How do you feel when you think about getting family photos taken? I bet you can come up with at least 5 reasons why now is not the right time. Something like:

It’s too expensive.
I need to lose 10 pounds first.
My kids will never sit still for a family photo.
I don’t know what to wear and how to dress my kids so they look nice and all match well.
It’s a lot of effort to book a photo session and then having to postpone because of the weather. Cause England…

I hear you! Those are all valid concerns but I’ve got a simple answer to most of those worries: Instead of booking lifestyle photos where you dress up, meet your photographer at a studio or pretty location and get posed or directed to look your most beautiful, how about you consider a documentary photo session? I mean, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a gorgeous family portrait taken in the most beautiful light and a wild field full of flowers, but there are other options too. Some that are more relaxed and less posed.

Let me quickly explain what documentary family photography is:

There are a lot of terms describing this style of photography – candid, photojournalistic or “day in the life”. It all comes down to the same idea: You won’t be directed or posed for any photo, ever. The goal is to document life as it is – messy, real, chaotic, fun…

If we go a step further, we don’t have to stop at just taking photos. Documentary family films are a thing too. You can read more about them here:

There’s so much power in capturing normal life – the mundane, the every day, the “unexciting” stuff that makes your life so unique. Those moments that might seem trivial to you, are the ones your kids will remember 20years later. Through honest and real documentary photography and films, we can create memories not just for you, but also for them.

Let me break the different aspects of a documentary family photo and film session down for you:

9 reasons to book a documentary family photo session

1. Photographing a place of meaning.

Your home is such a big part of your life. No matter if you just moved in, if you bought and renovated the whole house or if it’s your first rental together. This place will have meaning to you – if not now, it will in the future. Your home is part of you and no matter how imperfect it is, it’s part of your story which is why I always suggest having at least part of your session there.
Don’t you wish you had detailed images of your childhood bedroom? Photos of your favourite toys spread over the floor? The kitchen you used to bake cakes in with your mum? In an in-home session, those details of your life will be captured. And if there is another location that’s equally meaningful to you, we can go there too.

2. Misbehaving kids or apprehensive partner? Not a problem.

Let me start by saying that I’m not going to pose you – that should make everything a bit easier. Nobody has to perform a photo. There’s no pretending. I will document your family life, including silliness, tantrums, naps and everything in between. Unless any member of your family signals me to not take a certain photo, I’ll capture your family dynamics as they happen right in front of me. And I will NEVER ask anyone to smile for my camera.

3. Capturing authenticity.

That’s a big one for me and I hope for you too. The aim is to document real moments, real smiles, really laughs, real love, real emotions. There’s always a chance that you might “ruin you kid’s day” because the 3-year old wants to use the sharp knife and you won’t let them – in those instances, the drama will be captured too. Because that’s part of your life. Nothing is always perfect and when you look back at those images, I want you to see how things really were on that day. You should be able to feel yourself back to those moments. That’s when I’ve done my job well.

4. The things you do.

The goal of a documentary photography and film session is to record real family memories. While it’s totally up to you how you want to spend the time while I am around to document your family, it’s good to have a plan. Before your session, we can discuss a few ideas and activities you guys to on a regular basis together. The goal is to stay true to yourself – do what you love doing together: making pancakes, paining pictures, potter with clay, go on a hike, visit the local playground. Anything you want to do can and will be documented. And best of all, you can enjoy those activities with your kids, rather than try to take photos for the family album – because that’ll be my task.

After your session, you’ll be able to look back at your photos and film and recall how much those activities meant to your family atnphat point. And I guarantee, your kids will not tire to go through them over and over again.

5. What are you wearing?

As much as we deny it, we’re all a bit vain. Who likes unflattering photos of themselves really? Exactly.

But documentary photography doesn’t mean you can’t look good. It just means you don’t have to dress up, being worried about how your dress, that if we’re honest is not a lounging on the couch outfit, holds up while I take photos of you playing with your kids. A photo isn’t just beautiful when the whole family is dressed in matching outfits, perfectly draped in front of a sunset. A beautiful photo can have so much more depth than that. Capturing your connections and interactions will have so much power that not being dressed in your Sunday best will be secondary. Step away from the Pinterest boards and embrace your own style.

My job is it to find the best angles to capture reality while making sure you look good in the photos.

6. Building self-esteem.

Seeing ourselves on photos helps our self-esteem, especially in children.
In 1975, someone released a research paper talking about this exact thought: Here is an abstract of the article.
But the short of it is that self-esteem behaviours were significantly increased in a group of fourth-grader who took Polaroid photos of themselves (the 70s was the pre-smartphone era after all) over five weeks.

7. Being part of the story.

Have you ever thought about how important it is to exist in your own family story? If you ignore all the selfies you have, how often do you appear in your photos? Will your children have a collection of images or videos that show you with them?  This kind of documentation will prove to your kids how present you were while they were busy discovering all the wonders of life. By giving me the responsibility of documenting all those little milestones your family goes through every single day, you’ll be able to just enjoy being part of them.

8. You’re doing an amazing job!

Let’s not sugarcoat it: Parenting is hard. There are school runs and after-school activities, food prep, fixing things because something is always broken. Daily tears and tantrums, teenage drama, school work, laundry. It’s a lot to deal with. It’s almost impossible to step away and objectively look at your life and see how well you are juggling it all. But I can do that for you. Even when things are tough, all your kids see is that strong superhero woman that makes the world a better place. Let me show you through my photos and videos how beautiful your chaotic life is.

9. Leaving a legacy.

Imagine going through your parent’s photo album. The one where they were young – as old as your kids are now. How does that feel? Things have changed since then. The hairstyles, the cars, the clothes. If you’re lucky, you’ll find – next to the posed images – some candids. Photos that show you personality, real smiles and real moments. Those are the ones that stop me in my tracks. They make me long for more information. What’s the story? Do you know that feeling?

Now imagine 30years from now your kids will be in that same situation, browsing though photos from when they were little or before they were born. This is your legacy. Those documentations are as much for them as they are for you.

Seeing these options, how do you feel about those concerns and worries you might have had about getting family photos done? Interested in getting your own family life documented? Without Pinterest inspirations and posing guides. Send me a message so we can talk about it.