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Three Reasons Why Your Next Photo Session Should be at Home

It's tough to convince a family that their next photo session should be at home. Even I can't deny the appeal of a natural backdrop, golden sunlight, and fresh air. Take a look at my portfolio and you'll see for yourself: everyone wants an outdoor photo session. Just take a look at your collection of holiday cards and birthday invites and you'll see the same thing: a beautifully blurred-out natural background with a smiling toddler or family.

Your next photo session should be different. Do your next photo session at home. Whether you're a photographer looking to convince your clients or a family scheduling your next session, read on to find out why you'll love an at-home photo session as much as the little girl below did:


A photo session at home is comfortable and easy. You don't have to rush to get ready, get in the car, and drive. You can just get ready and wait for the photographer to arrive. Kids will appreciate showing off their toys and playing around in rooms and on their own furniture. Should moods go sour, snacks are just a room away in the kitchen. You never know what natural moment might occur as we explore your home--those day-to-day objects and routines often yield great candid photos.

At home, we also don't need to worry about the weather. It's always the same inside! That means we'll never need to worry about rescheduling (or arriving late!). I love the peace-of-mind of knowing that a session will occur no matter what's happening outside.

And if it's a nice day, we can always venture to the backyard or down the street to a park. In fact, you'd be amazed at how good a backyard can look.

Portrait sessions can bring all kinds of stress. There's no substituting the familiarity and comfort that being at home can bring to everyone's mood.

The little guy below loved being at home as we began our session:

You don't need to travel far for a great photo--I took this portrait on the side of their house:

This family has done three sessions at their home, always starting in their backyard. The girls love the ease and comfort of familiar surroundings:


At home, we can change anything we'd like to about each room we're in. Usually the worry about a session at home is the same: "Our place is too much of a mess!" Not to worry--we'll just move things. Too many toys cluttering a playroom? A quick clean-up will get everyone loose and focusing on something else. Is a picture frame poking out of someone's head? Take it off the wall. Do the end tables have too much stuff on them? Clean them off (or move them!). Want to include something special for each person? No need to load up the car--just grab it and take the photo. I never hesitate to move something if it'll make the photo better. We might do some light remodeling, but it will be worth it.

The best part about a session at home is the light. I can control the light! Often there's nothing more beautiful than the soft light from a big window, especially for portraits. By turning off the room lights and just using the window, we can get soft, wrapping light with subtle shadows. I can also use my speedlights to create light; I can help boost the light from a window, I can add colored light, I can relieve (or create!) shadows, you name it, I can create it inside. Outside, light is always changing; plus, the best light occurs right after sunrise and right before sunset, which can be limiting when it comes to scheduling. Inside, we can have amazing light at any time of day.

This little girl was photographed in her bedroom, and I just bounced the light from my speedlight off of the walls and ceiling:

Whether it's cloudy, sunny, or raining, we can always do a photo of everyone on the front porch steps:

Clean Images

With comfort and control come clean images. We can get rid of distracting elements and focus on what matters most: you. Family portraits don't need flowers, trees, waterfalls, or mountains; they need you. Save the picturesque landscapes for your vacation photos. Stay at home and get family portraits that are simple and clean.

In this family's backyard, I loved focusing on them rather than the surroundings:

Using the light from the french windows, I made a timeless, clean baby portrait:

Here's one of my all-time favorites--a simple bounce-flash, clear wall, and my beautiful daughter:

In the end, you can't beat an at-home session when it comes to clean images, controlling your surroundings, and keeping everyone comfortable. Dorothy has always had it right: "There's no place like home."

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