“Forget the clutter” can mean so many different things. This could mean in your home, in your head, and in your general life. It’s such a common thing for photographers to hear, “I would kill to do a session with you, but my home isn’t where I want it.” or “I would love to do a lifestyle newborn session, but the nursery isn’t finished and the house is a wreck since I’ve been taking care of a newborn.” There are also plenty of times where something is pulling these people to book with me, but something else stops them from doing it. I’m here to say DON’T HESITATE. Life is so incredibly short and you’re going to be so glad that you paused to encapsulate your most precious memories. Your kids are only young once. Tomorrow is never promised.
This blog post all started when a fellow photographer/friend asked me to write a little excerpt on how I make every client’s home look incredible. She knows very well about the reality of most of the homes we step foot in…you know…NORMAL homes. So, I thought I would share what I wrote for her. Remember, forget the clutter!
You don't need a perfect home to have a perfect session. Then again, there is no such thing as a perfect session. Our lives are messy, real, and not as curated as we would like to show on our social media. Whenever I receive an inquiry and we set up our phone call to go over what my client is envisioning, I always ask, "where do you see your session taking place?" I've heard so many people say that they would love to have it in their home, but...
I'm renting and it's not exactly the style I would have picked.
It's a mess because we just brought baby home.
We have 4 kids and haven't cleaned in a month.
We are redoing part of the house and it's a construction zone right now.
I haven't updated our bedroom in years, so I'm not crazy about the way it looks.
The nursery isn't completely finished.
We have teenagers who have wrecked the entire downstairs.
It's really small.
There are so many more concerns that come up. This is where I assure them that we can work around all of these. I really only need one room to work in. I need a space that has great natural light. We can make the room whatever we want it to be. You don't like the bedding? Fine, we will strip the bed and put on all white sheets. There is a mess in the corner? I won't photograph in that corner. It's small? I don't need that much space. There is construction going on? Okay, we won't shoot in that room.
It's my job to create a space of comfort for my clients, even when everything else feels chaotic. Of course, if you just really don't want to have the session in your home then let's consider possibly doing it outdoors or renting an AirBnB. But, if there is something pulling you to do it there, then let's make it work. To me, it's the perfect place because it's where you brought baby home. It's where your kids have grown up down the hall from one another. It's where your teenager was doing flips on the bed and put his foot through the wall. It's where your family has meals and talks about real life. It's where homework, parties, tantrums, baths, and bedtime happens. 20 years from now you might not be in that same house, but you can see it in the background of some of your most cherished photographs of your family.
I don't need my client's homes to be perfect, just like I don't need (or want) my clients to be perfect. Your job is to enjoy the fleeting moments you have with each other and my job is to capture those moments.
Let me show you some examples:
This is actually their sunroom. When I showed up she showed me around the home (like I always have them do) and she led me to this gorgeous, light-filled sunroom. The picture on the right is Marilyn in the photo that momma is sitting in on the left. It created this incredible cocoon of light around her.
This was an adoption that I photographed inside of a dark hospital room, just minutes after Indie was born. I just made sure to put everyone next to the only window in the room and photographed with b&w film to make sure the drab colors weren’t distracting from the moment. That’s another part of being a professional. You should always be prepared with the best medium to capture your clients.
I can always just throw you under the neat blanket you brought!
I photographed a branding session for a local florist when she was starting out. She didn’t have a physical space yet, so we did this session in a friend’s backyard. We used her green fence as a backdrop and rolled out a little cart for her workspace. I used the surface of the tiny cart to do the detail photos.
One of my favorite photographers had just given birth to her first child, so I traveled a few hours to her to photograph her new precious baby. She loved the light that came into her office, so we did it there! You would never know by looking at these photographs. She has a couch in her office, so I had them lay on it, just like I would at an in-home session. It was perfect.
I think mom had planned on doing most of the session in their bedroom, but when I saw this window light I knew it had to take place here. The bedroom was really dark and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get the movement and interaction that I wanted in that dark of a space. This was actually in their dining room.
This was a maternity session I photographed in my first home. It was a small house, but I loved that black wall in my dining room. I put her on one of my dining room chairs, right in front of a window and used that black wall as a backdrop. My dining room table was right behind us.
This was another incredible florist that I did a branding session for. This was in his actual workshop and storefront. We moved some things around and used the space next to a window for some gorgeous light.
This is one of my favorites. We had no other option than to use this room because they were living in a one bedroom/studio space. They had just brought baby Vada home and all three of them (and two cats) were sharing one room. We put Vada on their dresser (yep, there are clothes in that thing) and utilized the gorgeous window. She now looks back at these with such fondness because they were forced to be so close. She loves looking back at those days.
The point is, book the session. Have the photographs taken. I will move mountains to make sure that you are in love with the photographs and that your family has tangible memories for generations to come. I’ve got you. I promise. Forget the clutter.