What documentary family sessions are like

A documentary family or newborn photo session is very different from a lifestyle session, or a posed portrait session. These are the 10 benefits of documentary photography that I wish everyone knew about when they consider different types of photographers for their family:

1 . There are no posed family group photos

I truly believe that we can’t direct anything as interesting as real life, which is why I capture “family portraits” that happen naturally throughout the session.

2. All real life is welcome

Whatever happens during a regular (or irregular) day with your family, it’s all worth documenting for your kiddos to look back on. Hugging your partner, letting kids watch tv as you cook lunch, bath time, brushing teeth, naps, sending your daughter to their room for a time out – all real life is welcome here.

3. Real is more interesting than perfect goes for your home, too

Whatever the state of your home is right now, it reflects on where you are in your life – and it is how your kiddos remember their childhood home.

4. Bribing your kids is not needed

During a documentary family session you don’t need to bribe or threaten your kids to cooperate. In fact, those approaches will mess with the genuine moments you want to capture in your pictures. I like to say that I do the photo sessions on kids’ terms.

5. Your kids can be themselves

When kids aren’t asked to “behave” for a photo session, you are telling them that they are valuable just as they are.

As someone who used to work in daycare for 6 years I have a little secret for you: ALL kids act crazy sometimes and ALL kids throw tantrums. The moment will pass.

Father comforting toddler to sleep

6. You get to enjoy your family

You may wonder how you can act natural during your documentary session. If you are more focused on what a picture will look like or what you’d like pictures of, you’ll forget to be present with your family – and the pictures will show that. But if you take your cue from your kiddos and do whatever you would do naturally, you’ll get pictures that best represent your family.

7. You’ll get to be in photos for your kids

Firstly, you’ll set a good example for your kids by showing them you are comfortable with being in photos – just as you are. Seeing their parents show up in this way will help their confidence as they grow up.

Secondly, these pictures are something that your kids will cherish when they’re older. You want them to be able to look back on their story, that YOU were a priceless/amazing/unreplaceable part of.

8. You get to dress like you normally do

To have an honest record of your family, you get to dress like you do every day. Too match-y is not real, and is best reserved for formal portraits and lifestyle sessions. When you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, it shows in the pictures.

Toddler acting sleepy in her car seat

9. The camera will go wherever you will go

Whether you need to drop off a kiddo at ballet class, take Jr to swim lessons, or grab some last-minute items at Target, it’ll all be captured as it is a part of your day. No need for special arrangements or to make sure that you stay home for the entirety of the session time.

10. You’ll have photographs of the place where your memories actually happened

Your home and surroundings are where you spend the biggest chunk of your family time, yet the cameras don’t often come out until you leave for a day trip or vacation. The items in your home are a part of your family’s life. You probably have precious items in your home and photographs are a great way to remember them, too.

Mom and boys watching dad dry the car

After soaking up all this information, I would love to invite you to do a fun and relaxed session with me. Are you ready to let your hair down?

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Documentary newborn and family photographer serving San francisco Bay Area, San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Cruz and surrounding areas