Preparing Your Family for a Documentary Session

So I don’t know about you, but *my* photography day will start off with a french press cup, so that I have a clear head and enough energy to chase down the most wild of toddlers (I love my toddlers, and coffee helps me keep up!).

Besides coffee, here are some suggestions I have for your documentary session:

I strongly believe in being family led.  Each family I meet is a melding unique personalities, and my passion is to capture you – not the smile and say cheese photo (although, yes, I can work to get at least one image that speaks to that for the holiday card or the grandparents) – but to find and capture your specific genuine personalities, relationships, and emotions.

So what does that look like?  I’ll come in and introduce myself to you and your children and probably spend a little time getting to know your children/pets/space.  Four-year-olds make perfect house guides, and I will probably ask them for a tour, especially of their favorite rooms and haunts.

Yes, mom and dad have input too – and if you’d like to plan an activity your family enjoys doing together (Is it making pancakes? Cookies? Painting or constructing a box house? Having a tea party? Jumping off the couch onto the dog?), you can feel free to suggest it to your children.  Sometimes taking a field trip to a favorite place (ice cream store, playground, stream?) can be fun to capture. Sometimes kids (especially toddlers) have their own ideas, and if they make it known that their ideas are different than yours – feel free to let them. The two hours is a built in buffer to allow for time to relax into being with each other and giving me a window into what that is like. My biggest goal is to create opportunities for your family to interact, and for me to capture what is genuinely special about your relationships.

Because my style is organic and authentic, I encourage you not to wear matching clothes (unless you happen to have kids who enjoy wearing matching clothes – like my two girls did for a sweet spell). Clothes that everyone feels comfortable wearing and is co-ordinated in style (ie: not one kid wearing a hand me down soccer uniform, and the other kid in a sailor suit) will photograph well.  Although I LOVE to wear black (channeling my emo teen years!), it doesn’t photograph as well as other things (detail tends to get lost), so I don’t recommend it (but wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s an absolute rule).

Lastly, giving your home a decluttering can help your images. I’m not talking about my-mother-in-law-is-coming levels of cleaning, but a quick shove-things-in-drawers-and-closets will keep there from being distracting elements in your photographs. I tend to like to document the living spaces, kid’s bedrooms and kitchen – especially where there is lots of window light – so those can be your areas of focus. But please don’t feel panicked or judged if everything is not in Pinterest order – my house is in a pretty much constant state of I-have-four-kids state of disorder, and I promise I will still see the beautiful in what is there no matter what!

Again –  I’m always on the search for real, beautiful moments, that reflect real relationships and emotions. My biggest advice is relax, enjoy your family, be patient if your little one isn’t quite ready to do the smile and pose thing yet. Snuggle and hug and kiss and show me the wonderful that I know is there.


Need to Change or Cancel Your Session?

Life happens. Kids get sick, cars break down, plans change. I ask that you provide at least 24 hours notice if you need to change the date/time of your session, and I’ll do my best to accommodate a reschedule at some point during the following month. If you encounter a last-minute delay or emergency on the day of your session, please call me at (856) 425-2534.


What To Expect After Your Session

Within two weeks of your session, I’ll e-mail you a link to your online proof gallery. These images have been artistically prepared and perfected, with a watermark that will not be present on your purchased files. (This gallery is provided for your convenience, but please don’t save, print, copy, or share the proof files on social media.)

Now it’s time for you to select your package, along with the specific images that you would like as high-resolution downloads. If you could use guidance in putting your order together, or if you would like to see samples of prints and products, let’s set up a meeting and I can help you in person. Once final payment for your package is received, you’re free to download your high-resolution files and print release.