Over My Dead Body | How In Home Family Photo Sessions Work

{Family Photography in West Sussex}

One of the things people are most often hesitant about when booking in home documentary sessions is the IN HOME part. I totally get it. I’ve been there. Let me tell you a little story.

When I was pregnant we booked a photo session for after our daughter was born. She was to be about 6 weeks young when the shoot was scheduled. During my email exchanges with the photographer, Emily, we were discussing what we’d do during the session. At the time we lived in a one bedroom flat surrounded by lovely gardens and beautiful trees so I decided we’d just go outside and go for a walk in the sunshine during the juicy golden hour of the day. Emily threw into an email that she’d start our session in our home then we’d go outside. I actually thought “over my dead body is she coming in our house”. I didn’t even bother doing my quickie clean of shoving everything into a cupboard or out of sight because I was THAT confident I wasn’t going to let her take any photos inside. The space was a huge mess. Let’s face it, we were still figuring out how to manage our day with a tiny colicky baby and life was chaos. Our home reflected that.

When Emily arrived, she muscled her way inside with a sweet smile on her face. Before I knew it she was taking photos of us on the sofa feeding Hazel and changing her at her little baby station. Those were moments that were natural and normal to us. Once we got outside in the gardens, she had to do quite a bit of directing. We were sleep deprived and unable to do anything that didn’t seem awkward. Honestly putting two photographers in front of a lens is probably the hardest thing for another photographer to do. 

The photos Emily made were beautiful. The light was gorgeous that day and she was creative with her direction. When we received the photos I was pretty indifferent to the indoor photos she’d made. I was so self conscious of the mess and general disorder of our home. Honestly, I am fine living in a bit of mess, but when people are over it’s always clean. So having a visual record of untidy wasn’t my favourite. 

The other day I was cleaning out my phone photos. My 128 gig phone is constantly telling me I’m out of storage room. So I did a huge backup and started deleting. I came across a section of the photos from our family session with Emily. I wasn’t surprised in the least to feel so much happiness and nostalgia for the images she made of us IN OUR HOME. Looking back at them they are by far my favourite images. I like the others. They are pretty, but they don’t tell our story. They say nothing about us as a family. They just have some juicy light and show what we look like smiling and holding hands. I don’t feel any emotional connection to them. But we did sit on our sofa everyday for that period of our life feeding a tiny baby. We did gaze at how lovely she was on our laps in our house and we did change her on her changing table about 300 times a day. Those photos capture the moments that are real to us and the ones I do remember and want to remember forever. Those photographs were our real and authentic life.

We don’t live in that flat anymore. But for a period of time I loved living there and I have millions of happy memories in that environment. 

TRUST ME when I say your future self will be crying with appreciation that you committed to showing your true story and that you had your ordinarily stunning life documented. Those babies of yours will thank you when they are older too. Having photographs of your real life in your real environment are so much more special than a walk through the park. Because real life just isn’t a walk through the park. It’s so much more than that.

Read about natural newborn photography here.

What are your hesitations with a documentary family photo session? Let’s chat about YOUR in home family day can look like here.

Below are a couple of the in-home images that Emily made of our family that I hold so near and dear to my heart.

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April DautlichComment