As most of you might know (if you’ve been following my blog for a while) I love telling stories. That’s why I’m so passionate about doing my shoots in a documentary style. I love authentic moments and capturing real memories. People often feel that they have to have perfect photos that are amazingly flattering and looks like it’s been shot for a stylish magazine to impress its readers. The truth, I believe, is that your memories are so much more valuable AND BEAUTIFUL than staged photographs. When I’m old and sitting in my rocking chair one day, I want to look back at all the memories I had with my loved ones. I want to look at something real to take me back to the adventures I’ve had. I’ve been getting a lot of enquiries lately from families who want to do newborn sessions with their brand new baby boys and girls. I then explain to them that I do family documentary sessions, in other words, a shoot where the family has a day in their life and that I’m the fly on the wall that documents it all. But it’s quite difficult to explain this style of shooting without having a few images at hand to demonstrate with. I then made contact with Kathleen, who has just had a beautiful baby boy. I told her that I wanted to do a blog post to demonstrate to my potential clients the magic of doing an authentic shoot in documentary style instead of the usual posed-baby shoot. She was just as excited as I was about the idea, and she and her hubby Brian agreed to help me out.
I’m thrilled to say that the results were more than I hoped for!
When Kathleen asked me what they needed to do to prepare for the shoot, I told her that doing normal, every-day activities would be a good start. She then explained to me that little Benjamin’s routine included drinking milk, having a bath and, as I later discovered, loads of cuddles. It’s the simplicity of every day tasks that we long back to when time walks on. That’s why it’s so important to celebrate each bottle and baby burp and to not take a single moment for granted.
When I arrived on the day of our shoot, I walked into a warm atmosphere of drinking tea, petting pooches and listening to the legendary melodies of Dire Straits. Brian and Kathleen told me all about their journey with little Benjamin’s birth and how no one could have truly prepared them for what it would be like when the baby has arrived. It’s one of those experiences that you have to live through in order for you to truly understand what it’s all about. After drinking our tea, we proceeded to Benjamin’s room. He has such a beautiful room with squishy plush animal toys to keep him company when he’s hanging out in his crib. He got a bit squirmy which immediately notified Brian and Kathleen that it’s time for his bottle. I absolutely loved the fact that both parents wanted to be involved in every little task that Benjamin required. Both of them took turns when he had his bottle, both of them helped out with his little adorable burps and both of them helped out when it was bath time. It was precious to see how they already knew Benjamin’s likes and dislikes. For example, he likes getting into the water, but when it was time for the lotion he was not happy about it. It really was such a treat to see these two in action and how they support each other as team players. It was a day filled with giggles, kisses, hugs and silliness-which is exactly what I wanted to capture.
If you’re playing around with the idea of doing a family documentary shoot, go for it! This is the perfect way to preserve your memories beautifully.
Just to recap- this is what you can expect from a family documentary shoot.
What to expect:
• Authentic moments with your family
• Shoot will be done in the comfort of your home
• Zero posing
• A regular day filled with the things that make you and your family happy
What NOT to expect:
• Baby posed in costumes
• Baby shoot in a studio
• Baby shoot with props
I hope this post helps to clarify any confusion on the differences in genres for all of you who are considering doing a shoot with your family. It can be so overwhelming with all of the different styles that photographers have in today’s day and age. Know what it is that you are looking for and don’t be afraid to ask your photographer questions about things that you need clarification on. If you have any questions at all about family documentary sessions, feel free to click here and send me a message. I’ll be more than willing to answer any questions you might have.
Special thanks to Brian, Kathleen and Benjamin for allowing me to shoot their beautiful family- it was such a fun day and you guys are a stunningly beautiful family.
Until next time!