If there’s one thing that I love and that scares me all at the same time then it’s lifestyle sessions in-home. Not only are you completely dependent on your client’s indoor decor and of course the ever-so-unpredictable light conditions, but you’re also totally out of your comfort zone in a new area that you need to quickly adapt to and make your own.
On the other hand, what I love about in-home lifestyle photo sessions is that my clients will feel more at ease, as much as they tend to worry whether the house is clean and tidy enough. Being around the environment they are so used to will allow them and their children to quickly get used to a stranger documenting their daily activities, whether you have chosen to document a typical Saturday morning of them making breakfast and playing, or perhaps simply engaging with each other in different rooms.
Photographing children you can never ever be fully confident that things will go to plan because as it happens in real life, it usually doesn’t. Babies, toddlers and young kids might simply be in a bad mood, and you will have to work around it. Not just that, you have to become a friendly face to them so that your presence doesn’t intimidate them, which usually happens at first when kids see you for the first time. They may be shy or throw a tantrum, but whatever happens you just have to go with the flow.
Documenting someone’s day or a moment in their day means letting them be themselves but at the same time ensuring you get the images that you know they will love and cherish. This usually means working fast (Where to shoot? What is the light like today?), how to shoot (What lens will work best? I usually stick to one, two lenses at most), what to shoot (Is the shoot flowing well or do you need to slightly interfere to change the scene?). And, there’s no better way to practice this than simply jump in and try it. Start with your own family to lower the pressure on yourself, and see how you perform, how you can improve and what editing style you find suitable for these types of sessions.
I recently had the opportunity to shoot the young Brown family, and while the weather was quite dark and grey, we managed to get some lovely photos of the family enjoying their new life as a family of 4, after their new baby Nancy joined them just recently. I never think of myself as amazing with babies and little kids but they somehow accepted me that day and we got some lovely shots of them playing, jumping around, sleeping, eating… you name it.
Also, it was a wonderful surprise to find out that Mr Brown works at the same work place as my partner, world is truly so small!