Family Documentary Photography: What It Is and Why You Need It | Fayetteville Arkansas

Family documentary photography is new and different. Most people have never heard of it and have no idea what it is and what it involves. They also don’t know what these types of images can mean for them and their family. In this post, I’ll explain exactly what this type of session involves and why I think every family should have one done.


How a Family Documentary Shoot Works

The basic concept of this session is that you live life the way you always do. The only difference is that I’ll be there to take pictures of everything. If the kids are laughing and playing in the front yard, I’m there. If the kids are crying after getting in trouble for doing something wrong, I’m there. Dinner time, story time, tickle time, and temper tantrum time, I’m there. The goal is to capture 100% honest images that reflect who you are and how your family interacts. In order to accomplish this, I follow the ethics of a photojournalist. To put it simply, I won’t ask you to perform certain activities or do certain actions so that I can capture them. I also won’t alter the environment in any way. Therefore, I won’t move furniture or open windows or ask you to move to a different location.  


While I’m there the only thing I do ask is that you ignore my camera as much as possible. You don’t have to pretend that I’m not there though. For the day you can consider me a close friend that’s come to hang out and I just happen to be taking pictures. In fact, telling the kids I’m a friend coming to hang out instead of calling it a photo shoot helps them act more like themselves. I won’t be an awkward person hiding in the corner. I’ll be interacting with you, playing games with the kids, and taking pictures while I do it.


Your Role During the Shoot

The best thing about this type of shoot is that you don’t have to do anything that you’re not already going to be doing. This means you don’t have to prepare for the shoot in any way. You don’t have to get outfits, dress up, or bribe your kids to smile and force them to sit still. You also don’t have to block off part of your week to drive out of your way to a local park.


Instead, you get to play with blocks on the living room floor, sit at a miniature table pretending to drink tea, and relax on the couch to watch some cartoons. You simply do the things you always do. This may seem normal and boring to you too. You may be thinking, there is no way my everyday life is interesting enough to have it documented. But in truth, it’s only normal to you because you live it every day. And because you live it every day, it’s so easy to forget the details that make each day special. Also, kids are crazy! There is always something exciting, playful, mischievous, and fun going on.  


Why You Need a Family Documentary Shoot

Now that we have gone over the basics of the shoot, let’s talk about the why. Why on earth would you want to have a stranger come into your home and document everything you do for a day? To me, the answer is pretty simple. Because these are the moments you are most likely to forget. They are also the moments that matter most. The things you do every day slowly change over time and morph into something new. You read a story to your kid every night before bed until one day you don’t anymore. It’s not something you intentionally stop doing on a given day, but it’s something that just slowly fades away. It’s also a moment that shaped who your kid will become but they are young enough that they may not remember it. This is a moment you want to remember and want to be able to show your kids. Even better, you want to be able to show your grandkids what story time looked like for their parents when they were kids.


Little moments like this happen every single day. The way your kid eats their cereal or the way they lay on the floor when they watch cartoons. The cute little things they do now will slowly fade away the same way story time before bed will. These are things you want to remember. These are the things you want to be able to share with your kids and your grandkids.


Are You Even Slightly Interested? 

You’ve made it this far so I have to assume you are at least a little interested in a family documentary session. If you’re totally on board with having a session then send us your info and let’s have some fun! If you’re interested but not quite on board yet, that’s totally understandable. Maybe you are a little hesitant in having someone with you for an entire day? Maybe you don’t think your interesting enough to have your life documented? Or maybe you think your life and kids are too crazy to have to deal with being photographed? No matter what your hesitation is, if you are even slightly interested, I’d love to talk with you and answer any questions you may have and explain the different options we can offer. So head over to our contact form and lets chat! 



  1. The photos are very natural

  2. Great post and some great images too. The kid with the whisk – too good ????

  3. […] If you’re anything like me, you might be skeptical of this “documentary” photography my hubs keeps posting about.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a minute and check out his recent blog post about Family Documentary Photography.  […]

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