Tips from the Pros

Top 5 Tips For Selling ‘In-Home Sessions’ To Clients

In-home Photography Sessions

I’ve always felt in my heart that home was the best place for a photo session.

Yes, location shots are beautiful with their stunning, sweeping landscapes and lots of beautiful light. But home? Well, if you are aiming to capture the place where 90% of memories happen, you can’t beat it.

I’m a big believer on shooting people as naturally as possible. So piling them all up on a big rock in the park perfectly, well, that isn’t truly natural to me.

I recently made an announcement to my clients that I would only be offering in-home sessions moving forward. We would also shoot outside the house, on their block and even up the street if there was a spot they would generally congregate as a family, but it would all be personal to them.

I had always done a majority of client shoots at home but I never said ‘no’ when I was asked to do a location. I expected there to be some drop off, but there was virtually none. In fact, there was an excitement and a trust in the process for clients who had been with me for years.

Are you struggling with the fact your heart and passion is pulling you more towards the documentary in-home style, but don’t know quite how to position yourself to sell the idea to clients and potential clients?

Read on for some tips and things to keep in mind that will allow you the freedom to truly shoot what you love:

1. Purge your website.

The very first step you need to do to position your style is to comb through your website for any images that don’t speak to the in-home style and remove them. Yes it’s painful. There are going to be some killer images removed, I’m sure, but what you put out there for the public to see is exactly what you will be hired for at the end of the day. So if it doesn’t fit the in-home, backyard, their street criteria, it has to be removed. As far as your blog, that is a history you don’t want to mess with too much BUT be sure to have your most recent blog posts speaking to this style.

As far as social media? This too is a timeline. No one expects you to stick with a certain style from the second you launch to present day, but again, be sure to start filling that feed with the work in which you wish to be hired for so the message will be clear.

2. Portfolio build.

Here is where I urge you to be patient. Though you may want to jump right into this, so stoked to begin shooting in this genre. If you don’t have a good amount of images that speak to this style that you love, you will need to get some before you are off and running and spreading the word.

Schedule some in-home shoots pro-bono with loyal clients or friends and family to help build this side of your portfolio. You need the ‘meat’ to back up this style. One or two shots won’t fully illustrate the power of the in-home shoot. You want a variety of shots inside and outside the home on your site, Facebook, Instagram etc. to show exactly what this type of session can offer to clients.


3. Develop a dedicated Pinterest board.

With every new inquiry I receive, in my response along with the rate card, is a link to my in-home session Pinterest board. It is emailed so they can see exactly the style in which I shoot and can be educated on this style of shooting. Don’t rely on just your website to educate them. Having a ton of varied examples in various homes, apartments etc. will help the client understand how you can work in any in-home situation and still produce amazing images. Education is key when selling in-home, and seeing is believing.

4. Announce it. Everywhere.

Facebook, Instagram, G+, Twitter, a marketing email blast. Use ALL of these tools to spread the word that you are conducting in-home shoots. When I made the total switch, I also made sure to keep referencing the term ‘in-home sessions’ with every preview and blog post. I did this to continue to hammer the message home so that it was clear to clients and potential clients alike. I cannot stress enough how important a consistent message can be. You can never say it enough in my book.


5. Be at peace. It isn’t for everyone.

Just because you love in-home, please don’t be surprised that others may not. You cannot force your style on anyone, no matter how much you educate or try to sell them on the beauty of it. Inevitably you may lose some clients. Or maybe they will do it once and then move on for a year and then come back to you. The important thing to ask yourself are these questions: do in-home sessions make your heart sing? Do you edit them with a smile on your face and joy in your heart? Then that my friends, is what is most important at the end of the day. The clients will come. Just be patient.

I hope those tips will help you achieve client success when offering the in-home option. I’m a firm believer that we all need to shoot what we love, in the style in which we love.

Don’t ever compromise or try and fit yourself into a style that isn’t you. In the end, those that shine brightest are those that are shining from within, with happy hearts that they are shooting what truly moves them.

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– Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman
Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman










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11 thoughts on “Top 5 Tips For Selling ‘In-Home Sessions’ To Clients

  1. I felt like this post was for me. 🙂 Yes I feel so much happier when I’m doing in-home sessions vs posed & pretty at a non-meaningful location. Yes, I want to transition fully to this genre. Ahhh, thank you so much for passing on great info on this topic. Very inspiring.

  2. I did two in home sessions for the same client. One for Christmas and one fornsoring. She loved it. And so did I!! I also did a tiffinay’s 1st bday theme at the home of the bday girl. Also loved it!

  3. I love life style photography and would love to do more but found it very challenging only using natural light. Do you use a flash? Any tips conquering not so good lighting?

    1. Hi Elly… I spoke a bit about this on the Facebook Artsy page in the comments there but no, I never use a flash. I only use the natural light available. I also am armed with two amazing camera bodies (the D3s and the 750 both Nikon) that can handle high ISO and shoot with prime lenses that also let in a lot of light. After 6 years of doing in-home I have come to love all the different light but I have a lot of shooting time under my belt now so my biggest advice is get out there and shoot not in just your home, but friends homes as well!

  4. You said, “in my response along with the rate card, is a link to…” What is the rate card???

    1. HI Brandi, a rate card is my rates for having sessions and what I offer package-wise.

  5. obviously I know you can’t look at someone else’s pricing and think it will work for your area, but how do you structure your pricing for sessions like this? What kind of products do you offer? Do you give a disc of digitals or do you try to sell product?

  6. I’ve just begun shooting in home sessions. I had so much fun. I’m just curious if you have a suggestion on which lenses you use for what areas of the home, etc. and do you use any artificial light or only natural? And, any other tips that might be helpful in capturing the candid moments with the families/ children. I’d love any help. Thanks.

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