Once you book a session, the first thing I'm going to ask you is whether you have an idea of where you want your session to take place. Usually clients don't have a particular location in mind and I will send over a list of locations that I've used and liked in the past. There's a little description of each spot with some things to consider like whether it's dog or stroller friendly, how much walking is involved, and a general description of what the location looks like. However, what I need to do better is to suggest your own home or yard. I know that people are generally wanting a stunning location, and the place you live and see every day doesn't really get you excited when you're having family photos done. But, your own yard can really be the perfect place for photos, so read on to find our why.
It's easy to be on time. Getting ready for family photos can be stressful, especially when kids are involved! You've spend a lot of time choosing outfits for everyone to wear, but inevitably, if your family is anything like mine, at least one kid is going to refuse to wear something you've chosen, resulting in time spent convincing them otherwise, or figuring out another option. Cue the stress over trying to get somewhere on time! When your location is your yard, you don't have to worry about being on time, and even if you're not ready when I arrive, I can start with whoever is ready and then add in the rest of the family as they finish up.
2. Bathrooms and snacks are readily available. If you have kids, you know someone will announce that they have to use the bathroom at some point during your session. Most of my locations don't have bathrooms, and not every kid will agree to go behind a tree, so having your own bathroom right there can be invaluable. Snacks are also an important part of any session with young kids, especially if they start to get a little hangry at any point. Your session will likely fall somewhere close to dinner time, so something to tide them over until you can get that meal can come in very handy, and not having to pack it ahead of time and lug it around along with your kids just takes another level of stress off of yourself.
3. You don't need a fancy, perfectly landscaped yard. You just don't. I can't tell you how many times I'm driving around and I see yards that I'd kill to shoot in. A lot of them are just open spaces with trees at the edges. Some have stone walls. Some have trees that are located throughout the yard, which lets in the light in a certain way that is just gorgeous. Some have beautiful flower beds or one or two flowering trees, but most of the time I'm noticing the light. Truly, some of you may not even realize how gorgeous your yards are!
4. It's meaningful because it's your home. It's an extension of your family and it holds memories and love. The family in all of these photos has always requested that we do their sessions at their home, and it's just so special to be able to look back on the images. A session at your home could include time spent both inside and out, so you'd have images with a variety of backdrops, all meaningful. Plus, the focus for me as your photographer is to capture your family and their connections. The genuine smiles and laughter, personalities & relationships. Those are the stars of your images; the location is only a very small part.
I hope that having a session in your home or yard is something you'll consider this year!