A Documentary Style In-Home Couple’s Session: Storytelling and Making Pasta

Kayla and Ben have a weekly tradition that most of us would drool over – homemade pasta, every Sunday. No – not just the sauce. I’m talking about flour and eggs – pasta  from scratch. Don’t worry – this isn’t a food blog. When Kayla asked me to capture this Sunday fun, my heart did a happy dance! My job as a documentary style photographer is to capture the ordinary – the day-to-day love, and show just how intimate and impactful those shared moments are. This session is the perfect example of how the smallest things, like making dinner together, turn into the most meaningful images of your relationship and tell the deepest story of your love. 

Kayla and Ben: Storytelling and Sunday Traditions

Kayla is an industry friend of mine- owner and founder of Simplicite Social. We met on a brand shoot a little over two years ago and stayed in touch ever since. Kayla came to me with the world’s cutest idea – an in-home photoshoot, her and Ben making pasta. She said it’s their Sunday tradition – making pasta from scratch, starting with just eggs and flour. As a Documentary Style Couple’s and Wedding Photographer, that was my DREAM request! The thing about Storytelling Photography is that the smallest moments are the ones that make for the most meaningful photos. When I plan my sessions with my couples, I always ask what they like to do. They usually give me a broad hobby, like running. I always ask them to go deeper. I’ll ask “What do you do on a Sunday at home together?” or “What do you do when you’re together and there’s no distractions or technology?” That’s usually when the authentic parts of the relationship start to come out. The real, raw moments. Because it’s the little things that matter most. 

In-Home Sessions: The More Authentically YOU, The Better

A common misconception with in-home sessions is that you have to have a perfect, fancy, picture-perfect home. That is SO far from the truth. Honesty, in my professional and artistic opinion – the more quirks, the merrier! That’s what makes it feel real, lived in, and authentic. Sure, tidy up beforehand, pick up the pillows and vacuum the rug, but the home you have is the perfect one already. People get nervous when it comes to in-home sessions, whether their house isn’t “aesthetic”, or they need to go hike a crazy mountain for epic photos, but I’m telling you to leave those fears here. I LOVE in-home photo shoots because it’s where couple’s tend to feel the most comfortable and in their element. You’re not worried about other people walking by while taking photos in a public setting, braving the elements, standing in the middle of a field with nothing to do, the list goes on and on! Obviously, I love my outdoor shoots more than anything, but this is to debunk all those in-home session fears!

The Outfits: Choosing What Feels Real

Normally I wouldn’t put polka dots at the top of my ‘What To Wear Guide’ – honestly, I’d probably discourage them, but Kayla’s dress was perfect for the theme. We were going for 70’s, romantic, old Italy, dinner date vibes, and the dress fit perfectly. One key element that I LOVED was how flowy her dress was, and the stunning lace details. Another important part of the outfit that made it work so well is the shoes. Well, really the lack of them! 😉 I always tell my couples this – your outfits need to make sense. Do you wear heels around your house? Probably not. If Kayla were to have worn heels, it would’ve thrown the whole vibe off, because it wouldn’t make sense. It would have looked staged. The bare feet give a really soft, intimate vibe to the setting. It also totally dresses down her outfit. I’m a BIG fan of neutral colors for guys. It really distracts and takes away from the session if their outfit is a really bright color or pattern. Plus, if Ben would have worn a patterned shirt with her polka-dot dress, the session would’ve been really hard on the eyes, and not anything what it looks like here. 

The Importance of Detail Shots

It’s allllll in the details y’all! It’s not about the big fancy and flashy things – it’s in the smallest ones. If you look through these photos, they tell such a story. They look like they are scenes from a movie. That’s intentional. But when you put them all together, that’s when the story unfolds. There wouldn’t be a story to their gallery if it was all photos of them hugging and kissing and staring into each other’s eyes. Sure, it contributes to it, but if the gallery was just that – it wouldn’t have any meaning or context. When you think of a movie – they set the scene. They show you the smallest details, whether it be the crack on the wall, the wrinkles around the eyes, the weather outside. It’s because these details are what help the viewers understand the story and how it FEELS. That’s what I do in every session, and you can see here. I combine really intricate detail shots, like just the hands, the egg being cracked, putting on the vinyl record, the steam of the pasta. The vinyl record helps us set the scene and sound. The motion blur in the hands kneading the dough creates movement. These all add up when put together to tell a story.

Stuck on Session In-Home Session Ideas? Here are some questions to ask yourself to dig deeper and spark some ideas: 

Questions To Help Plan Your In-Home Session:

  • What are our favorite hobbies?
  • What do we do when it’s just us at home?
  • What do we do when there’s no distractions?
  • What are our favorite small memories?
  • What are our traditions as a couple?
  • What’s a typical Sunday look like for us?

And, that’s it! My goal as a Documentary Style Photographer is to tell a story – one that is real and genuine to who you are and your love story. In order for me to do that, I need an inside scoop to your love. I know, it’s vulnerable, but that’s where the real magic happens. Telling a story is so beautiful, but above all, it’s special to me – something I don’t take lightly. That’s why it’s so important for me to tell it in a way that’s more than just cookie cutter poses. It’s why I take the time to get to know my couple’s and find every way I can to make their photos feel exactly the way their love feels. It’s why I love my job – I get to do just that. 

January 16, 2024

Hannah Kutner



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