Abby and Zach are getting married in Charleston, West Virginia, but live in Baltimore, Maryland, where they recently bought a home.
Baltimore is a little farther than I’d normally travel for an engagement session, but it just so happened that I was enrolled in a spring conference in Baltimore, and we were able to meet up at the crack of dawn for their at-home engagement session before I needed to return for sessions at the conference.
I love shooting engagement sessions in people’s homes for two reasons:(1.) They are super low-key (and therefore often more comfortable) and (2.) They help you document a space that is often the first place you are building your lives together. When you look back at your photos, you are also remembering your first home and the memories that happened there.
We started on the rooftop deck they recently built, drinking coffee and watching the fog roll in over the skyline before walking down to the harbor to hit up a local Farmer’s Market for fresh donuts followed by empanadas). We ended back home in their kitchen. Zach’s family is full of cooks, so the recipe book featured at the end was a gift to him of old family Italian recipes. The forks were used to propose to Abby.
I shoot a lot of in-home sessions and inevitably a couple questions or comments come up beforehand.
“I’d LOVE an in-home session, but my home isn’t fancy/nice/picture-worthy!”
Honestly y’all, Pinterest and Instagram have ruined us. 99 percent of the time my home looks like a hurricane went through it. There’s laundry piled in the living room, snacks that were pulled out of the pantry and haven’t been put away yet, and there are paw prints, always paw prints EVERYWHERE because…four dogs.
But my home is my home. It’s where I live my life. And documenting you and your loved one is worth it no matter WHAT your home looks like.
In general, I don’t love clutter in the back of photos (because I think it’s distracting when I want the focus to be on YOU), but your house doesn’t have to be clean. Generally, we’re talking — run through the house with a laundry basket gathering up odds and ends, stick it in a corner or a closet, and shut the door. Boom, done. Don’t have time to even do that? No worries, this is reality. And reality is beautiful and messy and precious.
You’ll also notice that I tend to shoot pretty tight at in-home sessions. Meaning my focus is on YOU and your partner or your family rather than showcasing the room. In-home sessions are fundamentally about being comfortable. If you have a beautiful room full of light — great, we’ll use it. But if you don’t, that’s fine too. I’ve shot in ALLLLL different kinds of homes. I promise yours will be fine.
I’m gonna book an in-home session when ________ (insert big event here).
Yep, for SURE, births, engagements, anniversaries, buying a new place, etc., are great times for an in-home session, but so is “just because.” Document your pets, your grandparents, your first home, your summer backyard bbq that happens three times a week from May-September. I cannot emphasize enough that life happens in between the “big things” and as amazing as cell phones have gotten, having an outside perspective is invaluable — one in which you are ALL in there together.
Your in-home sessions are so cute! But my partner hates photos.
This is always a really tough one that makes me cry a little bit inside. But I sometimes wonder if it’s like people saying “I hate vegetables” because they were only ever fed flaccid vegetables from a can. Once you’ve had recipe-inspired fresh brussel sprouts, green beans, kale, etc. — it may change your perspective forever ;).
In all seriousness, I can work with anyone who has a good (even if it’s cautious) attitude about it. When a partner comes into the session and doesn’t want to be there, is grumpy, rude to you or me, admittedly it’s tough to push past that.
My way of shooting centers on authentic emotions and interactions. I can help people get past nerves or shyness and come out of their shell to have fun and enjoy the experience. But if someone says, “I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be here.” And that’s the totality of it, then they generally won’t participate fully. Which means the prompts I use to help you guys interact naturally, don’t work well and I end up having to pose you more traditionally. It’s ok, I’ve done it, but it’s definitely not ideal.
If you guys come with an open mind and spirit, by the end of the session, I will help you feel like you’ve just been on a really great date and maybe even change your partner’s perspective on what “getting photos” is like forever =).
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