A Guide to At-Home Portraits
Environmental or "editorial" portrait sessions are much different than a studio session, so here's what to expect. The details of one's space, though never detracting from the subject, contribute to a nuanced visual sense of who you are.
These photos will have a more narrative than a studio portrait, so they're ideal if you're trying to tell the story of you, your creative process, or business.
My goal in photography and my bottom line in life more broadly is to connect with people in a meaninful way, and to help people to connect with one another as a result. It's important to feel seen in the world-- confidently, by one's self and by others, and for that to be an empowering experience.
Having one's portrait done can be affirming and timeless, and environmental sessions are best for those in search of honest images rather than a standard headshot.
For styling & makeup tips before your at-home session, click here!
(but also keep reading and come back to this - this page has useful info)
Benefits of At-Home Portraits
ACCESSIBLE Avoid the stress of navigating traffic, TTC, or parking and enjoy staying put. Don't freak out or get sweaty rushing anywhere.
RELAXED I specialize in natural light and using studio lights that compliment it. I don’t need overly complex equipment, and when I come to your space I use available light and minimal lighting- I can improvise with just about any amount of window light and all of these elements contribute to a more natural looking portrait.
INTIMATE but never invasive. Having someone in your home requires trust. Boundaries are important and I talk about this with friends and clients alike all the time. Before becoming a full-time photographer I was a house-cleaner for 8 years and truly appreciate the delicate nature of being in someone’s home. Before I say more, please know that I don't judge any space -- I honestly & truly I don’t care if your dishes aren’t done or if your apartment isn’t a pinterest board. The focus of your portraits, no matter where, is always you and your energy. If you really do love your space and just finally got that ikea end-table we can make sure to do some wide-angle photos to include all those details. If you don’t have time to tidy, don’t worry I’m not going to shoot that pile of laundry.
DETAILS If headshots are a late-night run to the corner store, environmental portraits are a whole camping trip (that someone else meal-plans and prepares). If you need portraits for your new publication, to send to your parents, for a conference you’re speaking at, an award you’re nominated for, or just for a dating app, or all of those things, and in-home / environmental sessions are an amazing way to get professional portraits that reflect your actual personality. While the focus is squarely on you, the details of your space surround you and give you narrative.
VARIETY The best part of the in-home environmental sessions is that we’ll have time to shoot in more than one space. We’ll find different spots in your house that look completely different on camera, or walk around outside a bit, weather permitting. You’ll get a variety of photos which you can use on multiple platforms so you won’t find yourself investing in new portraits again in 6 months or even next year.
While some natural light is ideal for in-home sessions, it's not imperative. I can make photo magic happen and enhance the light you've got or even emulate daylight with my equipment. Alternatively, shadows and more dramatic lighting create a lot of character. No matter, I'm happy to work with what you've got happening in your space.
We can find the right light and locations in your space so that you get a variety of “looks” in just one session. No lie, I once had someone stand in their (empty) bathtub just so I could use the skylight as a giant light-box.
To start, I'll have you send me a few pictures of your space at different times of day. What you consider "dim" might be really nice diffuse light! I'll be your lighting expert and let you know how to make your environmental photos happen in a way that matches your vision.
Where do you want to share your photos? What do you want to say about yourself, or your business? Write that down.
Do you want to let people know that you're chill and relatable, and like spending time with your records and pets? Do you want to show potential clients that you're a self-starting, super organized freelancer?
Alternatively if you'd like a non-descript setting/ background I can bring a backdrop to set up in your space
Before your session I can help you choose an outfit that works with your environment over zoom, email, or whatsapp.
On the day of your shoot, I ask that you be relatively camera- ready with your look(s). Whether it's all natural or with hair and makeup done, having this taken care of gives us more time to ease into shooting. It's also great to have an alternative outfit picked out and ready to go. Changing outfits can change the vibe of your photos and give you a bit of down time during a session, but it's best if the outfits are motly sorted out beforehand.
It's a good idea to tidy up before I arrive (if you have time) and maybe even have a little fun styling your space, but this is where my expertise with framing and composition comes in handy. Together we'll sort out which areas will make the best backdrop, spaces that give you some context but don't detract from the main event.
Once I arrive it's great to do a quick tour of your space or the places you might like to be photographed. We can chat and get acquainted - don't worry we're not wasting time if we're not actively taking photos, this is just part of how I work and helps if you feel even the faintest bit awkward or nervous.
We'll spend ~90 minutes together, but I never rush. Depending on the time of day and position of the sun, we can start in your home or an outdoor space nearby. It's really about improvisation, so just be ready to ~go with the flow~. It's nice to spend a bit of time thinking about where you feel best in your space and which rooms have the most window light, and when.
If your home space isn't quite right for your photos, but you still want that creative, editorial look, no sweat. I'm open to meeting you in a space you love. This can be a cafe, local bookstore, park, or I can plan a short walk around a neighbourhood that suits your vibe. Just be sure to check with private businesses whether or not we'll need a permit to shoot there, or if they're open during the pandemic & what their protocols are.
After your session you'll receive a set of lightly edited proofs from which you'll choose your favorite photos, usually with a couple weeks of our shoot. Those selections will then be fine-tuned, and you'll receive ready to share high and web resolution edited photos within 2-3 weeks.
We can go through your proofing gallery together over a zoom chat, and I can help you select your final edits and maybe even prints.
If you chose a package but want more photos than it originally included, you can purchase more images from your gallery within 4 months of your shoot. I offer discounts on 3+ additional images, but frankly my main priority is for you to have as many photos of yourself as you love.
For environmental/ editorial style sessions you'll receive edited high resolution with full sharing and printing rights for personal use. I'll also include a curated selection of detail photos of your space or the day that reflect you and your space.