“We take photographs as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.”
Do you love looking through your old childhood photography albums? I know I do. I often wonder what it is about storytelling family photography that brings me so much joy and why I became a documentary family photographer. So I wrote a list out to help you figure out if this style of photography is for you, too.
YOU WANT TO SEE GENUINE JOY IN YOUR IMAGES
Bursts of laughter make for great memories, and those are rarely accomplished on command. In documentary photos, there’s an opportunity to show what your child is laughing about, too, as they tell a story about what is happening at the time.
YOU WANT TO HIGHLIGHT EACH INDIVIDUAL IN YOUR FAMILY
Capture all your family as the unique and special people they are. Imagine pulling these photographs out when your children bring home their first boyfriend or girlfriend……….. (My parents favourite one like this is of me sitting on the toilet with a pair of bright red wellington boots on (just like Paddington Bears), which I refused to take of for days as I liked them so much! They always have fun teasing me about this.)
YOU WANT PHOTOGRAPHS OF THOSE REAL MOMENTS OF YOUR LIFE
Looking through traditional portraits, you may not get a lot of insight into what life was like at that point of time in your family’s life. However, documentary storytelling photography will capture those fleeting moments and turn them into memories that will be with you forever and never fade away. – the walks around your home town, the trips to nursery and to school, visits to the shops, those toddler “tantrams”, those messy times with toys laying everywhere, the art projects, the baking, the times with friends, the lazy Sundays. These candid times of our every day, it is in these moments when your real stories are told. They show such emotion to enable us to feel the same feelings again and again. How well will you remember these moments 5 or 10 years from now?
“The beauty of life is truly captured in most the ordinary moments.”
YOU WANT TO SHOW YOUR CHILDREN WHAT YOU WERE REALLY LIKE AS A PARENT
We often do not remember much about our first few years in this world, so documentary photos will help fill in some gaps. Having a professional photographer document your family is different than photographing your children yourself. This way you are in the pictures too!
YOU DON’T WANT THE HASSLE OF A TRADITIONAL PORTRAIT SESSION
Just be able do your thing. As your childern are not being asked to do something specific for photographs there is less stress; they are just happy to get to spend time with you. If you have a newborn, it’s even easier! You just get to snuggle up and enjoy your baby, whether the baby is sleeping or awake. Don’t feel you have to get dressed up and make sure you all coordinate – why should you when you do not normally (well my family doesn’t anyway – maybe we are just different!)
YOU AREN’T SCARED OF THE NEGATIVE MOMENTS
Lets face it sometimes children are upset and throw the biggest temper tantrums. When that happens, you usually have your hands full trying to calm them down. A documentary photographer will capture these moments; both the tantrum and the comforting.
YOU WANT TO CAPTURE THE REAL DYNAMIC OF YOUR FAMILY, NOT JUST THE FACES
Photos that really capture who you are as a family are so important.
During documentary sessions there is no posing or forcing anything to happen. It is you and your loved ones, hanging out, having a lazy breakfast, playing in the garden or reading stories. Just the way you are when you are enjoying quality time together. And me, quietly in the background, documenting the day as it unfolds.
YOU DON’T LIKE POSING FOR THE CAMERA
A lot of people say that they don’t look like themselves in their pictures. If you are anything like me I much prefer being behind the camera than in front of it! I really do not like posing for photos, it just does not feel “natural” to me. With documentary storytelling photography you can just be yourself and forget the camera is there – that is when the magic happens and you can see the “real” you that everyone else sees.
I want to capture these moments for you on a regular day, with regular clothes a the love of a family really does shine. There really is no need to get dressed up or wear matching clothes, just wear what you all feel comfortable in, all you need is to be yourselves and just enjoy the experience.
YOU WANT YOUR KIDS TO LEARN HOW TO BE NATURAL IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA
Have you noticed how most photos of an event or trip are just selfies or group shots? I know I would rather have photos of what actually took place that day.
YOU ARE INTRIGUED TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR BACK IS TURNED
Children get up to a lot while the parents are looking elsewhere.
This is why the photos that mean the most to me personally and evoke the most emotions and best memories are the ones where we weren’t aware of the camera, that are completely unposed, we are just going about our daily life. My children having a water fight in our garden in the summer, fun moments baking or the joy of creating something special using art and craft materials. If it had not been for becoming a mother, I do not think I would have discovered, what I believe is so important to so many families out there. As soon as you have a little one of your own, time just seems to fly. You blink and they’ve changed!
From rolling over to sitting up
Crawling to those first wobbly steps.
From running to climbing.
Babbling to talking.
………………….and boy do they grow!
Those chubby baby cheeks and legs, those tiny hands and feet you loved so much, just fade into distant memories. It is all so long ago for me now, as my two are both teenagers – now, how did that happen?! I already feel myself getting a little nostalgic, with a hint of sadness sometimes over the past.
Anyway, enough of that. What I’m trying to say is that, I realise how quickly life changes for all of us, this inspired me to photograph those “Every Day” moments of my two since they were tiny. I do know that having beautiful “staged” portraits can be lovely on your walls, and it is often what grandparents want but I strongly believe, it’s these Every Day moments that we should capture as well.
I feel that IS what ultimately we all will want to remember, well I know I do! We can pass these onto our children. This is why I really want to help others tell their stories. To capture those small things that count to you. The morning routines, from waking up, breakfasts, the walks to school, the struggles, the dancing, the sad moments, the happy moments, the bath-times, you name it I want to capture everything that makes your normal “Every Day” special.
These sessions are best for people who value beautiful photography but would like to approach it in a much more spontaneous and unique way.
If you want to find out more why not contact me for a chat about why a session like this could be for you.
With time, you may find photos of your everyday life more beautiful than any portrait ever could be. The mundane, the chaos, and the small moments of everyday love that make up your life are the photos you are likely to treasure years from now, I know I do. These are the photos your children will most likely want to see when they grow up far more than a posed photo that looks just like the one hanging on everyone else’s wall.