Documentary family photography

People watching from the window

What is documentary family photography?

Often when people think about booking a family photo shoot, they think that they need a studio with a beautifully lit backdrop for everyone to pose in front of. Then they worry what happens if the kids won’t sit still? What if they don’t want to cooperate?

Watching her mother

What if I told you you didn’t need to worry about any of that. Your outfits can coordinate, or not. The kids can cooperate, or not. Because the beauty of documentary photography is that it captures what’s real. It is like being a fly on the wall, taking snapshots of your life, all the fun of play time, the mess of meal times, the tenderness of a cuddle after knees are grazed. What if posed family portraits are only one side of the picture? What if there is another option?

We automatically take pictures at special occasions, but there are so many moments in every day life that are worth so much. Every day our children say and do things that make us go weak at the knees as their parents. Their mannerisms, their ways, the way they scrunch their nose when they smile, or the way they reach for your hand as you cross the road, are all parts of what make them them. We think that we will always remember these little quirks and these tiny moments. But the fact is that life takes over, life is busy and life moves on. One day that little hand won’t reach up as they cross the road, the sweet giggle will turn to a belly laugh, they will grow up. I know how much I want to savour these moments now, as they happen, so that I will always have the photos to trigger the memories, and flood me with the emotions I felt when they happened.

Hide and seek

One of my favourite things about documentary photography is how everything stands a little more still than usual. If I am photographing my own kids, I am lying on my stomach, not just photographing them, but watching them. Instead of running about doing the washing, or loading everyone into the car to nip to the shops, we stop and we play. In a day in the life session, be it a full or half day, life goes on as normal, but with a little less chaos (although a little chaos never goes amiss) than usual. We don’t stage anything, instead you just do your thing as a family. You eat breakfast in your pjs, or you read stories and draw pictures. Maybe you like baking or riding your bikes in the park. Even a trip to the shops and a walk down the street has moments worthy of capturing, because this is your life as a family and every second of it is filled with precious memories waiting to be made (even in the temper tantrums!)

I would love to talk to you if you think a documentary family photo session is something you would be interested in. I would love to tell your family’s story.

When siblings hug/squeeze!

When siblings hug/squeeze!

As a Glasgow based family photographer and mother of two, I know so well how fast time flies when you have children. I know I want to look back and remember their childhood in all its detail, not just the big moments. But I also know how easily those little moments are forgotten. I also believe that children never grow out of loving a good story, and what better story to tell them, than that of their life, as babies, toddlers, children and upwards with photos to back up all the tales. Most importantly though, those stories would be incomplete without you in them also, because as parents we do everything we can for our children and they will love to look back on that love as they grow. So whether you book a day in the life session with me, a half day, a short session, or even just choose to take photos on your phone, please remember to photograph all the little moments as well as the perfectly presented ones because life is full of stories and those stories deserve to be told again and again!

Mothering like a boss
A mother's love

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