Why you should do a home photoshoot before you move out

Guest post by Sara G
All photos by
All photos by Aly Winstead

Our first apartment didn’t start as “our apartment.” It started out as my guy friends’ apartment. Two college guys living in the heart of downtown Portland, bachelor-padding it up — living-room-turned-bedroom and all. A lot of great memories were formed there: one of those guy friends became my boyfriend, became my fiancé, and then became my husband.

Our first time holding hands happened in the dining room (which was then a living room). Our first kiss happened in that hallway. We brought our first pet home there, a tiny little gray hamster named Alice. Heck, we even filmed my husband’s first independent feature film there (while I was in grad school by the way… it was quite the month).


So in a way the apartment became haunted over the years spent there, by good memories and bad. It didn’t feel like just OUR apartment, and eventually I knew it was time to move on. There were practical reasons too — rental rates were skyrocketing and we knew ours would be going up soon.

However, it felt wrong to just depend on my own memory and a few Facebook pictures to document such an important space in our life. When a friend (the amazing Aly Winstead!) offered to do a lifestyle shoot to add to her photography portfolio I leapt at the opportunity.

Here are the reasons why you should do a home photoshoot before you move:

1. You can remember how you lived during that time

Our bathroom was about four square feet, and had this odd, highly placed wrap-around mirror. I love that we have photographic evidence of our jockeying around trying to get a glimpse of ourselves.



2. You can document your hobbies and interests

It’s kind of tough to lug a piano out for a photoshoot. And my husband loves to make us fresh coffee every morning. These aren’t the kind of things you wouldn’t usually take photos of for your Christmas card or engagement session, so take this opportunity to celebrate your interests!



3. You get cute pictures of yourself(s)

It can be hard to justify taking nice pictures without some major milestone or accomplishment, but this is a big change that you’ve taken on! If a professional session isn’t in the financial cards for you, that’s fine! Find a friend with a decent point-and-shoot and ask them to come over for an afternoon. Why not celebrate your gorgeous self!?



4. You can celebrate your personal style

Before you take down all of those artfully framed Spider-Man Comics and pack up those carefully selected vintage refrigerator magnets, document them! Your long-agonized-over gallery wall may not work in the next space, so make sure that posterity knows just how amazing it looked!




Comments on Why you should do a home photoshoot before you move out

  1. I thought this was going to be about the other side of taking photos when you move out – so you can document exactly how you left the place in case you have a dispute with the landlord after you’ve handed back the key. I’ve been fairly lucky in this, the worst I’ve had was the next tenant claiming a cupboard door was hanging off it’s hinges, but sending a photo dated to the day we left showing said cupboard with the door open and perfectly functional was a quick way to prove any damage must have happened after we left.

    At the extreme end I know of someone who was told they not only wouldn’t get the deposit back but had to pay an extra £100 because they left the flat in such a poor condition it took a professional cleaner 2 days to fix it and several pieces of furniture had to be replaced. Getting that sorted out was more complicated (it involved some kind of legal adviser but didn’t get as far as court) but photos of the flat in EXACTLY the same condition as after the “cleaning” had happened went a long way to proving that wasn’t the real issue.

    I’d never even thought of taking photos while the place was still being lived in. Sometimes I take photos of packing up, and often take them when unpacking. That’s useful when I start feeling like I’m not getting anywhere and will be living out of boxes forever – I can remind myself that just 3 days ago we couldn’t even get to the cupboard I’m now trying to sort out or hadn’t even found the frying pan which is ‘still’ sitting on the side.

    But I only have photos of my previous homes being lived in if we happened to take a photo of something that was happening there. I might start making more of an effort to photograph everyday life.

  2. I love this idea. My husband and I have been in our tiny little apartment for four years now, and it’s our first real place together. We’re starting to think about moving, so I’m really happy I saw this well before any packing happened!

  3. I wish we had done this before we moved in September. It was our first place and though too small for us I loved it and I’m still waiting for that “home” feeling to really kick in in our new place. Thankfully I’ve got a number of regular photos from the 3 years we were there.

  4. Yes! Yesterday was my eight year anniversary in my little apartment (whoa, that’s like high school and college combined!!!) and I’ll be moving out in May when I marry my husband – who has a house. I definitely plan to take lots of pictures to remember this place that’s so full of memories. Maybe I’ll turn them into an Offbeat Home tour…

  5. I thought this was going to be a “renter beware” post and almost skipped it, so glad I didn’t! This is such a sweet idea that never would have occurred to me. Thank you for sharing! Lovely shoot!!

  6. We moved into our first (and hopefully only) house back in November. We’d been in our apartment for four years and before we left I went around and took pictures. Our apartment was our first home together, it’s where we got engaged, it’s where we first lived as a married couple, it’s where his cat became our cat, etc. I wanted to be able to look back on those times and not have to rely just on fuzzy memories.

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