TEN In-Home Family Session MYTHS... Busted!

So you've heard about the new, amazing style of documentary family portraits that captures real memories to be celebrated. You've also heard that the photographer comes into your home for a Day in the Life session to capture the most beautiful moments of your everyday family life. But you got lost at into your home. Here are 10 BIG FAT MYTHS about in home documentary sessions that are worth understanding before you decide documentary style isn't for you. {If you need the low down on documentary style - check this page out.}

  • It will feel intrusive having a photographer in our home
  • We are too boring to make photographs of us at home
  • My toddler won’t cooperate
  • My house is too messy
  • Pictures in my house won’t be pretty enough
  • I wouldn’t know what to expect
  • There won’t be enough photographs of the whole family together
  • Life is too busy
  • The timing with the kids naps & schedules will be too tricky to coordinate
  • My husband isn’t interested in having his picture taken


1. It will feel intrusive having a photographer in our home. 

I had no idea what to expect, I’ve never had a shoot like this where I didn’t have to dress up or stress out about it. It was actually just really enjoyable and super easy to have my photo taken which is not something I generally enjoy.
— Rachel

Many people are concerned about this… until we meet. I’m pretty easy going and relaxed and I genuinely enjoy spending time with my clients in their home. Most clients have described a session feeling like hanging out with an old friend while going about a regular day. And the bonus is they got some amazing portraits at the end of it that captured really special moments and it was completely pain free (even for dad!). 

2. We are too boring to make photographs of us at home.

Everyone thinks this. I promise there are SO MANY more photos of your regular everyday life that I will see. And when you see your photos, you’ll be amazed (I see photographs e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e! And they’re good ones). You’ll start to see little pictures around that you may not have noticed before. If, during our photo shoot consult, you are feeling hesitant we will put together some family activities that will get the ball rolling for some photos. Honestly, they’re not always needed because your everyday life is more interesting than you might think.

The photos reflected us as a family at that time so beautifully. I loved seeing the way April saw photo opportunities where I didn’t. It was really interesting to see the way her ‘eye’ worked!
— Kate

3. My toddler won’t cooperate.

My oldest hates sitting and smiling for photos, so often when we try posed photos we end up with mostly half grimaces and a super frustrating experience. This session was just us being us and in the end we didn’t even feel like we had done anything different than usual. It was so painless and stress-free.
— Jihae

My favorite thing about toddlers is the fact that they are tiny + mighty, headstrong and full of crazy energy. The entire purpose of a documentary family session is to capture the real personality of your family and each individual in your loving home. I will not ask anyone to try to sit still or do anything that is not normal for them. And I will make beautiful portraits of your toddler. You can see my personal experience with my tiny, mighty, headstrong ball of crazy on my 365 blog.


4. My house is too messy.

You haven’t seen my house! Just kidding (sort of). A messy house is not the worst thing in the world. This type of session is about creating the most incredible memories for you within the environment that you live in daily. You want to remember these moments and they should be REAL. 

Quick story: when my daughter was 5 weeks old, we had a photographer come take our family photographs. This is before my days of documentary photography and understanding what an in home session meant. During our brief email exchanges she dropped in that we could do some photos in our house. I said no way, we can go outside in the garden. An interior shoot completely freaked me out. I’ve been there! Thinking we'd just be outside, I didn’t clean the house AT ALL (normally I would do a shove everything in a cupboard kind of cleaning). Well she squirmed her way in. At the time I didn’t like the photos we took in the house, but now I LOVE them. I’ve started to forget some of the trauma from having a 5 week old and what it was like to sometimes not even brush my teeth in a day (seriously that would happen). But now I get to look back at the photos with my messy old house and all the out of place things that used to drive me crazy and now they are magically lovely memories. Because my sweet baby’s toes were so cute and edible. Because I loved sitting with her on that sofa that we no longer have. Because I distinctly remember the living room with the sunlight pouring in all day during the summer when we had a tiny little (crying) person who was the most precious thing on the planet. Your environment matters and so do the memories of your everyday life in that space. 


5. Pictures in my house won’t be pretty enough.

The portraits that I create of your children and your family will be THE most pretty thing you’ve ever seen. Besides your actual children, of course. Capturing memories in a photograph is about documenting what is real and special in your daily life. Maybe it’s your child reading quietly in the corner to themselves. Perhaps a moment caught with your kids jumping on your bed or a silly face in the mirror. My goal is to make beautiful images TO YOU that you will cherish forever and keep as heirloom pieces to hand down. My main photographic priority is not about what will get the most likes on facebook. It’s a real.life.story. And it’s GORGEOUS. Creating a storyboard wall gallery and an album of your portraits will make your heart pitter patter when you get to look at them everyday.

6. I wouldn’t know what to expect.

One of my goals as a boutique business is setting up expectations correctly. We will spend a good amount of time talking about what our day is going to look like and you will feel comfortable knowing what to do. I promise that your in home documentary session will be so much easier than you ever thought possible.


7. There won’t be enough photographs of the whole family together.

This is something I pay pretty close attention to as we are going through our session. I love it when families naturally huddle together for an opportunity to create family group photos that show off personalities and special moments. But if it doesn’t happen naturally I will lightly direct a group photograph or two. It’s important to me to have a full group shot as part of your collection. What I will focus on 99% of the time is natural and unposed moments that will result in real memories made and connections between individuals whether it's a group or two people.


8. Life is too busy.

This is so true!! Life is usually some sort of crazy train for most people with children. That’s why it is SO SO SO important to pause for a moment and soak it all in. What better excuse to not make any plans for a day (or a few hours) and just be present with your closest loved ones while you have this special time documented? Milestones in life are always such a great opportunity to make photographs, but the beauty of documentary photography is any day is a good day to document… even the busy ones. In fact, most if not all, documentary photographers would be more than happy just following along on your busy day to document what you usually do. So don’t be afraid to just get on with a normal day and have it photographed. A beautiful story will still come of that!



9. The timing with the kids naps & schedules will be too tricky to coordinate.

This is exactly the beauty of an in home session. You just get to go about your regular day! Most documentary photographers I know of are flexible with their timing and will always work around your little ones schedules when planning your session. 

10. My husband isn’t interested in having his picture taken. 

The session seemed to go by really fast, as you just carry on doing the activities you would normally do with family on a good day. It was like having a friend over for a catch up rather than a photo session.
— Kate

I have heard this one A LOT. And no, it’s not really home session specific. But what I can say is an in home session is the best way to make the entire family feel at ease quickly. You get to be in your own space where you are comfortable. The great thing about documentary portraiture is there is no pressure to act a certain way or to do anything specific with any certain look on your face. You just get to be you in your own home with the company of a friend popping over with her camera. Easy peasy!