What is documentary family photography?
The idea of a family documentary session is to capture moments while you live life as you normally do. If the kids are playing with the dog, or laughing and giggling together, or crying after doing something wrong, I am there to quietly document the moments. The goal is to capture honest images that reflect your family connections and interactions.
As a documentary photographer, I won’t ask you do to certain activities, smile for the camera, or pose just so that I can photograph it. I will also do my best not to alter the environment in any way (like turning on lights and moving furniture or other objects). I will integrate into your environment, but you don’t have to pretend I am not there. Just consider me a friend that’s come to hang out with you for the day. In fact, telling the kids that I am a new friend coming to hang out rather than calling it a photo shoot can make them feel more at ease and encourage them to act more like themselves.
But we are boring and our house is a mess. Will this approach give us photos we will enjoy?
I think so! Although daily life may seem boring, it is full of ordinary moments that become cherished memories. Instead of having photo shoot memories of trying to get everyone to relax in their dress-up clothes and smile just right without meltdowns, you will have memories of the moments of what it was like to hang out and connect with your family.
Photos of ordinary moments of making a snack, playing a game, of doing household chores can make lovely photographs. Even though the moments may seem mundane, they make up daily life right now, and they will provide meaningful memories years from now.
What if my kids don’t behave?
I have two boys of my own (12 and 16). I totally understand these moments, and honestly, you will get some of the best photos if they are their most mischievous, spirited, or even shy, selves.
But I already take photos of my family with my camera/phone. Why do I need to hire you to do it?
I think it’s fantastic you are taking lots of photos and documenting your family. The biggest reason to have me step in is to make sure that YOU are not lost in the family photos. When I am there you are free to be in the moment rather than trying to capture what’s happening. You get the freedom to enjoy interacting with your family and have those interactions recorded. Your children need not only pictures of themselves in their childhood, but of your relationship with them. Those are the photos that you will all cherish.
What should I do to prepare for our session?
The best thing about a family documentary session is that you don’t have to do anything that you’re not already going to be doing. You don’t have to get new outfits, dress up, or bribe your kids to smile and force them to sit still. The goal is to capture the little moments and interactions that make your family who they are today in a comfortable environment, so that you have genuine images that will be amazing memories for years to come!
What if I am too busy for a several hour photo shoot?
Having a family documentary session means that you don’t have to change your plans. Whatever you are doing, I’ll just tag along. I am there to record a slice of your day. If the kids are playing in the backyard while you are doing laundry, it’s great. If a kid is at soccer practice while the parents and sibling are hanging out on the sidelines, I’ll capture it. If you are headed out for a mini-staycation around town, I’ll be there. We can schedule around a specific activity you already have coming up or fit it right into your ordinary daily schedule.
Do we receive every image you take?
I take a lot of photos in a session and will create essentially drafts as I work to get the moment, expression and pose just right. I eliminate these unnecessary drafts that may have some blur, missed expressions, or just unflattering images. You will still have many images that capture your day.
What will I do with all of these photos?
I believe it’s very important for you to come away from your session with tangible objects, so you can see and enjoy your memories easily. I encourage you to consider an album or prints where your kids can see how much you value them and their relationship with you.