Getting Your Home Ready for A Winter Family Photo Experience
Updated: Apr 20
Winter is very wet here in the Fraser Valley and having a photo experience at home is such a great alternative to taking your pictures in the rain.
The home you live in may not strike you as being particularly photogenic, but think about how many of your childhood memories revolve around the house you grew up in. It’s the ideal backdrop.
Preserving the memory of your family’s home life together forever is a great idea. But wherever you have your family photographs taken, the backdrop can make or break each photo, so it’s worth having a think about the best backdrops in your home beforehand.
When I’m looking for backdrops in the great outdoors I’m looking for backgrounds that will enhance the photographs, but not distract from the people in it. Choosing backdrops at home is no different.
To prepare your home for your lifestyle photoshoot you can do as little or as much cleaning as you want! The beauty of lifestyle is that it’s documenting real life. Personally, I don’t like clutter/mess in photos and would want finished photos to show a clean, open space. But maybe that’s not your preference or lifestyle and that’s okay! De-cluttering a bit is always a good idea which can be as easy as grabbing a basket or two and shoving all of the clutter out of the frame. The main tip I have to offer is just to make sure the house is ready prior to my arrival to maximize the time you have for the photo session.
Here are some tips for getting your home ready for a family photo experience with me or you could also use them when you’re taking your own photographs at home.
1. Find the best rooms to photograph in
First of all, don’t worry about getting the whole house prepared – it’s unlikely we’ll use every room. Typically there are three spaces I’ll use – the living room, the master bedroom and (if there’s a baby in the family) the nursery or the Kitchen if the family wants to have some fun together. Focus your energy on preparing these two or three spaces.
What if you don’t want to use one or all of these spaces? Not to worry – let’s have a chat about the other spaces we could use and find two or three that you’d love to have photographs taken in. I don’t recommend having only one room where we photograph – it won’t give us enough variety in your photos, but we think of spaces where the family normally gets together or have fun together, these rooms would be the ideal room to capture memories in!
2. Preparing the bedroom
I love using the master bedroom for sessions – the bed provides a wonderful, big space for everyone to snuggle on. So that your lovely family is the main focus of the photographs I recommend using neutral bed linen – white works particularly well. Having said that, it’s also nice to have a little pop of colour – perhaps from cushions or a throw in a contrasting colour.
The other spots to check in bedrooms are bedside tables and the backs of doors. I’m also guilty of always having a not-so-tidy bedside table, and as much as that is life, it doesn’t make a pretty photograph. I recommend keeping the tables as clear as possible and perhaps choosing a few books, a candle, an alarm clock or flowers to keep out.
3. Check the other rooms for clutter
Clutter is usually an inevitable part of family life, so before the session check the rooms we’ll be using for anything you wouldn’t want to appear in your photographs – paperwork, laundry, remote controls, laptops, games consoles…etc. My aim is to give you a memory of the best bits of family life and show where your family is creating memories, and having these bits and pieces out of the way will make those memories all the sweeter.
If you’re lucky enough to have an outside space at home, make the most of it! If your children love to play in the garden then capture the adventures they get up to.
4. Find a Safe Hiding Place for Toys
It can be hard for young children to enjoy a photo shoot when they can see all of their favourite things out of the corner of their eye! Having said that toys and books can make a wonderful addition to photographs. I suggest choosing some toys and books that you’d like to include in the photographs (hard back books and wooden toys work particularly well) and then making sure everything else is safely tucked away out of sight.
5. Including Pets
Pets are certainly the most stubborn family members. It is mandatory to make a series of photos with pets interacting with some members and all of them, as well as capturing the pet’s energy and happiness around the family.
I love furry friends and know how important they are to many families. I love capturing the bond between families and their pets (unless it’s a tarantula, snake or a rat – eeek)! So have Fido and Fifi camera ready as well.
Basically, the best way to prepare for your in home family photo experience is just to be yourself. It will be a fun, lighthearted time for you to play with your pets and bond with your children while I capture some lasting memories! Especially interesting will be pictures of smiling children playing with their pets.
5. Planning Your Photoshoot Outfit
The outfit you wear for a photoshoot can make or break the final photo! When planning my photoshoot outfits I always consider the look and aesthetic I am going for, then carefully plan outfits accordingly.
It’s essential to also consider the colours you will be wearing. Do they match the aesthetic of the room we will be shooting in? Planning your photo shoot outfit in advance will make things much easier for you on the day of your photoshoot. Do the clothes you’ve picked out convey the message you are trying to say with this particular shoot?
6. Plan Your Hair and Makeup
When drawing inspiration and planning your photoshoot consider in advance what vibe, aesthetic and look you are going to go for. This includes planning your hair and makeup!
Depending on what look you’re going for you may need a decent amount of time to get your hair and makeup ready for your home photoshoot.
Spend the time researching how you will do your hair and makeup for your home photoshoot in advance so you’re prepared when it’s shoot day!
Instead of telling your kids that a photographer is coming to your house for a photo shoot, tell them that a nice guy is going to come by with his camera and take some pictures while we play, snuggle, and read (or make cookies, play in the backyard, etc). Since this is a lifestyle family photo experience I will be focusing on the connection between you and your little people just being yourselves!
Don’t get hung up on trying to pose perfect images. Instead, try and capture what’s happening naturally. Relaxed, informal images will give a much truer representation of the memories you’re capturing.
Here’s where the fun happens! Since you’re doing this photoshoot at home by yourself you can have lots of fun with different poses, getting creative, and taking all the time you need to get a few photos you really like.
Sometimes I like to go into photoshoots with pose ideas saved, but usually also ask my customers to bring photos of something similar to what they are looking for.
One of the biggest tips I’ve learned over time is that the best photos are captured when the family is engaged in some kind of activity; cooking, baking, playing a board game, dance parties, reading books, sink baths if you have a new little one or even just cuddling on the sofa or a big bed. Those candid, natural moments of family life at home is most important for me to capture!
8. Pop the Heating On
This one is just for families with young kids or babies. Usually, when there’s a young kid in the family we’ll focus some of the session on capturing the lovely details that you’ll want to remember – chubby thighs and their lovely baby feet to name a few. When we do this your baby will usually only have a vest or nappy on, and a nice warm house will help to keep them happy!
9. Final Words
Remember, family photography is all about telling stories and having fun. I hope you’ve found the tips above useful and that they help you to capture your own story.
I want to capture your family interacting, giggling, and simply having fun together. Those candid, natural moments of family life at home is most important for me to capture! You’ll be rewarded with beautiful images that you’ll cherish for years to come.
I’d love to know what other questions you have about having a family photography session with me.