Most people are intrigued when I explain that I do documentary, lifestyle photography. It’s different, it sounds refreshing, exciting. But, then they start wondering what they would do in an unposed photography session.
“What do I do with my hands? Won’t I look weird? There’s nothing interesting to photograph in my daily life.”
Use your hands as you normally would. No, you won’t look weird. And yes, your life is perfectly interesting just the way it is. I do understand the hesitancy, though.
You already know that I don’t like posing, that I try to push back on the perfectionism pressure social media creates. But, I am aware that just as much as posed photography pressures people to look perfect, unposed photography can bring just as much stress and apprehension to a session.
That’s why I’m debunking three common documentary photography myths.
Busting Documentary Lifestyle Photography Myths
01 – My home must be absolutely Pinterest perfect.
First off, NO. Just NO. Your house does not need to look perfectly prim and proper as if no one actually ever sits on your sofa or reads the books on your bookcase. I highly doubt this perfect Pinterest house even exists anyway.
Your home is about you. It’s a refuge, safe space for your family, and it just needs to be your home and nothing else. Don’t compare it to those pictures, your friend’s homes, or what you wish it was.
There are so many things about the place we knew first, the home in which we grew up that have a profound impact on us. When I think of my childhood home, whether it’s spic and span or has books, blankets, and toys from my nephews strewn about, I immediately feel calm and at ease. I see the fireplace crackling nestled within the chill of a Fall evening. I think of my brother bounding down the stairs and into the kitchen to see whatever it is Mom has been making. I see and hear my sister at the piano.
It isn’t the perfectly clean that I remember. It’s my family. It’s the home my mom and dad fostered.
Don’t hide who you are. Don’t try to make your family fit a picture of the perfect family that they aren’t. Be yourselves. If clutter really bothers you, collect the clutter in a laundry basket prior to my arrival, then stick it into a closet during your unposed documentary family session.
02 – My husband won’t like the idea of a photographer following us around.
I get it. My husband isn’t thrilled, although he participates joyfully when I tell him we’re going to have pictures taken (and he’s married to a photographer!). I also know how much fun we have together during these sessions, and how much fun your family will have as well.
Remind your husband that he only has to be himself.
Documentary, lifestyle photography sessions break down that posed barrier allowing your kids and husband to just be themselves. No posing, no sitting perfectly still, head tilted just so. Just your kids being kids, bringing out that sweet, playful side of your husband often hidden from view.
I am there to capture moments that will make your heart sing.
I know what I am asking, and I understand how uncomfortable it can be allow a stranger into your home to capture the difficult and beautiful moments that comprise family life. This is a gift that I don’t take lightly, and I want you to keep in mind that I am not coming into your home to judge but to witness your story. I am there to capture moments that will make your heart sing.
Every child has their moments, every family has their quirks, and that’s okay. Sometimes I’ll document these, but a lot of the time, I’ll put my camera down. Not everything needs to be documented, even in a documentary family session. So I am asking you to trust me. Ninety-five percent of the moments I am able to capture wouldn’t happen if I posed and directed you. You be you, enjoy your family, and I’ll capture the moments.
03 – There won’t be any good pictures. I have no idea what we should do!
The point of your session isn’t the activity you do with your family, although it is important. The point of your session is spending time as a family. The activity you choose is the starting line for real interaction between you, your husband, and your children.
When planning your session, we’ll talk about what you want to remember most about who and where your family is in life right now. We’ll talk about the everyday moments that fill your heart with joy. we’ll work together to find just the right activity for your family.
If you want to get started brainstorming what to do with your family, click here for inspiration!