When I am preparing clients for their upcoming lifestyle photo session, I always send them back to this blog post. It is still super helpful and super relevant…BUT… the dang thing is almost 5 years old. I have shot a ton more lifestyle sessions and learned a lot more of what makes a session at home successful. So, I thought I would do a followup to the original…
Without further adieu, here are eight MORE keys to a successful lifestyle photo session…
- Your house is your home, it should be lived in.// This is probably the biggest concern that I get when talking to clients about having a photo session at home. Listen, I get it. I want my house to look good too. But, generally speaking, day to day my home looks like a bomb went off. That is life with kids (and pets). So here is the deal, I PROMISE you that your home doesn’t need to look perfect to shoot a session there. Sure, you should probably pick up a tad before I arrive but I fully expect there to be an obvious showing of life with kids in your home. That is what makes it YOUR home and not a staged show home. The kids artwork, overflowing bins of toys, scattered lovies and windows covered in fingerprints. It is all okay, I promise.
- Lighten up. // Photos should be fun. Before I arrive, one of the best things to do is to lighten your mood. If you and your spouse are relaxed, your kids will be relaxed too. Play music, light your favorite candle, tell jokes, and just chill out. You are at home after all and being intense at home is just kinda weird:)
- No tech. // Okay, I know that letting your little one play on the ipad for a bit is a super easy way to ensure you get 20 minutes to get your hair and makeup done. (I do this too). However, PLEASE time it so that the electronics get put away at least 30 minutes before I arrive. Trust me, trying to abruptly take away an ipad from a 3 year old as I walk in the door will not end well. It is definitely not the way to start things off on a good foot.
- It is in the details. // When I am capturing your family at home, you can expect me to get in close and capture some really sweet details. I want to make sure to get all the sweet stuff like your sons crazy untameable bed head, or your daughters rainbow nail polish or the baby’s itty bitty toes. Really, this is just a warning so I don’t freak you out when I come in close because, well, details matter.
- Have activities in mind. // You know your child better than I do. You know what makes them happy, gets them excited and causes them to completely light up? Think playdoh, race cars, legos, board games, baking, dancing to a particular song, etc. Let’s plan on doing some of those things during your session. Not only do activities help children to relax, they also help parents to relax and they give me one more opportunity to capture part of your normal everyday life.
- Plan on moving. // I highly doubt that you and your children sit completely still on the couch everyday. So, why on earth would we shoot a session that way? Don’t worry, we won’t. We will sit and stand. We will change rooms and positions in those rooms multiple times. We will sit on furniture and the floor (and maybe even the kitchen counter). We will dance and walk. I will even capture seemingly mundane things like you carrying your toddler up the stairs. Because those are the moments that happen daily and are completely worth capturing.
- Perfection is overrated. // It really is! I value the things that make childhood real over perfection. I welcome the super hero bandaids and well worn tshirts. I love princess dresses and the tiara she refuses to take off. I don’t mind the neon green sippy cup the he *must* hold on to and the lovie that is so worn you can’t tell what the original color was. This is the stuff that you want to remember. Wouldn’t you prefer a genuinely happy child who picked out their own (insane) outfit over a child who won’t stop crying because their brand new sweater is too itchy and hot? I certainly would. Some people love to photograph perfect, but that isn’t me.
- Set expectations. // Okay so this last tip isn’t new. I mentioned it in the last post but it is so important that it is worth mentioning again. If expectations are not set appropriately before the session starts, it will fail. Expectations will literally make or break a photo session. I will be sure to remind you of these things before your session but it is IMPERATIVE that you share them with your spouse so that we are all on the same page. Kids are kids. Babies are babies. They are moody, impulsive, and have big personalities. When I come into your home, I will take the lead but hear me out, your children are actually in charge. If they don’t want to do something that I have planned, we won’t do it. If they only want Mommy to hold them the entire time, that is cool with me. If they baby needs an extra nap or time to nurse, we will roll with it. If your older two kids have been fussing with each other all morning, we will work it out. I have NEVER had one sessions where everything went as planned.
And you know, I love that. The nuances of different children and families are what make your family unique. Before the session starts, just take a deep breath and tell yourself that what will be will be and you have to let go and trust me.