family playing toy blocks

How to prepare for our in-home documentary family photo session?

You booked a documentary-style family photo session.

You did it! You felt ready to have your real-life documented, as a celebration of your family, and to create this visual story to enjoy and for your children to anchor their childhood memories.

 You scheduled your documentary-style family photo session, and now the date is approaching. It may be your first time letting a photographer come to your house. You have heard me say how we embrace all imperfections, but you still have questions.

Let’s go over a few of those questions I’ve received from clients about getting ready for their in-home family photo session.


What should we wear?

girl skateboarding

I get this question a lot, and I understand that so well. In fact, I don’t know what to wear on most regular days. So when you are getting your entire family ready and dressed for your family photos, you want to get it right.

Let me reassure you, you can’t get it wrong. 

For documentary-style sessions, my number one rule is that there are no hard rules. It is important to me that everyone feels like they get to be themselves because that is actually what I will be documenting. So if your son decides that today he will be wearing his unicorn costume, or your daughter is convinced those checkered shorts go well with that butterfly shirt, that is totally fine.

Ask yourself how important the posed family portraits are to you if you’re even deciding to include those in this session. For posed family portraits, my recommendations are slightly different, and if we are including portraits in your in-home session, but we are playing in the backyard afterward, it’s absolutely ok to change outfits. 

In conclusion, you can wear what you want, with bonus points for everyone to feel comfortable and confident in their outfits.

What are we going to do?

Even though we don’t stage or style during documentary-style family sessions, I do recommend thinking about moments in your life you love and cherish.

Keep it simple, and trust yourself. You know your family better than anyone else, so go with what feels right to you. Here are some examples of moments I’ve documented for other families, for inspiration.


What about the dishes?

I often get welcomed into a home with a warm hellogirl hugs mom in kitchen and an apology. The toys are everywhere, the dishes aren’t done, and there is laundry on the floor.

Please, do not worry. I am not in your home to judge or photograph the mess. I’m here to document the love, the connection, and the crazy beautiful chaos that is your family. Your kids will not remember the dirty dishes, they will remember the games you played, the stories you told them, the bike rides in the neighborhood. 

And that is what I will focus on for our photos.


The best time.

The magic about documentary-style family sessions is that any day, any season, and any time of the day works great. These images are going to show memories that go way beyond tidy counters, perfectly matching outfits and fake smiles. This is real life, and it’s worth embracing, capturing and remembering. Let’s schedule your session now.


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