If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably heard me talk a bit about my Legacy Box. I also briefly mentioned it in this blog about why you should print your photos. I have gotten comments and questions about my Legacy Box and I thought I would share some of my thoughts here and maybe help others to get inspired to create their own version. Maybe not necessarily a box- it could be an album or book or journal or whatever you come up with.
Mine is just a box.
What is a Legacy Box?
Simply put, a Legacy Box is just a box of pictures and keepsakes. Maybe a little handwritten note. Maybe a precious drawing. Not to be vague, but it's whatever you want it to be. I'll tell you a bit about mine.
My Legacy Box is just a box with 4x6 printed photos in it and a few hand written notes to my children. This is an ongoing project that I have created for them. It's a bit different than an album because I wanted the experience to be different. I wanted them to have the experience of actually sitting down somewhere with a box in their hands and being able to sift through the pictures and touch them one by one. Pass them around. Talk about them. Read the backs of each picture.
It's important to me that they are able to have that tangible experience.
Not to be morbid, but one day the only thing left of me on this Earth will be what I physically leave behind. I won't be here anymore and my voice will never be heard again. My hope and prayer is that because I put my heart and soul into my art/photography, that my kids will be able to feel my love for them. That they would see themselves the way I always saw them. I want them to feel my love and hear my voice long after I am gone. I want them to always have a visible, tangible record of my love for them.
What do you do?
Again, this is just my process. You can do a whatever you like, it doesn't have to be a box. Each month, I print out several photos (usually 10 because I have a photo subscription service), and I just simply place them in the box. Sometimes I write notes on the back to give more context to the picture or the date. One thing I also like to do is put their names on the pictures because although my kids will be able to tell who is who, when they pass them down to their children, they will want to know more information about the photos.
We also have an instant camera and a vintage Polaroid that we use and will put the pictures we don't display in the Legacy Box.
Is this something you would do for your family? Do you already have something like this in place?
This is very important to me, so important in fact that I include 10 professionally printed and archival 5x7 prints with each session you book with me. You can do with them what you like- display them, share them, or save them in your box. I just want you to have them.
To book your session with me, click here to get started or visit the Contact tab above. I can't wait to tell your story with you.
Honestly, I get it. Scheduling an in-home session can be a bit intimidating. I'm a wife and a mother. It may shock you to know- my house isn't always perfect. It's not really ever "photo ready". But you know what the crazy thing is? It doesn't matter. Time waits for no one. Every day that passes is one we don't get back. Our lives change every day. Our children grow just a little bit older. And the truth of it is, this home is where we make our memories. It's where we grow and love and live together.
And it's not perfect.
But neither are we.
So, that makes it kind of perfect, right?
So, here are some answers to questions you may have asked yourself about what it's like to have an in-home session.
What if my home isn't pretty?
I can understand the hesitation, but this is where you live your life. These walls are what hold your memories. It's your home. And you know what they say, right? There's no place like home. And that is true whether it is your first home, a rental, an RV, or your dream home. It's not what it looks like, it's what it feels like. And that's what I'm there to capture. One day you'll look back on it with nostalgia, trust me.
I'm going to have to spend weeks cleaning. And then the kids are just going to dirty it up again.
Well, that's the cycle of life, isn't it? Ha! I assure you it's nothing I haven't seen before. I'm of the philosophy that if you spend all day cleaning, then you aren't having any fun! I'm not worried about stepping over toys on the floor and in all actuality, one of my favorite things to photograph is how kids leave the spaces they occupied. I call it Found Still Life, I don't know if it has a technical name or not, but I love photographing it. I think it gives incredible insight to the person who was there. It's all part of the story.
Isn't it going to be awkward? Standing around pretending the camera isn't there?
I mean, yes, if I took a fly on the wall approach and didn't interact with you at all. Yeah, that'd be totally awkward.
Luckily, I don't take that approach though. The first several minutes I'm there, I am learning about you, your family, your home, petting the dog, and letting the kids warm up to me- gaining their trust. I approach every scene and every family as if we've been friends for years. I'm talking and interacting with you the entire time. 100% of clients have said it was the most stress-free photography experience they'd ever had- even the toughest of critics! Society and the social media culture has kind of gotten us to think about family photos in only a certain way, but I'm offering you an alternative. A relaxed, no pressure approach that gives you the opportunity to have pictures of what life really looked like for you.
**side note, I do reserve the last 10 minutes of the session for a loosely posed family portrait. **
What do we even do at our in-home session?
Never fear, friends. I've got that under control too. When you first inquire about a session with me, I send you my Client Welcome Guide. It gives a lot of information about me, about the sessions I offer, pricing, and FAQs. Once you officially book and have signed your contract and paid your retainer fee, you'll get a Session Information and Inspiration Guide to help you thinking about what story you'd like to tell and what memories you'd like to document. What it really boils down to is this: what's important to you? Why do you want these photos?
Are you ready to start telling your story and documenting your memories? I'd love to talk to you and see how I can help you achieve that goal. I want to be a part of this unfolding story.
Click here to send me a quick message or use the Contact tab above.
Also, here's a link to one of my favorite in-home sessions to help get your brain and heart on the same page.
Fam Jam Session in Norfolk, Virginia
I know what you're thinking, I've heard it a time or two.
I don't care about your clutter and neither does anyone else.
It's big enough.
It doesn't need to be spotless.
You're not boring.
You are enough. Your house is enough. It's all fine.
And while we're on the subject matter of holding back from making and documenting memories, I'm just going to go ahead and throw out there that you do not need to lose 10lbs to be worthy of being in pictures. Your body is perfect just the way it is.
I don't know about you, but I know I've never been aiming for perfection. I've never been fancy. I just want what is good and true...and real.
When I come to your home, I'm not focused on your mess or your clutter. I'm not there for that. I'm there for you, my friend.
And, I'm willing to bet that the things that fill your home now are things that will bring all the feelings of nostalgia later.
How often do we look at old family pictures and see an old toy we loved and it brings back a flood of memories and feelings? I get really excited about that stuff!
Home is a sacred place and I want to honor that and your emotional ties to this space. And believe me, I get those emotional ties to a space! I've got a few blogs already about that!
When you have an in home session, things are so different. And it's such a good thing.
We're not yelling and hurrying the kids along trying to get them out the door and to an obscure field directly at golden hour. We're not trying to force smiles and pretending to be comfortable.
There's nothing more comforting or more inviting than our own home. We feel free to just be ourselves. There's not a lot of prep work that goes into it on your end, you simply just need to let go and be. I show up and do the rest.
I'm here for the barefoot, mismatched kids.
I'm here for a little chaos, a little adventure.
I'm here for the families who, despite the hard days (and gosh, they can be hard, can't they?), acknowledge and honor this season of life that they are in.
I'm here for those seeking something more out of their family portraits, those who want their portraits to truly showcase them.
If home is where the heart is, then home is also where the story is. Each room, each piece of furniture, each space holds the weight of memories and emotions for us. We simply can't recreate that in a field at golden hour. We've all heard the phrase, "if walls could talk..." and I resonate with that. Your home adds so much depth and meaning to your photos. Your children will appreciate seeing their childhood home in this way, I can promise you that.
There's also the freedom and flexibility to do things your way. Everyone is welcome, including our furbabies. I personally love working with animals! I think they play a huge role in our lives, so I think they also deserve to be photographed with your family. I am willing to bet that for every memory made in your home, the family pet played some sort of a role in it.
Having an in home (or around home) session also allows the family members to express their hobbies and things that they love to do together. I truly believe that makes a huge difference in your photos. What better way to show who you are as a person, as a family?
If you're ready to schedule your in home session with me, I'd love to talk to you about what it could look like and what your specific needs are. I want to know what story it is you want to tell, no matter how big or small it may be. You can email be directly from the Contact tab above or simply click here to be taken to that page.
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.