Lifestyle Family Session – In a mother’s words.

Recently, I did an in-home lifestyle family session for a recurring client (turned friend).  I’ve been on a bit of a mission lately to open minds to doing an in-home lifestyle family session.  It’s been on my heart for awhile, but my last trip to Disney really pushed me over the edge.  I understand the desire “pretty” portraits and all of the many reasons to not want to be photographed in your home.  I know these reasons, because I had them too.  But here I stand, a mother of a soon to be 18 year old and wishing I had done one of these sessions at least once.  Heck, wishing I took more photos myself.  So I’m speaking to those who have the desire but also have a hesitation.  Don’t be in my shoes one day.

So I asked my friend if she would be willing to share her feelings about the session after she received the gallery.  I wanted her fresh feelings and insight so that I could share that with you.  I can only speak from a place of regret and I wanted to share another view point with you.  Here are her words….

Family sitting in a window bench seat in blue room of old house.

An in-home lifestyle family session.

from a Mother’s point of view

Just over a week ago, I reached out to Crystal to schedule a birthday shoot for my daughter who will be two in April.  I was really just looking to check an item off my ever growing, never ending, to-do list and to secure a place for the session on our calendar before there wasn’t one to be secured.  Crystal proposed an updated lifestyle family session as we had gone this route for our maternity photos and some of our newborns, and she proposed we do it now. My immediate reaction was a hard no. Absolutely not, I could not possibly take that on right now; please just give me a date two months from now to come to your studio.

You see, we have been lovingly making our 90+ year old home fit our style and needs for over two years. By ourselves. In our spare time. With a toddler. It is more surprising not to see a paint can in plain view than to see one. One half of our second floor doors have been painted, the other half have been waiting their turn for over a year. Our kitchen is presently lacking a ceiling.

I let Crystal’s message sit in my inbox while I rattled off to my husband all the reasons we should absolutely not do this session.  As the Type A personality in me did so, the Mama in me started to conjure up all the reasons we should take this opportunity; you know, the parts of my baby that I try to breathe in, drink up, and sear into my mind for fear I will someday be unable to remember them. I quickly realized that most of the uniquely beautiful parts of Collins’ tenacious personality would be best captured in our home, where she is most unabashedly herself.  I realized I wanted to capture our family, the one I dreamed of my entire life, doing what we most enjoy: being at home together.
Family poses in front of windows for a family portrait.The moment I opened our gallery, I knew that my decision to do this session was the right one.  As I scrolled through beautiful shots of the loves of my life in our perfectly imperfect home,  I didn’t notice the stain on the runner or the bumps in the plaster.  I saw my toddler’s deep dimples as I splashed in the sink with her and the pure love in my husband’s eyes as he looked at his girls.  I didn’t see the extra “fluff” around my midsection that I would someday like to lose; but, rather, the joy on my face as my sweet baby lay on it.  I so often wish that I could freeze time and keep my life in this wonderful, albeit exhausting, season.  These photos are about as close to fulfilling that wish as I can hope to get.
Had I waited until my home was “finished”, my baby would not have kept.  She is changing before my eyes, and I cannot articulate my gratitude for these photos capturing her wild mane, delightfully chubby feet and edible cheeks.  While her physical characteristics surely could have been captured in studio, I don’t believe that her vivaciousness or tenacity would have been so apparent.  Our pure adoration for one another would not have been as obvious. These photographs are a true testament to what our life looks like most days: rolling on the floor, jumping on the furniture, spinning until we fall; kissing rosy cheeks until bedtime, knowing all too well that our little dolly will wake up a day older.

Family reading a book in a window seat of old home.While my original hope in scheduling a session to mark my baby’s second year of life was to have something for my husband and I to look back on, tears stream down my face as I realize what a treasure they will one day be for Collins.  When the day comes that we are no longer together, she will have more than posed portraits reminding her of what we looked like.  To accompany what I hope will be millions of warm and happy memories of her parents and childhood, she will have photographs of our love for her in action, in the home where most of her childhood memories will take place.  She will have the benefit of more than a cloudy memory of the people and place she loved most.


This was our eleventh session with Crystal; she has captured nearly everything in our lives since our engagement.  Of all our sessions, wedding included, it has elicited the strongest emotional response.  For the first time, I haven’t focused on whether or not I look my best in each shot; but, rather, on the love that is so tangible in them.  Our house is now a home thanks to a tiny but mighty lady and we are so very fortunate that it has been so beautifully documented.

Family playing in playroom reading and dancing.Photos of a family playing blocks and doing a puzzle during lifestyle family session.2 year old girl doing puzzle with her parents on the floor.2 year old girl bouncing on bed with her mother.Family poses on master bedroom bed for a portrait.Family snuggling on bed with their King Charles spaniel.A mother and daughter being playful together in nursery.Little girl running to her mother in nursery.Mother putting shoes on daughter's foot.Father and daughter are playful together on window seat.Dad helps daughter get a snack in their kitchen.Family photos around a farmhouse sink in a lifestyle session.Family encourages daughter to play in farmhouse sink.Mother and daughter play in farmhouse sink during a lifestyle session.Mother gives daughter a big kiss on the cheek while in a farmhouse sink.Close up photo of a dad's arms holding his toddler.

Okay, so how about this little apartment playroom?  Is this not one lucky little girl?  Her mama dreamed about creating this space for her and her daddy really nailed the details.  What an adorable place to play house while growing up.  Little girl's playroom designed as a mini apartment.
If you are interested in doing an in-home lifestyle session but still have some questions or concerns, email me.  You can also reach me via my contact form.  These sessions can be done year round!
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