primarily in-home, I’ve found that having a resource for folks to refer to in preparing for their session is super helpful. Many people have a few reservations about having their family photos taken in their homes. I’m here to assuage your fears and help you get ready!

A joyful moment captured between a man and woman as they gently touch foreheads and smile, sharing an intimate connection. The background features soft, blurred greenery.

Why In-Home?

First, let’s talk a little about why in-home photo sessions may be a great fit for your family.

Comfort & Safety

The best way to look comfortable in your family photos is to actually be comfortable. Think about it – where do you and your family feel the most comfortable? Most likely it’s in your own home! If you have small children, you’ve most likely set up your home to be the safest place for them. You’re less likely to worry about them hurting themselves when you’re in the safety of your own home.

Your Home is a Reflection of You

Whether it’s conscious or not, your home reflects you and your personality. All the little things that decorate your home, all the color choices you’ve made, they all speak to your likes and dislikes. While we all have things we don’t like about our homes, your living space is an important reflection of your life right now in this moment in time. It’s worth capturing and remembering. Your home provides the truest, most authentic backdrop to your family photos.

A black and white photo of a wall decorated with framed artworks of a heart and flora, hanging wicker baskets, and various small wall ornaments.

Not Weather-Dependent

One of the most freeing things about having your photo session in your home is that the time and date of your session are not weather-dependent. Here in Wisconsin, we really only have a few months of the year that are conducive to outdoor photos. I don’t like to be confined by temperature or precipitation! It’s so helpful for planning your photos when we won’t have to reschedule because of the weather. Of course, if you’d like some pictures outside, I’m happy to include your yard in your session as well. But it truly is wonderful to not have to obsessively check the weather forecast for days leading up to your session!

An outdoor scene showing a wooden deck with a small cactus in the foreground, surrounded by pebbles. In the background, partial views of two people standing on the deck are visible.

Preparing Your Home

Now that I’ve (hopefully!) convinced you to have your family photos in your home, let’s talk about how to prepare your home.

Clear Clutter

Listen, the thought of cleaning my whole house for pictures makes me feel overwhelmed, too. That’s why I’m here to give you permission to not clean everything. Just clearing clutter will make the biggest difference. The great thing is we won’t be taking photos in every room, so feel free to shove that clutter somewhere we won’t see. And hey, if you want to deep clean your house for this occasion, far be it from me to tell you not to!

Clean in Stages

If you have multiple rooms that we’ll be using and they’re all filled with clutter, cleaning in stages is a great approach. The last thing I want is for you to feel worn out from all the cleaning leading up to your photos. Take it one step at a time and try to divide the tasks over a few days before your session.

A black and white photo of a couple holding hands across a table, with one person holding a coffee cup. the atmosphere is intimate with a focus on their interlocked hands.

Maximize Natural Light

While our session doesn’t have to rely on bright sunlight, it’s always nice to maximize any natural light your home gets. So go ahead and open all those curtains and blinds and let the light shine in! I can and will supplement the natural light as needed, but this will give us a great starting point.

Little Touches

It’s nice to add some little touches like fresh flowers or candles, but don’t sweat it if you don’t think of it. These things just add to the ambiance of your home. It can be fun to dress up your everyday space!

Foreground focus on a vase of white flowers, with a blurred couple laughing in the background in a cozy, warmly lit room with a green wall.

Embrace Imperfections

We all have those things we’d change about our homes (especially if you have kids or pets!), but now is not the time to dwell on those imperfections. In fact, I encourage you to embrace them as part of where you are in your family and life journey right now. That outdated kitchen you’ve been wanting to remodel? It’s a reminder that your funds have gone to raising a family instead of updating your countertops (ok, maybe that one was just a personal reminder to myself). In any case, we’re aiming to capture the love your family has for each other, so try not to worry too much about the state of your home.

Preparing Your Family

Ok, so your house looks great, now what about your family? It’s actually quite simple, so take a deep breath and read on!

Wear Comfortable clothes

A while back I wrote an entire post about what to wear in your family photo session. However, that post assumes you are having an outdoor session in a place that’s unfamiliar to you. For an in-home session, we’re after comfort. If you need a guidepost, dress like you’re having company over. But that’s not a hard and fast rule either. If you’d prefer to wear your pajamas, go for it. I actually prefer it when families are barefoot for their photos because it just shows an extra level of comfort.

Pets are welcome

I absolutely love including your pets in your family photos! After all, they are part of your family. So by all means, bring them out and get them all photo-ready, too. I have no pet allergies, so don’t worry about deep cleaning the pet dander either.

Set Phones aside

The best way to be fully engaged with your family is to set your phone aside. I don’t mind if you play some music on it to set the scene, but let’s keep it out of range for the pictures. Even if it’s in a pocket, it can be a distraction or will look like weird bulges in photos, so it’s best to just put it on a table in another room.

Relax & Be Yourselves

Overall, my biggest piece of advice for in-home family photos is to relax and just be yourselves! I will direct you somewhat, but when it comes down to it, we all just want to capture you and your family’s love for one another. I intentionally set a slow pace for my sessions so that we can do just that. So take a deep breath, relax, and just enjoy each other’s company. I promise it will be so worth it.

A close-up photo of a seated person wearing a black shirt and jeans, focusing on their tattooed forearm and hand with a ring, set against a soft dark background.


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Hi! This is my little corner of the internet. Have a little peak around to find all sorts of tips & tricks as well as family session faves.


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