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Family Photos at Home

Did you know you can have your family photo session take place in the comfort of your own home or backyard?

I already do newborn sessions inside families' homes, but I've also done a few family sessions, too. Sessions at your home are a little bit different than when they take place at a park or public place.

So how do you decide whether you want photos at your home?

At Home Sessions are Less Posed

When you have your family photos take place at your home there's a lot more documentary style images. Kids tend to be really relaxed when they're in their own backyard and want to play or show me (their new photographer friend) all of their toys. This can make for great documentary photos: your family playing together, sitting together, doing a normal routine or planned activity.

Photos taken at beautiful locations are always special and make for great wall art and holiday cards. Photos taken at your home are perfect for photo albums. These images are the ones you treasure for years to come. They aren't just pictures of your family but your home. They are a glimpse into your life. If you want to remember what your life was like in this moment, when your kids are at a certain age, when they enjoy certain activities that they may grow out of, when you owned certain furniture or toys, then documentary photos are the best way to do that.

If you're looking for all posed photos, then I do not recommend having your session at your home. Convincing little ones to pose for a photo while in their living room or backyard can be difficult. It's doable but not for an entire hour.

Lighting Matters

The type of light you receive in your home or backyard will shape your session in many ways.

Time of Day

For indoor sessions, the best time is for photos is between 10 am and 3 pm. This is when there is enough light coming in through windows for photos. I do not use overhead lighting or lamps. They can cause weird shadows or alter colors, neither of which are very flattering.

Tip: If you have a room where you want photos to take place, see which time of day that room receives the most light.

For outdoor sessions, the best time of day will either be within an hour or sunrise or before sunset. This is when lighting is most flattering and the sun offers a golden light. The best time will depend on the position of your home to sunrise or sunset.


Photographers go where the light is. Where a photo takes place, where you stand, where you face all depend on light. If you have your heart set on a type of image or a location in your home, talk to your photographer ahead of time so they can help you choose the best time of day.

Editing Style

Another way lighting affects your session is in how your photos will look once edited.

Outdoor sessions on a sunny day will be warm and bold (mostly due to my editing style but also because of sunlight).

Indoor sessions, where lighting is limited to window light, tends to be moodier and grainier. There are a lot more shadows in an in-home session since light doesn't reach deep into one's home (unless you have huge or a lot of windows of course). Camera settings allow photographers to boost the limited lighting available, but this can cause grainy images.

This family session took place in their backyards (they live on the same street so we went to both homes) in the evening. We managed to get a few posed photos, but four year old boys want to play when they're at home. So a lot of photos are of him playing on his new swing set, playing with his action figures, and getting loved on by his dad and grandparents.

So, will you choose to have your next family photo session at home?

Want to know more about in-home sessions? Email me at


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