As a Columbus Ohio Family Photographer, I meet a lot of parents who are seeking an easy and natural way to capture their family memories – without the random props, awkward posing, or driving to a strange location with all the kids in tow!

This is where an in-home photo session comes into play. I love uncovering the beauty that exists in the everyday home environment. And while every home and family is different, one thing always remains the same: I’ll provide gentle guidance to bring out natural connections and capture your crew enjoying real activities together. Sounds great, right? But if you have no idea what to expect, the thought of a photographer coming into your home can feel… intimidating.

Avery blows a raspberry while sitting at her kitchen table in Columbus Ohio

Here’s the good news: you don’t need perfectly behaved kids, expertly styled decor, or 15 photo-ready rooms to get amazing photos at home. Here are my best tips for how to prepare your home (and the people in it) for a great photo session:

1. Get your home “everyday” tidy

You’ll want to put away anything you don’t want showing in your photos, but you also don’t want your home to feel sterile. So find the balance that’s right for you. Something that works is putting things you don’t want photographed into a laundry basket, and storing that basket in a room with no windows. If you want my two cents, a little lived-in clutter is a charming reminder of this stage of your lives, and can reduce the pressure of perfection during the session. This ultimately leads to better photos!

Beau pretends to tuck his dad in for a nap in the playroom of their home in Columbus Ohio

2. Prepare an activity

If there is a game or activity you enjoy doing together as a family, have it mostly set up before I arrive. You could set out some books you want to read together, select the pillows and blankets for your epic pillow fort, or pre-stage your favorite board game to play (bonus points for choosing Twister!) This also applies to any outdoor activities, like kicking a soccer ball around or blowing some whimsical bubbles. Setting up everything beforehand means we’ll make the best use of our time, but it’s also a great way to include your kids in planning and to build excitement before the session.

A family playfully wrestles in their living room in Clintonville Ohio
Rishi reads a funny book to Shiven as they snuggle in bed at their home in Columbus Ohio
Sarah sprinkles Maddy with the hose in their backyard in Columbus Ohio

3. Open the curtains and blinds

For in-home photography, we’ll want to maximize the natural light. So go ahead and turn off all lamps, and open all the curtains and blinds before I arrive. I start every session with a brief tour of your home so I can decide what rooms we’ll be shooting in. We’ll use the brightest rooms in your home for the best photos.

Nicole reads to Owen in his nursery as Owen's dad peeks around the corner

4. Gather mementos

Having a photo session in your home is a special opportunity to infuse more of your personality into the final images. Gather up any special items that you’d like captured and I will make sure to incorporate them. Some examples are comfort toys, baby blankets, or special artwork your kiddo wants to show off. This is also a good time to freshen your home decor with keepsakes that show your family’s journey. You could *finally* hang those family photos from last year, display treasures from a recent trip together, or frame some of your kids’ finger painting masterpieces!

Stuffed animals sitting on a child's rocking chair

5. Pick something comfortable to wear

When you feel good in your photos, you will look good. Please prioritize comfort for all members of your family. An in-home lifestyle session is the perfect excuse to dress down, rather than up. Casual outfits and bare feet lend themselves to more snuggles and playtime, which leads to more loving, connected photos that you will be thrilled with! It’s also a good idea to dress in lighter colors which will bounce more light onto your faces, and stick to small patterns rather than big chunky ones. All the attention should be on your beautiful face and expressions, not on your outfits. 

Jack sits between two huge squishmallow pillows on the couch while his parents play with his hair

6. Pre-stage some snacks

Snacks aren’t to be used as a bribe for good behavior. I repeat: snacks are not a bribe! But, you will want to have them handy in case anyone gets hangry. Prepare some easy, clean, bite-sized snacks that can be consumed quickly, like cheese cubes, apple slices, clear juice or water. You’ll want to avoid anything that stains the mouth or sticks in the teeth, like red juice or fruits, cheetos, etc. In the worst case scenario though, outfits can easily be swapped for fresh ones! This is one of the great perks of staying at home 🙂

Avery bangs on pots and pants with her parents in their kitchen in Columbus Ohio

7. Shake it out

The best photos happen when your kids are 100% comfortable being themselves around me. If you go into the session feeling like a ball of stress, your kids will definitely pick up on it, and they won’t let their hair down. So, please spend 5 minutes “shaking it out” as a family before I walk through the door. Crank up some tunes, have a family dance party, and reassure your kids this is the best day ever! If it would help ease tensions to crack a beer before I arrive, go for it. The more relaxed you are, the better your photos will be. 

Preparing your home for an in-home lifestyle photo session doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. You can transform your space into a welcoming haven that beautifully showcases your family’s story. Remember, the key is to create a comfortable, personal environment where you can all relax and be yourselves. Let go of any expectations of perfection, trust in the process, and get ready to capture joyful moments that will light up your home for years to come. I can’t wait to join you in the adventure!

Coledyn plays electric guitar with his dad in front of a big living room window in their home in Columbus Ohio

Hi there!

I’m Daisy, and you’re very welcome here.

I’m a documentary Columbus Ohio family photographer offering stress-free and fun portrait experiences. I hope you enjoyed How to prepare your home for a photo session, and if you’d like to chat about your own family photos, smash that button below. Can’t wait to hear what wild and wonderful things you’re dreaming up!

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