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  • Writer's pictureNancy Dinsmore

Pregnant woman sitting on the kitchen counter smiling at her husband
In-Home Maternity

In-home photo sessions offer a cozy and intimate setting for capturing precious moments. Whether you're planning a maternity session, a newborn session, or just want to document your everyday life, these tips will help you make the most of your in-home photography experience.

  1. Declutter and Clean Before your photographer arrives, take some time to declutter and tidy up the space where you'll be shooting. A clutter-free environment will not only look better in photos, but will also provide more space to do some creative work.

  2. Choose Natural Light Natural light is your best friend when it comes to indoor photography. Open up curtains and blinds to let in as much light as possible. Harsh overhead lighting can create unwanted shadows, and the lamps you have on your tables are a different color temperature than window (natural) light, and you can end up with both blue and orange tones in your images - which isn't easy to fix - so keep those lamps off and let all that outside light come flooding in.

  3. Choose a Meaningful Setting Take a look around your home for spaces that have sentimental value, or maybe just makes an interesting backdrop. This could be anything from a cozy reading nook to that spot in the kitchen where you love to cook together, or your children's play area.

  4. Coordinate Outfits To get the most cohesive look from your photos, choose colors and styles that complement each other without being too matchy. Also consider the setting and the mood you want to convey (e.g. romantic, playful, etc.). If you're still unsure how to style yourself and your partner or family, reach out to your photographer - he or she likely has a style guide they can share with you and will be more than happy to talk you through your outfit selections.

Mother, Father, and their two sons playing instruments in their living room
In-Home Family Photo Session

5. Incorporate Personal Touches You can add a personal touch to your photo session by including meaningful props or activities that reflect your personality and interests. Show us your favorite books, bring your pet (or pets) into the photos, play a musical instrument together, or cook something fun in the kitchen. It's all about making memories doing what you love to do.

6. Relax and Have Fun The biggest key to getting great pictures is to relax and enjoy the moment. Let go of any expectations for perfection and focus on having fun with your loved ones. Pay attention to each other, connect with each other, and enjoy each other. That connection is what's doing to show through in your pictures, and that is what makes them beautiful.

7. Capture Candid Moments The best part of a lifestyle photo session is that the goal is to document you and your partner or family being yourselves and doing what you love to do - those candid moments while you cook together, play a game together, or just sit at the table and enjoy a cup of tea are little pockets of perfection that, when captured on camera, tell a story - your story - that you get to keep forever. And you can't put a price on that.

8. Communicate With Your Photographer The only way to ensure that you and your photographer are on the same page when it comes to your vision and preferences for this in-home session is to communicate with them. That might mean meeting them in person to talk about who you are, what you're interested in, and what you want to capture; it might mean a phone or zoom call to go over the details. However you communicate, just make sure you are clear in what you're hoping to capture, that you ask questions and voice any concerns you might have. Then, on the day of your session, all you have to do is relax and enjoy yourself!

In-home photo sessions are all about capturing the beauty of your everyday life in a comfortable and familiar environment. Embrace the imperfections, cherish the moments, and trust your photographer to freeze those precious moments in time.

Pregnant woman lying on the couch with her head on her husband's lap
Cozy and Comfortable at Home

  • Writer's pictureNancy Dinsmore

Are you thinking about an outdoor photo session? Whether you’re a couple just starting your journey, a mom to be hoping to capture the magic of pregnancy, or a graduating senior ready to take on the world, here are some great tips for a “picture perfect” outdoor session.

Man and Pregnant Woman posing for a photo with the sun behind them
Golden Hour

1)      Timing is Key: Opt for golden hour – early morning or late afternoon, usually within an hour of sunrise or sunset, respectively – when the light is warm and soft, which creates flattering (rather than harsh) shadows and rich, vibrant colors.

2)      Scout Locations Ahead of Time: Your photographer may have some tried and true spots for outdoor photos, but remember this is your session and it should reflect who you are, so don’t be afraid to suggest something new. Choose picturesque outdoor settings with natural elements, such as parks, beaches, or forests for diverse backgrounds and dynamic composition.

3)      Dress Appropriately: Select outfits that complement both the surroundings and everyone who’s going to be photographed. Avoid busy patterns, or anything that might detract from your or the gorgeous setting you’ve chosen. BONUS: Ladies, choose something that has some flow to it – nothing says “dynamic” like fabric movement in a photo!

Man and Woman holding hands walking along a staircase
Sun Center Sweetness

4)      Accessorize Mindfully: Incorporate props & accessories that enhance the theme or mood of your session, but you don’t want things to look cluttered, so be carefully selective in your choices.

5)      Consider the Weather: Here in Florida, the weather is often hot & sticky – or in winter, breezy and surprisingly chilly – so keep an eye on the forecast and dress accordingly. If it’s summer, wear light fabrics that have some breathability. If it’s winter, dress in layers. Keeping an umbrella handy is a good idea, too. You never know when a summer storm might pop up!

Pregant woman in a black dress standing in a field
Winter Maternity

6)      Relax: Part of my job is to help you relax – which means I have to be relaxed, too. But we can also help each other out by keeping the mood light, telling silly jokes, and simply having a conversation or two throughout the session. We can incorporate your favorite music, too. And don’t forget that for most of the session you won’t be looking at me, so it will be easier to stay relaxed while you interact with each other.

7)      Focus on Each Other: These sessions are about capturing your connections, whether that’s just you two or the whole family, and that means you’ll be looking at and interacting with each other. I’ll guide you with prompts and position you around interesting elements in the scene, but ultimately it’s all about the bonds between you, your partner, and whoever else might be in these pictures. {Note: For senior photos, only about half of your photos will be traditionally posed where you’re looking at the camera, the rest will be you interacting with the environment and/or whatever props you might bring to the session.}

Man and pregnant woman standing under a live oak tree in Gainesville Florida
Gorgeous Gator Couple


In the end, we’re here to have fun and make some memories that you’ll be able to keep for a lifetime. Together, we will make magic.

A woman holding a camera and looking off to the side

With so many photographers out there, it can feel overwhelming to have to put extra work into choosing one. But not all photographers are alike – in fact, most of us like to think we’re one of a kind. 😉 Jokes aside, there are an almost infinite number of photographic and editing styles, and every photographer has their own personality and approach to their sessions – and those things might not align with your vision, so it’s important to ask questions up front to get a feel for who you’re working with and what you can expect from the session and your photos.

Here is a short list of questions I recommend you ask any prospective photographer before you sign any contracts or pay a retainer.


This may be the most important question to ask – yes, even more important than cost – because if you’re looking for newborn photos and the first photographer you contact shoots only weddings, you’re wasting your time. And even if they agree to take the photos for you, do you really want to trust your brand new baby with someone who doesn’t specialize in photographing newborns?


Think documentary, cinematic, traditional, etc. Each of us has a style, and some of us even blend styles to make something even more unique. If you like traditionally posed photos, then you want to make sure your photographer shoots that way. And if you have more of a lifestyle vibe, a traditional photographer can’t give you what you’re looking for.

outline drawing of a camera

TIP: check out the photographer’s website and socials and take note of whether or not they pose their clients, or if they seem to let their subject interact with each other (and not the camera). It’s also important to note their editing style because they’re going to edit your photos in a manner that’s consistent with their other work. If you want true to color and this photographer edits with warmer tones, you’re not going to love your pictures, no matter how great the composition.


Some photographers’ pricing is all inclusive – meaning the cost covers the session and images – and some come in packages, or even a la carte. It’s important to ask before you sign & schedule because there’s nothing worse than getting a surprise invoice for your digitals when you thought you’d already paid for them.



Some photographers want payment in full at the time of booking, some require half the cost as a retainer and the remainder due within a certain time frame prior to the session. And others may let you break up the fee into multiple payments. It’s important to ask that up front, so there are no surprises.


Some photographers like to do in-person sales, meaning they meet with their clients to go over the images, at which time the client places an order. Other photographers simply deliver a gallery ready for immediate download, and others deliver what’s called a proof gallery, where you’d review the images uploaded by your photographer and select the ones you want to download or purchase. It’s important to know ahead of time what the process is, as it will save you time at the end so you don’t have to wait even longer for your photos.


Even the simplest of sessions requires some planning, and it’s good to know going into things how much support your photographer offers along the way, whether that’s location scouting, styling guidance, or simply being available to answer any questions that might arise between scheduling and the day of your session.


I know I sound like a broken record, but trust me – the more you know going into your photo session, the more comfortable you’ll feel. In this case, knowing ahead of time whether your photographer plans their poses, works on the fly, or somewhere in between will help you know what to expect. Going into a session with one expectation and finding out your photographer operates in a completely different way can throw the energy of your session completely off, and trust me: that will show in your pictures.


With the exception of a select few, most of us don’t know what to do with ourselves in front of the camera and need guidance. Your photographer should be able to easily guide you through poses or with prompts to ensure your photos look natural and flattering. If they can’t…well, keep looking until you find one that can.


Most full sessions last around an hour, and mini sessions are anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes. Some photographers are strict with time, while others just go with the flow, shooting until they feel they’ve gotten what they need. It’s important to know before you begin how long you can expect to be there and whether or not you’ll be kept to a strict timeline.

outline drawing of a camera

TIP: Be respectful of everyone’s time and don’t be late. Chances are, for every minute you’re late, you’ve cut into your session time, and that’s just going to stress everyone out. Plan to arrive at least ten minutes before your session start time.


Aside from their overall aesthetic (i.e. light & airy, dark & moody, bold & colorful, etc.), how much touching up does this photographer do? Don’t expect them to remove every blemish and wrinkle – at least not for free. Find out what corrections they regularly do, and what extras they’d be willing to do and for how much.

Woman in a white dress sitting on the grass and leaning on a rock

In addition to asking the above questions, there are a few other things you can do to get an idea of who you will potentially be working with:

·         Read their reviews (Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc.) – be judicious, though. One or two one-star reviews among a large number of four- and five-star reviews is normal. More bad reviews than good is a sign to keep searching.

·         Ask to see some galleries of their work. Most photographers only put a small selection from each session on their website or social media – a gallery or album will give you a much clearer picture (no pun intended) of what their work looks like.

·         Throughout your correspondence or conversations with this potential photographer, try to get a feel for their personality, and make sure it matches yours. If you’re exuberant and outgoing, but your photographer is serious and reserved, I don’t think anyone would enjoy themselves during a session. (Hint: Scope out their social media, too. Their captions, videos, and content will give you some clues about who they are)

Young couple sitting together among flowers

It sounds like a lot of work, I know. But if you’re going to check out restaurant reviews before ordering a meal, why wouldn’t you look into someone who’s going to be sharing and photographing intimate moments with you? Photos are an investment (and to some, even a luxury), so make sure you’re getting your money’s worth by doing a little bit of work up front so on the day of your session, all you have to do is show up and have fun. 😊

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