Now and then, some families prefer to have a in-home session. Some just prefer the more documentary style photography, while others choose in-home sessions because the kids are too small to travel or in some cases, the weather is just too cold to go outside.
Documentary style photography is actually one of my favorite photography styles, people are more relaxed and it is the true reflection of who they are and how they live their lives. There is certain degree of honesty in those photos.
However, that doesn’t mean it will run successfully without some planning. Quite the contrary actually, it takes a few extra steps. Here are some of the best practices:
Get educated by understanding how to prepare
Without seeing the house beforehand, I always ask you about how much natural light the house gets. Turn off the lights inside and observe. I will use this information to decide when to schedule the session during the day. It is also a good idea to clean the house lightly for a few areas that get the most light.
If you have little kids who still need naps, it is important to tell me the nap schedule. It requires more planning if you have several kids. I try to schedule the session from the time when the youngest ones just wake up. Typically for babies under age 1, they can not last more than 2-4 hours so it is important to start when they are the most energetic.
The other thing that I ask my client to prepare is 1-2 activities to do together as a family. It can be drawing, eating breakfast or anything. It is really fun to capture day to day activities in the most natural setting.
Interacting with the client and the little ones
When doing in-house photography, the camera’s distance to the client is much closer so it is even more important to keep the interaction going. For in-home photos, I typically use 35mm and 50mm prime lenses which have worked great. You are much closer to the little ones, so try to be firm but fun when interacting, I often bring some toys and bubbles, it works every single time to break the ice with children.
Moving from location to location
If the client has a backyard, you can start there. With the proper lighting and lens, you can almost make it look outdoor portraits.
Try to change the location every 20-30 minutes, that often keeps the little ones engaged.
Trying to capture different interactions
For a typical family of four, you get lots of interaction going on and don’t forget a few captures just for the parents. Things between couples can get hectic once having the child, I will help them to reconnect in front of the camera and enjoy being with each other, instead of chasing the kids all the time.
I am a strong believer that parents should take good care of themselves and their own relationship so they could have more to give to their children.
Be real. Family portraits can become stressful if your child is still little. I have had times when the kids started crying. Be patient, let one parent to take the child aside and give him/her time to calm down. Use that break time to do a few beauty shots for the mom!
People look the best when they are relaxed and having fun! So it is okay to be silly once a while and have those moments captured on camera.
Interested in booking a family session in San Francisco Bay Area? Feel free to email at viviancromwellphotography at gmail dot com.