In this blog post, I share some details of the differences between an outdoor family photoshoot and in-home sessions to help you decide which session is the best fit for your family. 

Choosing the right location for your family photoshoot is a very important step of the planning stage to set your family photo session up for success.

I like to offer the choice between an outdoor family photoshoot and in-home session to give families the flexibility to choose what works best for them. Some families prefer the greenery and fresh feel of the outdoors, while others prefer the comfort of their home.

There is no right or wrong here. It is really about what works best for your family’s unique needs.

The ideal family

Regardless of in-home or outdoor, families who love my work are down-to-earth, and authentic. And want images that are meaningful, candid, organic, and filled with love. 

In-home sessions are ideal for families who want to document daily life and find beauty in ordinary moments. Those that are happy embrace joyful and sweet moments but also the chaos that comes from raising young children. Sessions in your home are ideal if you live in a spacious house/apartment with a lot of natural light, decor with light tones, and white walls. 

If you want a session with a mix of beautiful portraits and candid images, or you live in a small/dark home, an outdoor session would be a better option. Outdoor sessions are also ideal if you love greenery or other natural elements in your images, like the sky, flowers, water, etc. Outdoor sessions are also better suited if you are flexible with your routine to adjust it in case needed to meet at a time where the light is best (1-2h after sunrise or before sunset).

The approach

During all my sessions, I like to mix natural posing and real moments with no interference using a documentary approach. Regardless of where I photograph (home vs. outdoor), I know well when to step in and offer gentle direction of how to stand, what to do. And when to step away and let moments naturally unfold.

Either way, my purpose during your family session is to capture those genuine, in-between moments.

My sessions typically start with natural posing for about 15-30 min, or for as long as the dad and children are OK with it.

As the session progresses and children want to move and play freely, I step back more and more to let those natural interactions occur with minimum or no interference taking a more documentary approach.

Outdoor family session

For outdoor sessions, I might suggest some activities in beautiful light, like blowing bubbles or collecting sticks and flowers. But for the most part, I let you enjoy being with your family while capturing those natural playful, and candid moments.  

For in-home sessions, during the planning pre-session video call, we will chat about ideas of activities you might want to try during you family session as a way to bring the whole family together, like baking, painting or a simple story time on the couch. During this portion of the session, I will photograph mostly following a more documentary approach.

Duration & time

In-home sessions typically last 2-3 hours to give me enough time to: (1) get everyone, especially your children, comfortable with me, (2) a variety of moments, including routines and activities, and (3) the optional mini portrait time.

My priority is to create an image collection with variety through a relaxing, enjoyable experience for your family. As such, the duration of your session will depend on your family’s unique habits, including your children’s nap schedule and mood. In-home are typically scheduled on Saturday mornings and take place whether rain or shine. 

An outdoor family photoshoot typically last for 45-60 minutes. They are scheduled about 1-2h after sunrise or before sunset. So, the exact start time of your session will depend on the time of the year. These sessions are typically on Friday or Saturday (sunset) or Sunday (sunrise) and take place whether it is sunny or overcast.

Children’s ages

Typically, families with babies (under the age of 1) benefit the most from an in-home session vs. an outdoor family photoshoot. In-home sessions are more flexible in terms of starting time and overall session flow.

Because we can work around your baby’s nap. An outdoor family photoshoot needs to be scheduled at certain times of the day when the light will be the most flattering to you. But sometimes that means having to adjust your baby’s nap to make it to your session. While that can work really well for babies who are easily adaptable to change, it might cause stress for families whose babies might not respond well to changes in nap schedules.

Plus, babies feel happiest and most comfortable in an environment that is familiar to them – your home! So, it is more likely that we will get to capture those genuine smiles and authentic personalities.

Finally, an in-home session allows us to capture those precious milestones you will want to remember, like first solids, favorite games, the nursery, bath time, waking up from a nap, etc. At a park or field, there will be fewer of those meaningful moments to document.

If your children already walk, love exploring nature, and nap once a day or none at all, than an outdoor family photoshoot is a great option. Because your children are at an age that allows us to play different games and get a wide variety of moments.

However, an in-home session with a trip to the nearby park also works really well for toddlers and preschoolers. Then, here is really about the type of images you’d like to have: a mix of beautiful portraits and fun outdoor moments (outdoor family photoshoot) or documentation of your daily life (in-home photo session).

The image collection

My work is overall timeless with a focus on storytelling and candid moments filled with connection and joy. The feel is similar across images, despite if they happen outdoors or in your home.

But there are some differences between them. The final gallery from in-home sessions includes a variety of images about your everyday life, including routine moments, like changing diapers and breakfast, and family activities like board games and baking. It also includes a few family portraits. 

For outdoor sessions, the final gallery includes a wider variety of portraits and groupings, in addition to candid moments of play.

The complete image collection will include 40 images. Out of these images, you can select your favorites or the complete collection. For detailed pricing, please contact me here. 

Example of galleries

If you are still in doubt about which session is right for you, you can look at my portfolio