What is Documentary Family Photography?

I'm sure at some point you've heard the term "documentary family photography" (if not, that's totally okay!), but may be unfamiliar with knowing exactly what it is.  This post is going to give you a bit more information about this style of photography, and why I love it so much!  Often times when I've chatted about this approach with family and friends, they're often unsure of the style, and prefer traditional posed photos (especially for holiday cards).  Today, I'm going to explain why I plan to veer away from posed family sessions, and incorporate more documentary style into the family photographs I capture for you this year!

Shaina Lee Photography | Connecticut Photographer | Family Documentary Photography

Documentary family photography is my favorite style of family photography.  It's relaxed and stress free.  There's no posing and no perfectly matched outfits needed.  Messy hair is totally okay, and it doesn't matter if your little one's face is covered in chocolate.  You don't even need to look at the camera! Why?  Because that's real life being documented.  Some of my favorite photos of my husband and girls are when they're doing their own thing, not paying attention to my camera at all.  Documentary family photography captures true emotion, not a forced smile when your kids are told to say cheese.

Shaina Lee Photography | Connecticut Photographer | Family Documentary Photography

Don't have any kiddos yet?  No problem!  If it's just you and your partner, documentary photography works just as beautifully for couples as it does for a family with children.  Think of something you two like to do together, whether it be cooking, maintaining the yard or simply taking the dog for a walk around the neighborhood.   I absolutely looooove to photograph my husband when he's cooking.  He's in his element, and his focus is totally on one of his passions.  Documentary photography captures the beauty of your everyday life.  

Shaina Lee Photography | Connecticut Photographer | Documentary Family Photography

Family Documentary Photography FAQs:

How do documentary sessions work?
To start, I want you to picture what a normal day with your family.  I really want you to think about your days, really picture what life is like right now.  What do you want to remember most?

1) How does the day begin?  What's for breakfast?  Who cooks it?  At my house, it would definitely be my husband making us huevos rancheros!  
2) What are the kids (or pets) doing while you're busy cooking?  Are they trying to be part of the action, or are they keeping busy in the next room?  
3) What do you all like to do together?  Do you enjoy playing board games?  Hanging in the backyard?  Is it time to get the craft supplies out and do a creative project?  Maybe you like to curl up on the couch and spend some quality time together on a chilly day.
4) For dinner, what are you having?  Is it your child's favorite meal?  Are they helping you cook?  Do you eat in the kitchen, or on the back patio?
5) After baths that night, do you read one or two or six bedtime stories before tucking in the kids for bed? Do they give you all kinds of goodnight hugs and kisses?
6) When the kids are in bed, do you and your partner have a bit of time to yourselves?  Do you snuggle on the couch, or clean the dishes together in the kitchen?

How will it feel to remember this day, two, five or ten years from now?  How will you feel looking back on these memories?  What is most important to you that you want to remember?

Shaina Lee Photography | Connecticut Photographer | Family Documentary Photography

Do you spend the whole day with us? 
If you'd like me to document your whole day, I am more than happy to!  This gives me the most amount of time to capture all of the details that may otherwise be missed throughout the whole day.  Alternatively, I'm also available for shorter documentary sessions for specific activities (ie. if you're baking cookies with your little one, grilling on the deck or playing soccer in the backyard with your kids).

Shaina Lee Photography | Connecticut Photographer | Family Documentary Photography

Documentary photography gives us the ability to see and remember what may otherwise be forgotten.  We're often so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our days, that we forget to stop and see the beauty of what's happening right in front of us.  When we see these little moments, we realize that our ordinary days are just as special as the biggest ones.  Documentary photography tells your story and shows the beauty of each and every day.  It's an unposed, visual record of your now, your today.  It captures the love between a husband and wife, a mother and daughter, a brother and sister.  It's a rich family history of love and tradition that your children will pass down for generations to come.

Shaina Lee Photography | Connecticut Photographer | Family Documentary Photography

Interested in a documentary session?  Click here to inquire!