What is Documentary-Style Family Photography, Anyway?

This post was originally published January 7, 2016

When most of us hear the words “Documentary Family Photography,” we aren’t quite sure what it means. I mean, we know what documentaries are. And every day, we see film footage or photographs on our favorite websites, documenting current news stories, travel, and culture. 

But how in the world can you document families?

Well, to start, I want you to picture what a day with your family is like, right now, at this point in your lives.

How would the day begin?

Maybe you’d make breakfast first. (Let’s not kid ourselves with the thought of sleeping in!)

Go ahead and picture it. What would you make? Cereal and coffee? Eggs and toast? Maybe with some chile on the side?

Albuquerque Family Photographer Documentary Lifestyle Photography

And what are your kids doing while you’re busy in the kitchen?

Really think about it. Are they playing at your feet while you try to grab a sip of caffeine? Or running through the house, re-enacting Star Wars? Are they watching Netflix to slowly wake up for the day? (Or so you can wake up for the day! Been there!)

What about after breakfast? What does your family like to do together?

Seriously - keep imagining this day in your mind. Maybe you love to cuddle up and read on a cold day. Maybe you like to get out art supplies or work on projects together. Maybe you like to play games, or bake, or dance in the kitchen. Maybe you like to get out of the house and go to the zoo or a park, for a hike or bike ride.

Albuquerque Family Photographer Documentary Lifestyle Photography

At dinner that night, are you having your family’s favorite meal in the kitchen – where everything seems to happen? Or are you outside on the patio, with music on as the sun sets?

And after baths that night, do you read one…or two…or five bedtime stories before you tuck in your little ones? (Or maybe your kids are old enough to read to you.) Do they hold their lovies tight, as you say good night?

Albuquerque Family Photographer Documentary Lifestyle Photography

When you turn off the light - after one more hug and kiss – and this day with your family is done, I want to ask you,

How will it feel to remember this day – holding those memories in your hands - five years from now?

Ten years?

Even fifty years from now?

Albuquerque Family Photographer Documentary Lifestyle Photography

You know, we’re often so wrapped up in the busyness of our days. It can be difficult to see how beautiful our NOW is, until we stop, and really look.

That’s when we see - it’s our ordinary days that are truly special. It’s the little moments that are the most important.

Documentary Family Photography gives us that ability to see.

It tells your family’s story and shows the beauty of your every day, through honest, artful photographs that document your family’s life at this exact moment in time - the personalities, connections, and details that belong to your family alone.

It’s an un-posed, visual record of NOW that allows you to relive real memories - the ones you want to hold onto for the rest of your life.

It’s a history of love and tradition your children will pass down for generations.

For more from my personal projects and the importance of photography, read THIS or THAT. 

For more from my personal projects and the importance of photography, read THIS or THAT