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What is documentary family photography? 

In short, it is telling the story of your family. It has nothing to do with coordinated outfits, perfect hair and makeup and having a photographer tell you when to smile. It is much more about seeing the beautiful things in your ordinary, messy, gloriously imperfect life. It is about capturing not just milestones, but those small moments throughout your day that connect you and make you a family. 

We get yearly family portraits. Why should we have a documentary session? 

Those family portraits you had done last year… you know, the ones where you agonized for days over coordinating outfits and then sat in the park pretending to have fun but really you were just stressed… those photos are really nice and they are lovely for holiday cards. But, they don’t tell anyone anything about your life as a family or who you are as individuals. 

Documentary photos fill that gap. They begin to tell the story of the beautifully quirky, unique individuals that make up your family. They capture what your family is like right now, in this moment. 10 years from now, you can look at them and remember that funny face your son used to make back in first grade or the how your teenage daughter could roll her eyes in a way that made your brain hurt! The session will capture your mundane Saturday morning routine, when everyone has messy hair and sleepy eyes, or the utter chaos of getting your little ones to bed. These are the memories and photos that become more precious with time. These are the photos that you’ll look back on, photos that will be brought out on weekends when the kids are home from college, photos that you’ll show to your grandchildren. That’s why a documentary session is such a great thing.

But…our life is boring

I promise you, that isn’t true! Think back on the last week with your family. Can you think of a single moment where you were really, truly bored? Probably not. There is always something going on, whether it’s just the kids watching football with dad, the teenagers playing video games, or your little one ‘helping’ you fold laundry. I promise you, there is beauty in those moments. 

A session in my house? But my house is a mess!

I assure you, it’s not nearly as bad as you imagine! Your house isn’t meant to be pristine, with throw pillows in place and floors devoid of dirt. You house is meant to be lived in. The moment you start making things perfect, with no toys out and all of the dishes neatly put away, you are altering the real story of your family. Really, you are your most beautifully perfect when your imperfections show. And really, that’s the great thing about a session like this. There is no judgement, no expectations, and best of all, no pressure to be that perfectly posed family. 

Okay, but what will we do? 

That is totally up to what you would like for your session. We can capture a general Saturday morning in your life or, if you want to have a planned activity, inside or out, we can do that as well. Anything from making pancakes to a day at the lake or just grilling out in the back yard… there are so many options! Stuck for ideas? Don’t worry, I’ve got loads of ‘em!

That sounds pretty great. But will we get framable images? 

Absolutely. Unposed photos look amazing as a gallery wall and are great conversation pieces. After all, photos are not meant to just live in the recesses of the digital world, forgotten on a USB drive in a dusty drawer. They are meant to be printed and cherished.

Will we get any photos of all of us together? 

Sure! I like to start the sessions with a few lightly posed photos just to break the tension and get the family used to my being there. However, if you’re looking for a perfectly posed, everyone look at the camera and smile type of photo, I’m not your girl. Seriously, people are often uncomfortable in those moments and that can show up in the end result. My goal is to make sure you are comfortable and having fun! If you’re stressed out during our session, I’m not doing my job. 

I'm liking the idea of this! But, what will we wear? 

Honestly, whatever makes you most comfortable. If you’re not comfy the photos will reflect that. So, if dad usually spends Saturday in basketball shorts and a t-shirt, please don’t force him into khakis and a polo shirt.

I am happy to give some guidance, though. Neutral colors tend to turn out best for these sessions. Dark, rich jewel tones are great as well and even a few pops of brighter colors look great! Keep in mind that large logos or trendy prints can take away from the timelessness of your photos. The only thing I ask is no solid red. Unless, of course, your little one is spending all of his days in a Superman cape or his favorite Spiderman costume. In that case, we’ll make it work!