How to prep for your in-home session

Preparing for an in-home photo shoot can be stressful. I fully understand that!

You want to make sure things look clean and tidy. I mean you’re inviting a stranger into your home and using it as the backdrop to the photos that you want to hang on your walls and print in albums and pass down to future generations, after all. No pressure or anything…

A beautiful apartment in Washington, DC. There is a dark green velvet couch as the centerpiece in the middle, and lots of art and flowers as decor.
The perfectly clean and stylized home of our dreams! (No, this is not what your house has to look like!)

As someone who wants to have a clean home and also never seems to find the time to do it, I can relate. And here’s what I have to say to you: it’s going to be ok.

I am not coming into your home to judge you. I know you’ve got a lot on your plate, so let me cut to the chase and tell you my top five tips for how to get your house ready for an in-home lifestyle shoot:

1. Tidy up the house (but don’t deep clean)!

I’m not your mother-in-law. I’m not here to judge whether or not the countertops are polished, the carpet is vacuumed, or the sheets have been washed. Just do a quick little sweep, put the toys in their baskets, and shove the laundry into the closet. We’re all human, we’ve all done it. Let’s give ourselves some grace.

Two photos from the same apartment. The top photo is an edited camera photo of two twin boys sitting in a teepee in their living room. The floor is clean and the toys are perfectly curated. The bottom photo is an iphone pic of the real scene. It's slightly wider so you can see that the walls have floor-to-ceiling shelves that are covered in bright, plastic toys.
What I see isn’t always what you see. All this needed was a quick little tidy and the stray toys are hidden from view!

2. Pull back those curtains and let the light in.

This is something I tell every single client, every single time we shoot. I’m a daylight photographer so we’ll want to get as much light in your home as possible. I’ll also work with you beforehand so we know which rooms get the best light and what the best time of day is for your home in particular.

Two photos from a lifestyle newborn session. Both photos are of a dad cradling his newborn daughter, who is wearing a pink ruffled onesie. Her legs are against his chest and her head is in his hands. There is a big window behind them, which provides nice light for the photos.
That window in the back is what’s giving this photo life and light!

3. Turn off and put away your electronics.

That means phones, tablets, Nintendo Switches, you get the idea. No need for distractions because this photoshoot is the entertainment for the day! Photo sessions with me are FUN, so there’s no need to have the TV on or a tablet at the ready. I promise you’ll be smiling and entertained without them!

(I don’t have a photo of this one because my clients know better!)

4. Don’t stress about fluffing pillows.

I said we’d have fun, right? Rules go out the window on photoshoot day, so prepare for some furniture climbing and bed jumping! I’m not opposed to a pillow fight or two in the name of controlled chaos.

Two photos from an in-home family session in Los Angeles. The photo on the left is of a brother and sister jumping on their brown leather couch. The photo on the right is a few moments later; the mom wraps her arms around her son and tickles him on the same couch.
Pillows are an easy thing to move around in photos for added texture and color (and they’re great for hiding stains or a strategically pulled pacifiers)!

5. Everything else is fair game and might end up in a photo!

Do you absolutely hate the dog crate in your living room or the pile of books on your bedside table? Highly recommend hiding them for the hour that I’m with you. I can work with certain lenses and different angles, but I’m not a magician.

Two photos from an in-home newborn session in New Jersey. The top photo is what you would see on Instagram - a husband and wife are cuddling their toddler while their newborn son sleeps in his swaddle on the bed in the foreground. You can tell that the bedside tables have been cleared. The second photo is closer to reality! The same toddler is piling all of his mom's postpartum supplies onto the bedside table.
Instagram vs. Reality – when it comes to life with a toddler, you better believe all your most embarrassing personal items are going to make it out for a little bit of show and tell. But don’t worry, I’ll hide everything when it comes time to start our session.

Look, I know my clients are real humans too. I don’t expect anyone to spend hours cleaning before a session or for everyone to live in pristine homes with no clutter. My goal is to make your life look beautiful, as simply as possible. And ultimately your home is just the backdrop, and your love and your family are the stars of the show, so let’s treat it that way! Trust that I’m going to guide you in the right direction and make sure your photographs are a beautiful keepsake.

I have many more tips about how to get your house ready, from lighting to ambience to how to compliment the colors in your home, so why don’t you schedule a session with me and let’s make some magic happen!

For Clients




How to prep for your in-home session

  1. […] gems and iconic landmarks, and you really can’t go wrong! And although I typically prefer in-home photo sessions, I get it, in the fall everyone wants to know where are the best outdoor photo locations in […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *