Do you want to capture memories of your family but are tired of traditional posed photos? Do you want images that capture your personalities and day-to-day life? Then documentary family photography might be for you!
This style of photography goes beyond the traditional portraits and captures the authenticity of your family life. No matching clothes, no poses taken from Pinterest—just your family as they are in all your fun, messy, loving glory. Documentary family photography is about capturing your family’s story in images. Your photographer won’t direct you on how to pose or ask you to look at the camera. Instead, they will focus on capturing your love in its natural environment—real and unfiltered.
Documentary photography may also be called photojournalistic or natural and is sometimes referred to as storytelling or candid photography. These images are intimate and unique and focus on telling a story and showing off who each member of your family is.
The goal of a documentary family photographer is to be a fly on the wall, simply capturing moments as they happen. These sessions often take place at your home or a favorite local park where your family feels most comfortable. As your kids play or chat and as you go about the day, the photographer snaps photos in the moment.
This style of family photo session is perfect for families who want something genuine and real, as well as families who prefer their session to take place in their home. If you have kids who don’t do well with the traditional family portrait atmosphere, a documentary session may work better for them, allowing them to be their wild and weird selves. Plus, you get photos that capture your kids’ authentic personalities, and what parent doesn’t want that?
If you’re busy running from work to school to soccer practice, a documentary family session can be perfect because it requires less preparation than a traditional session. You don’t have to plan out outfits for everyone or promise rewards for good behavior. You don’t even have to clean your house or ensure that everything looks a certain way for your photos. Documentary photography is about capturing real life, and real life is messy! This style of photography makes for incredible images that not only look good on the walls of your home but also are unlike any photos you’ve seen. The resulting photos are wholly and completely your family.
Documentary photography is different than lifestyle photography. Lifestyle photography, while not posed, is still a little more staged and directed by the photographer. A lifestyle session involves significant preparation beforehand, including designing a space in the home to take photos and directing the family on how to sit and what activity to engage in.
In contrast, documentary family photography is raw—images of your family in action. These photos are drastically different from most family portraits but tell a clear story about who your family is and how you live your day-to-day life. When done correctly, documentary family photography results in stunning images that are perfect for wall art and albums, showing exactly what your family is like and how much you love one another.