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Preparing for Family Photos at Home: Tips from a Professional Photographer

At Dalisay Collection we love helping you create spaces for making memories, and what better way to celebrate these spaces than taking family photos at home? We invited Samantha Fong, the founder and photographer of Nestology Studio, a family photography studio that celebrates families and their shared moments, to share her tips on how to prepare your home for family photos whether you have a professional photographer coming or just taking photos yourself. 
Mom hugging boy on the bed

Home shoots are probably my favorite sessions -- every corner is teeming with memories and everyone feels much more comfortable and like themselves. All homes are different too -- each one is unique in the stories they hold and the look and feel of the interiors represent much of the family's character and shared history. Ten or twenty years in the future, photos of a family in their home at one point in their life paint a picture of who they were and what they have been through together - and to me, it's such an honor to capture these moments and give them to a family.

To those looking to get creative and take photos themselves, here are some tips to get some amazing home photos:

1. Map out the spaces you would like to take photos in.

A family and their dog inside their living room

Areas with the best light are an absolute must. This could be your couch by your balcony, the kids' bunk bed by their bedroom window, or it could even be by the kitchen counter. 

Check the light in these areas during different times of the day. It doesn't have to be all diffused light. You can play with light and the shadows they form. See what time is best to get the most out of your photos. 

2. Place the things you love in your chosen spaces

Photo of baby with a big plush toy

Gather mementos and decorative accents that you would like to be in your photos and think of where to put them in your chosen areas. You can bring in your kids' favorite books and stack them on your coffee table. You can drape that pretty throw blanket on your couch and play peek-a-boo with your family. Add a wedding photo onto your bedside table and even that jewelry box from your husband. Including things that matter most to you and your family in your photos would really contribute to the depth of the photos and add and a nostalgic feeling to them when you browse through your photos later on. 

3. Take away the clutter

Couple hugging while sitting on a couch

Once you have the important things in, take the rest out. Clean up and make sure you tidy up the things you don't want to be in your photos. Remote controls, loose change and receipts, overload of toys, and that back massager - keep them somewhere hidden. You want you and your family to be the center of your photos and not the clutter.

4. Choose your outfits (or not!)

Left Image: Boy Kissing Baby, Right Image: Mom holding baby and boy looking at baby

Choosing your family's outfits could be daunting for some. I recommend choosing a mix of complementary colors instead of identical colors. Be a bit adventurous and have one or two family members wear some cute prints and patterns to add some character and texture to the photos. Just remember that attire colors can really influence the tone of your photos - khakis, mustard yellow, and coral reds will give you warmer photos while blue, white, and greys will give you cooler tones. Meanwhile, black and navy will give your photos a lot of contrast.

With that said, I know how it could also be difficult to dictate outfits to kids. I say just go with what they want. It's not worth the stress and you would want the kids to feel comfortable in what they are wearing. 

5. Interact instead of posing

Mom laughing and blowing bubbles with her kids

The best photos are always the most authentic ones. Laughing, playing, hugging and kissing are the best "poses". They make your photos natural and honest.  Think of the session as a time to bond with your family instead. It relieves the pressure and awkwardness that a shoot can place on your family. Be yourselves and just enjoy being together.

These are just some small easy tips for you but at the end of the day, remember that family photos should be easy and enjoyable. Keep it simple and stress-free. If things don't go how you planned, that can be wonderful too -- there is beauty in everyday chaos. You and your family, how you are together and what you share, are really what makes photos timeless. 

All photos from Nestology Studio
Follow Nestology Studio and Casita HK on Instagram for more from Samantha Fong.