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12 Tips to Help You Rock Your In-Home Couples Session

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If you follow me on Instagram then you probably know I LOVEEE doing in-home couples sessions and taking pics of couples in the space they’ve created together. Yes, I also love adventure sessions and heading out into the middle of the mountains with couples who wanna explore the great outdoors, but there’s something so special about taking photos in the coziness of your home. My fiancé and I even take a ton of self-portraits together in our home when I feel like getting creative or am feeling inspired!! So I wanted to give you some tips to help you nail your in-home couples session and make it as amazing as possible. Here ya go!

12 Tips for a Dreamy In-Home Couples Session

1. Be yourselves!

First off, BE YOURSELVES. I know I know this is cliché and probably isn’t the type of tip you came here for, but really, in-home sessions are all about capturing the two of you in your most natural states. Documenting how you live your lives together on a daily basis and capturing the little moments that you may not pay attention to because you’re so used to them, but that you’ll want to remember through photos in the future. And if you’re caught up in worrying about how you look, how aesthetic your home looks, or trying to be people you’re not just for the sake of the photos, then your photos won’t authentically represent y’all. 

I want you to be yourselves, to be weird and silly as you dance around the house or crack jokes while you put away your dishes together, just like you do every morning. The surefire way to get the BEST in-home couples photos is for you to act like you do normally in your relationship, and let me capture it naturally – without you worrying about posing perfectly or looking like a picture-perfect, overly happy couple!!

2. Do your favorite activities together

We want your in-home photos to bring out your unique personalities & again, capture the two of you doing what you love to do together – so incorporate some of your fave activities into your photos!! Think about what you guys do on a daily basis, during a night in, or on a lazy Sunday morning: do you wake up, make coffee, and cook breakfast together? Read the newspapers? Do you flip through your own books next to each other on the couch for hours? Do you fold the laundry together and listen to a certain playlist on your speaker? Maybe your favorite way to spend a night in is to pour two glasses of cheap wine, put together a simple charcuterie board, and watch a movie or play games on your Xbox.

Whatever the two of you love to do together in your normal lives, do it during your session so that it can be captured for you to look back on later in your lives!! I know these moments might feel small and insignificant right now but trust me, you’ll miss them someday and wish you could have frozen them in time to have as memories. 

Some other ideas of activities you could do together during your session, if you’re feeling stuck:

  • Play a board game
  • Cook a meal
  • Bake a cake
  • Sip coffee out on the porch
  • Listen to records on your record player
  • Water your plants or plant seeds in your garden
  • Roast marshmallows around a campfire

3. Use props

A super easy way to elevate & add variety to your photos is to use props during your shoot! Props can also help add unique elements of your personalities into your photos in a visual way. Think about the activities you want to do together during your shoot like I mentioned above, and brainstorm what props you could incorporate for each of those activities! Or just think about what props you could add into photos that would help represent your unique personalities + your relationship, even if they’re not related to any activities you’re going to do together.

Here are some prop ideas for your in-home session:

  • Souvenirs you bought on your honeymoon or a special trip together
  • Record player or your favorite records
  • Your favorite coffee mugs
  • Your favorite books
  • Houseplants you love
  • Your Xbox controllers
  • Bottles of your favorite drinks

4. Include your pets and/or kids

I alwayssss tell me couples to bring their pets along to their elopement and the same goes for your in-home session!! Your pets are a huge part of your lives, so of course they should be a part of your shoot in your home. Play a game of fetch with your pups in your backyard, feed them the treats they love, snuggle with your kitties on the couch, play with their favorite toys, give ‘em all the love they deserve. 

And if you have kids, you can totally include them in some of your photos too! Of course, we want your shoot to be about the two of you and your love, and to give you some special time to yourselves, but your kids are obviously an important part of your relationship & your lives together – so bring them in for a few special family photos in the home you share together.

5. Rent an Airbnb

If you don’t want to actually shoot in your home for any reason (maybe you just moved in, you don’t have a ton of natural light, or you’re not happy with how it’s decorated at the moment), you can totally rent an Airbnb instead to still get those cozy, home-y vibes. If there’s a certain feel you want for your shoot, you can most definitely find an Airbnb with design + decor that fits what you’re looking for. I personally loooove all the A-frames that the PNW has to offer. Maybe you guys love to rent cabins out in the woods together for your vacations – you can find a cozy cabin out in the woods for your session instead of doing it at home! Just remember to bring along any props you want to use, or items you’ll need for any activities you want to do during your shoot.

I wrote this blog post about the 5 best Airbnbs in Washington for Airbnb elopements, but all of the places I included would also be epic for an in-home sesh!!

6. Set up a romantic bath

I may be biased because my fiancé Jake & I love taking self-portraits in our bathtub, but bath photos can be soooo steamy (literally) and romantic if they’re your vibe. If you’re not comfortable stripping down a bit, you totally don’t have to do this – it’s just an idea for those of you who might want to get a little more saucy for your session! If you love taking baths together to relax in the evening, set up your bath how you normally would. Or get creative with it and go all-out with rose petals, a bottle of champagne, a bath tray, bubbles, whatever feels romantic to you!! Make it just like a scene out of a rom-com if you want to, have fun with it!

7. Don’t worry about your home being perfect

Because in-home sessions have become wayyy more popular lately, I know it can be easy to judge your own home because all you see on Pinterest + Instagram are seemingly picture-perfect homes with perfect lighting, perfect decor, and perfect color palettes. While it is great to have as much natural light as possible for your photos and to have a somewhat aesthetic background, don’t worry about your home being absolutely perfect!! If you go out and buy a bunch of new decor or re-organize your home just for the sake of the shoot, and your home no longer really feels like yours (but instead feels like something out of a home decor magazine), then what’s the point? You want your photos to represent YOU and your authentic life together, so don’t go and try to make your home “‘perfect” if it doesn’t feel true to you. I promise I’m a pro at finding the most aesthetic parts of your home to use for your shoot and also at getting creative + making any space look good 😉

8. Loosen up

If you’re feeling nervous, go ahead and loosen up with the method of your choosing – maybe a shot of your fave alcohol, a mixed drink (how cute would it be to make cocktails together in your photos!!), or a few hits of a joint. Do whatever you need to do to relax and be able to feel like your best selves!

9. Pick multiple outfits

I always recommend bringing multiple outfits to a shoot so that you have plenty of variety in your photos, and so you can represent all the aspects of your personality. Pick out a few different pieces to wear during your in-home session, and keep ‘em cozy + comfy like you would normally wear. If you want to get a little steamy, you can wear some lingerie or something that shows off some skin. Layers are the best way to create variety in your outfits without having to fully change outfits 2-3 times – you could wear lingerie underneath your pajamas, or layer a cardigan + pants over a cute bralette + PJ shorts and just take pieces off as you go! Wear whatever you feel best and most confident in, and you’ll be good to go.

10. Take it outside

If you have any sort of outdoor area (a front yard, backyard, porch/patio), let’s take some photos out there too! Especially if you love spending time together outside, maybe just hanging out in the evenings on lounge chairs, having drinks around a campfire, or playing with your dog in the backyard. If you have a pool or a hot tub, throw on your swimsuits and jump in for some fun pics! 

Here are some fun self portraits that Jake & I took at Mt. Rainier a while back, we had fun roasting marshmallows around a campfire in the woods for our photos 🙂

11. Don’t be afraid to get a little weird

There is soooo much freedom when it comes to in-home sessions because you’re not limited to certain locations, and you don’t have people around that could be watching you – so don’t be afraid to get a little weird or think outside of the box! You don’t have to stick with just your couch and bedroom, we can move into the bathroom and you can hop in the shower for a few photos, or sit on top of the laundry machine for a few pics. Don’t worry about posing perfectly, get comfy together and relax as if you were at home on the weekend just enjoying each other’s company. Play around with props and different rooms – maybe you have a room that has a bright pink wall & neon signs that doesn’t look like the “traditional” neutral-colored in-home photos that you see on Pinterest. Shoot there anyway!! Let’s play around with colors, patterns, textures, shapes, and all the different pieces of furniture you have – there are no limitations!

12. Get creative with lighting

Finally, get creative with your lighting too! I love natural light of course, but you can do SO much with other types of light, too: fluorescent bathroom lighting, direct flash, neon signs, colored LED lights, string lights in the backyard, IKEA lamps, we can use it all. 

Check out these self-portraits that Jake & I took during quarantine, where we wrapped a bunch  of star twinkle lights (like these ones) around us in front of all our plants and greenery! It was SUPER uncomfortable but ended up actually turning out so fun!

Seattle In-Home Couples Session Photographer

If you & your love want some in-home couples photos of your own after reading all this, I would love to come over and take some for ya 😉 Let’s have FUN and capture the two of you in your element, living your best lives in the space you’ve created together! Check out my website here for all the ‘tails about what I offer, and reach out to me here so we can start planning your dream in-home couples session!

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