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10 Steps to Prepare your Home for an In-Home Family Photo Shoot…

As a photographer, I absolutely love working in my client’s homes. There is no place that families feel more comfortable and fully relaxed. In-home photography tells a story about real life. It can be compelling to view these images, as this is a perfect location for lifestyle family photography, as these portraits have a certain authenticity and documentary feel.

For newborns and babies, another bonus to having your photo shoot take place right inside your home is that you have everything you need in case of accidents/ wardrobe changes or even lipstick touch ups. The options of shooting at home are endless, whether having the family cuddle up in the master bed, or photographing kids jumping on their beds and showing me their cool toys, or capturing the baby’s nursery that thought and design went into.

Having a photographer create portraits in your home can also be intimidating. You may feel the need to stage your home for your photos. As a photographer, it is my job to make your home look good. More importantly, it is my job to make your family look good, and the surrounding scenery to enhance your photos and not distract.

Here are some steps to prepare your home for a photo shoot:

  1. Find the rooms that are the most light filled

    When I enter a home for the first time, I first ask for a tour that will allow me to assess the light in each room. I bring additional light sources to use when necessary and fill in, but I love having natural window light as the main light source. Chances are, the rooms that are the most light-filled during the time that your photo shoot will be will be the ones that are used the most.


    Lifestyle photo of mother in nursery with her new baby
  2. Tidy up before your shoot, but DON’T SWEAT IT

    It seems pretty obvious… the less clutter, the less distractions in your photos. I say don’t sweat it because I typically end up moving things around anyway, clearing objects off of tables, moving coffee tables out of the way, taking pictures off of walls to keep the focus where it belongs– on the family and the connection.

    New parents already have a lot going on, so don’t let the idea of thoroughly cleaning your home before your photographer arrives add to your list of things to do. Believe me, I have seen homes in all different states of moving/ organization/ new baby arrival so I do not expect a sparkling clean home!
  3. Open the blinds/ shutters

    This is one thing that I always do when working in a room. All of the shutters are opened, blinds are lifted if possible, and curtains open. If you look at my portfolio, you will notice that I shoot with a lot of clean, bright light. I often position families in front of windows to get a “backlight” effect. The light behind the families is bright and white and again creates a simple image where the focus is on the gesture of the subjects.


    Newborn yawns
  4. Have light colored or white bedding on the master bed, or a larger guest bed in a light-filled room (for newborns, babies and small children)

    Dark colors compete with skin tones and clothing, so in order to keep the highlight of the image the people in it, I like to keep the surroundings as light as possible. Beds are a great place to get a family cozy and relaxed, so I love having the family snuggle up on a bed together.


    Family photography with pets
  5. Consider pulling out some timeless toys and special books to use in your photos

    A sweet photo is always dad reading the kids a special book that you may use in real life. When you look back at the photos, you’ll remember just about having that book memorized after reading it time and time again.

    If your kids are small, pull out some more timeless toys that can be incorporated into the photos. When we work in their room, they will often want to show me their toys, which can make really sweet photos. Ipads don’t look so great in photos, but soft stuffed animals, rocking horses, toy trucks and airplanes do! For ideas on incorporating classic toys into an adorable kids room, don’t be afraid to consult a professional interior designer through a design service like Havenly. Because it’s online, they can easily answer all of your last minute questions and help create the perfect photo-worthy child’s room.


  6. Take inventory of any special items or blankets that you would like to use

    If there is a special quilt that someone made or has been in the family for a while, or a chair that you used as a child, as the photographer to use it in your shoot. This adds to the sentimental value of your photos, and can make your great aunt really proud if her blanket makes the shot!


    Beautiful Baby Girl in Photo
  7. If you have a beautiful kitchen, as the photographer to use it!

    Kitchen remodels are something to show off. If you have a kitchen that you love, suggest using it in your photo shoot. I love putting a (sitting) baby in a sink-bath by a sunny window. Or having the family gather in the kitchen to make cookies.


    a sink bath with rubber ducks
  8. Plants and flowers

    Plants and flowers add a pop of color to your photos. Fresh flowers on the counter or by the bed look beautiful in photos and add some interest.
  9. If you have a baby, take the bumper off of the crib

    I typically always do a crib shot. For newborns as well as for older babies that can pull up to standing by holding onto the rails. For both of these shots, I prefer to take off the crib bumper.


    Newborn baby in his crib
  10. Clean up the doo doo around the yard 🙂

    Here in Charlotte, NC, we have a long season for outdoor photos, since it is warm out most of the year. Even in the dead of winter, we get nice days. I always like to bring families that I am photographing outside for some portraits. In order to avoid any accidents, it is a good idea to clean up any doggy landmines around the yard before your shoot! It may save a shoe, or a bare foot 🙂

 

Photo Shoot for a Beautiful Charlotte Baby Girl

I am always so honored when someone chooses me to photograph their baby. There are a lot of great photographers in Charlotte NC, and being asked to document this special time in a family’s life is something that I do not take lightly. My favorite baby photo session location is to work in their own home, both for newborn babes and 6 month olds, or once baby starts to sit up unassisted. There are so many expressions and fun things to do with that age.

I have had people ask me my favorite age of babies to photograph, and I have to say that newborn, or under 2 or 3 weeks, then around 6 months, and again around a year. Each age has its unique qualities for photography. Newborns are just amazing because they are SO little, and grow by the hour it seems. It is special to me, as a photographer, to capture newborns with their families, the way mom and dad look at their new baby, and how baby follows the sound of their parents’ voices. The connection with older siblings and family pets is also so sweet to document. I love posing sleepy newborns and getting the perfect posed shots as well. My style is more organic, so I don’t like to do anything too crazy or unnatural with poses, but come on… sleepy newborns are adorable! And then there are the six to nine month old ranges that are equally fun to photograph, but in a different way. These babies are full of expressions… smiles, pouts, and make gestures that are so great to capture. Once the teeny tiny teeth start coming in… watch out for cuteness overload! I can’t really choose a favorite age between these two, they are both so amazing in different ways.

Here are some photos from an almost-one-year-old cutie taken in her home, with a modern lifestyle flavor. She was full of bright expressions and completely stole my heart. I love getting shots of her in her crib. And the sink bath!!! My heart is so full when I see these pictures, and I know that her family will treasure them forever.

Cutest baby expressionBaby in Sink Bath

Beautiful Charlotte Newborn Baby Photo Shoot

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I have several sessions that I really want to share. I had the opportunity to photograph this Charlotte family as they welcomed their first baby… an adorable newborn with lots of hair! This is one of the rare families that is actually from Charlotte. They are kind and loving parents and have big dreams for their baby. They couldn’t resist including their dog in their family photos… after all, she is part of the family too!

It was so much fun to work on this shoot. And check out how strong this baby is… he was holding up his head to look around at a week old!

A Perfect Maternity Photo Shoot

I LOVE it when I get a call from a pregnant mama that tells me they want to have maternity portraits done but that the dad hates having his picture taken and is less than thrilled. You know why?? Because those dads end up being so much fun to work with. Before we begin our shoot, I set the expectation… be ready to be silly, have fun, and trust me that your pictures will turn out ok. I also tell them not to look at me unless I ask them to. Then the fun starts. While we are shooting, I like to give a lot of direction. I feel like it actually makes people feel more relaxed. If I told them “pretend that I am not here”… well… that is kind of difficult and awkward when there’s a photographer with a big lens pointed at you. It’s really hard to pretend I’m not there! Plus, everyone wants to look their best in pictures, so if your neck is doing something wonky, or you are positioned in a way that is not flattering, I feel like it’s my job to be the eyes that keep everyone looking gorgeous. And also having fun! We do a lot of games during my family and maternity photo shoots. I ask questions such as “What is the best breakfast in Charlotte?” and have them decide. Or…. “whose sense of humor do you hope your baby gets”. Being a yoga teacher, I think this helps me to get people to relax in front of the camera, even if it’s guiding them through some breath work as I photograph them. Everyone looks more relaxed and radiant on a deep exhale. During maternity photo shoots, there is always a moment where the connection between the parents is so palpable, and the photos that result are magical.

I really enjoyed working with this couple. The “I don’t want to have my picture taken” awkwardness dissipated within seconds and we had a great time. I am so thankful for the chance to work with you K family Maternity Photo Shoot KissPregnancy photo shoot Charlotte NCBaby bump photographyMaxi dress maternity photo shoot Charlottepregnant Charlotte mom photographyExpecting Charlotte couple photography

Really fun newborn shoot with two mamas

I first met this family when I worked on little G’s 18 month portraits, a couple of years ago. They ended up being some of my favorite photos of all time and all over my website. I couldn’t get over her little cupid’s bow mouth and whimsical adorableness. Fast forward two years and I hear that they are expecting again and want me to document their growing family! I was so curious if there would be a boy added to the mix, as it had been 3 girls! And…. it’s a boy! And what a darling boy he is too!

Newborn photo shoots tend to take a while, with a lot of feeding breaks and diaper changes and spit ups, so I get to spend some time getting to really know the family. We talked about how it is to have two moms raising children. In some of the more conservative communities in Charlotte, same sex couples are out of the ordinary, and they get inquisitive looks when meeting their neighbors for the first time. But there are huge advantages too… they parent equally with that nurturing sense that two mothers have. They take turns getting up at night, changing diapers, caring for their babies. Of course, I have seen lots of dads that can be just as involved, not to take away from them. They said that the disadvantage for having lesbian mothers, especially for their little boy, is that when he falls in love one day, it may scare his future wife to know that she has two mother in laws… one can be intimidating enough! 🙂

These portraits are full of love and openess that their family embodies. My favorite photos are the ones of big sister G with her baby brother. How she holds him, looks at him. She is so gentle with him and absolutely adores him. Each time I sat down to edit these photos, I couldn’t help but smile.

THANK YOU S and V for having me document your beautiful, growing family.

XO
Becca

Big sister holds baby brotherBaby boy Big sister touching baby's headSame Sex Family newborn photo shoot
Adorable toddler lifestyle portraitBaby Feet in black and whiteLifestyle Family Portrait with NewbornLifestyle Portrait of baby and and sisterGorgeous photo of sister and brotherNewborn Photo shoot

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