"You don't realize until things are gone that you missed a picture of them" -Martha Cooper

Documentary photography sessions are like creating a time capsule of what your life is like at this moment.

Documentary photography is all about telling the story of your life, the highs, lows and in-between. It's taking the mundane and making it beautiful. There are no directions, no sit here, look there, no "everyone hug". It really is just your real life, your beautiful crazy life, frozen in time. Photography is the only tool that stops time itself. These sessions document that important stuff in your soul that you want to remember. The childhood you hope your children will one day recall. Documentary photography chronicles day to day life as well as significant and historical events. They are images that tell a story. It preserves those everyday moments for all of time.

How is documentary photography different than lifestyle photography?

This is how a real life photography session goes:
YOU: proceed in your normal routine of life just like there is no one there with a camera
ME: photographs said normal routine life
That's it...
I mean it, that easy. 

How Does It Work?

Documentary photography chronicles day to day life as well as significant and historical events. They are images that tell a story preserving those everyday moments for all of time. Documentary photography sessions are like creating a time capsule of what your life is like at this moment. These sessions are about 90% unposed, undirected, candid and really fun. They celebrate the mundane or extraordinary, recording the recurrent or infrequent moments that make up the story of your life. A real life driven photograph is like a good song, it tells a story allowing you to visit the past.

What does real life photography even mean?

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a great example of what this mom described as a "boring day"

First of all, I know better, you might think your life is boring, but there is beauty in the mundane. Secondly, don't worry, your session can be as active or as inactive as you want. Maybe you are a family that regularly plays flag football in the back yard, cool! Maybe you are more the type to sit on the couch watching a movie eating popcorn, also just as cool! Documentary sessions are about documenting your life, just as it is, not as someone you are not! Maybe you have still have little kids and want to always remember what bath time looks like at your house. Maybe you have older kids that are gone all the time and when they are home are glued to their video games. That is a memory of what your life is like right now.

But our lives are too boring for a documentary session, we don't do anything...

Just tell them that they get to be themselves. They won't have to sit all awkward somewhere, they won't have to look at the camera and smile (well, maybe one time), they won't have to do anything they don't want to. All that is required of them is that they play, hang out, be real, be comfortable and have fun! They don't even have to dress up! Honestly the more comfortable everyone is, the better!

What's the best way to get my family on board?

That's where the other 10% comes in. I am more than happy to make sure we get a few of those planned, posed, directed images too. I understand the importance of having those too!

What about that one picture of everyone looking and smiling?

Trust me when I say your house is nothing like the mess that mine is! I shoot in my home all the time, it's dark and there is always dirt on the floor and at least one pile of laundry in the corner. It has given me lots of practice on shooting around the mess and the clutter to make sure that is not highlighted in an image. On the flip side of that, that mess and clutter show your life, your kids toys all over the floor, the dirty clothes they take off but never quite make it to the laundry basket, the backpack they always drop off as soon as they hit the house from school. Those are the details of your story, they are like the supporting characters.

But our house is a mess...

Nope! I mean you can if you really want to use this as an excuse to buy new clothes but I always recommend wearing clothes that make you feel good, that you love, that make you happy. That goes from mom through to the whole family. I do recommend staying away from branded clothes (nike, characters, etc), but feel free to go with fun sayings, patterns, your sweatpants or let the kids run around naked.

Do we need to go out and buy new clothes?

The best location is a place that has some meaning to you in some way, a place that will bring back fond memories. Your home is a great place to start, your neighborhood, places you frequent often as a family (even Target or Ikea can be a fun family session!). Sessions can always be more than one location, so we can get those pretty images of you and your family walking in the woods or on the beach along with the deeply meaningful images of your home. Need some more great ideas for a location, check out my location guide! No, you do not have to wait until the golden hour (8pm in the summer) to have a session! That is another great thing about documentary sessions, they are so flexible to your needs and your schedule!

Where is the best location for a documentary session and do we have to do it so late in the afternoon?


Still have questions?

Feel free to contact me and we can talk, either in person, on the phone, video chat or email!

Sure! I am a print-based photographer which means I want you to have all of your story in a tangible item that you can pass down from generation to generation. USB's corrupt, computers crash and clouds blow away with the wind, think about that floppy disk that you can't access anymore. Hanging family pictures on the wall has been proven to boost kids self-esteem, plus they are great conversation starters. Don't worry though, I understand the need for having digital images as well, so I am here for all of your needs. 

Can I just get digitals images?

After our meeting, I will send you an invoice for a deposit to secure your date and allowing you to break up your payments. The remainder is due 48 hours prior to your session. Cash, check and paypal (credit card) are all accepted. Want to know more about what the investment will be and how the process works? Click right here. Payment plans are available as well, you just have to ask!

So how do I pay and what comes with the session?

We talk over email or phone about what you want photographed and we set a date and time. Once we set the date, then I come hang out with you and take some pictures. It is seriously the easiest, stress-free session you have ever had! After your session, I will post some sneak peeks on social media. Two to three weeks later I send you a gallery and we talk about what images would look great in album and which should go on your walls. Products will then be delivered approximately 2-3 weeks after your order is placed.

How does the whole process work? When do I pay and how long until I get to see my pictures?

No, it isn't, it all depends on the story you want to preserve. Do you want to preserve your morning routine on Sunday morning? How you wake up with kids feet in your face, roll out of bed to make pancakes and bacon, and then snuggle on the couch after breakfast to read books. That requires time, but this best part of a documentary sessions is you are not "on" during the whole session. There is no pressure, no looking at the camera and smiling, you just go about life as normal and I hang out with you like your best friend from out of town. I am going to sit down and eat with you (with my camera next to me), I am going to play with your kids, and talk to mom about mom stuff. The longer I am there, the more I get to know your family, the more everyone relaxes and realizes the camera isn't scary and the more everyone interacts with each other in a real life way.

Maybe you just have a short story you want to tell, that hour before bedtime when the kids are running around like they just drank a gallon of caffeine and you are trying to wrangle them into pj's and get them to bed. Maybe you just need an hour to show off that nightly walk around your neighborhood with the kids and dog in tow. The amount of time you need is up to you and your story! 

Is a 6 or 12 hour session really necessary?