I Was Wrong and My Husband Was Right | Why I Love Family Documentary Photography

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

When he originally started family documentary photography, I thought to myself…”Cool, but who prints those?”  But I also told him, “You do you Boo.” So he did.  He met and captured multiple families from Dallas, TX to a small town in Southeast Kansas.  He spent half day or an entire day with them.  An entire day consisted of the time they wake up till bedtime.  It was an interesting concept, but I just couldn’t get on board with it for myself.  Thoughts crossed my mind like, “I’m too boring, I look like a hot mess 99% of the time.  Or I don’t know that I want pictures of how weird I can be with Z.  And oh, do I have to clean my house because if I look like a hot mess, you should see my house.” Jason reiterated how it doesn’t matter what I look like or what the house looks like, and that I’d want to remember these moments.

“We cherish those moments and the new moments we create every day”

His words didn’t hit home with me until I looked over at Zayden this past month.  I glanced at him and thought to myself, when did you grow into a little boy?  HOW did you already grow this much?  Why can’t you just go back to being a little bitty baby that I could fit on my chest perfectly while you sleep?  Now you’re so big, my lungs feel like they’re going to collapse when you lay on my chest.  I miss those sweet, innocent moments.  How do I get them back?  Honestly, it makes me a little teary-eyed even thinking about it.  We cherish those moments, and the new moments we create every day. I am so grateful Jason captured them.  He started documenting the day Zayden was born. Here are a few of my favorites from the earlier moments.  I took a few here and there, but mostly these are his Family Documentary photography work.

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“So… we sat there on the ride back to the hotel, face-to-face, in the sweetest moments I can ever remember with Z”

Jason continued to take unscripted and unposed photos of Zayden and me throughout the past 10 months, at home or on trips.  He took them when I was looking a hot mess.  Or when the house was straight chaos, and that’s ok because those are the real moments I want to remember.

On our most recent trip to San Francisco, Jason and I were in an uber with Zayden.  It was around nap time (which is ever changing) and he was simply NOT having it.  I felt terrible for the uber driver because he was screaming at the top of his lungs.  We had tried everything to calm him down.  And mama was almost in tears because I just felt helpless.  He was tired, uncomfortable and wanted his mama to hold him and I simply couldn’t.  I got real close to him, face-to-face in a last-ditch effort to try and calm him.  He just closed his eyes and went to sleep, so we sat there on the ride home face-to-face in the sweetest moments I can remember with Z.  Jason, THANKFULLY was there to capture it.  I didn’t know he took it, because he’s sneaky like a ninja, but he did.  This was another perfect example of Jason doing what he does best, capturing the real moments.


“This moment was important to me and I don’t want to forget it”

I can not be more thankful for the sweet moments he captured.  Like the time Zayden met two wonderful people that were such a rock in my spiritual life as a child.  These two people just poured Jesus love into me every single day that I can remember.  After moving a couple of states over, I don’t have the opportunity to see them regularly but it was super important for them to meet Zayden.  This is that moment.  You can guarantee this picture is printed in his 1-year album.  This moment was important to me and I don’t want to forget it.  It’s also something I can show him YEARS from now when I talk about all the incredible people he’s met in his life.


Or the time he got to meet his great-grandparents for the first time, or second time.


And the little moments, like the first time he tried ice cream.


But, it isn’t just about the firsts, but family documentary photography is about the important, meaningful things you can’t wait to show your children when they grow up.  I want to show him the way he would eat his yogurt every morning or how he’d slam his hands down when he wanted “more.”  I want to remember him climbing on and all over his fur-siblings or playing with his cousins, running amuck on the beach in Mexico or San Francisco.  All are small times I’d lose in this busy brain of mine if I didn’t have something to remember it by.  These moments shouldn’t have to be a faint memory, I should be able to relive them!

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“I don’t want these moments to be a faint memory, I want to relive them”

I scroll through my phone about once a month (ha – who am I kidding myself, more like once a week) looking at past photos I’ve taken of Zayden.  Like, ok…. cell phone photos are so convenient, and despite good technology these days, it isn’t the best quality.  In fact, there’s no way I can print them in a quality album. Plus, I lose and/or break my phone about once every 2 years. It’s great to have the cloud but it can be slow and unreliable sometimes.  It breaks my heart we rely so much on technology to work…what if I get hacked and I lose it all? What will I have?  Social media, where most of us only post the highs in our life (ha), what about everything else?  THANKFULLY, I made the choice to let Jason document those important moments – the chaos, the crying, the laughing, the dancing, the exhaustion – and I have them printed. They’re on our walls. They’re in our kitchen, bathroom, living room, in my car, etc.  In 2 months I plan to print a 1-year album and then a 5-year album, 10-year album,18-year album to keep milestones.  Maybe that’s overboard? I don’t know, can a parent’s love be “overboard?”  Nah.  And when his kids ask him for photos of their grandma or great grandma or funny photos of him as a kid, he will have those to show them.

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“They definitely don’t care if the house is picked up”

Say no to traditional!  Embrace the unscripted, unposed moments in time. Enjoy the hot mess you are because your children don’t care what you look like, and they definitely don’t care if the house is picked up or not. Even if it is, they’ll just destroy it anyway. Ha.  Trust me, they’ll appreciate the smiling posed photos, but they’ll laugh hysterically and fall in love with the unposed and real photos.


  1. Cheryl Garcia says:

    Chasnie, you are a terrific writer – you got across a great point about family documentary photography….and the great photos here are so wonderful to see. Good job, Jason. And hugs and kisses to baby Z.

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