How to Have a Great Documentary Session

south bend family documentary photographer
  • Keep in mind that this isn’t your typical “say cheese” session. There will be minimal posing and direction; the goal of this session is to capture the candid, honest moments you and your family share. Think of me as a talkative fly-on-the-wall who happens to have a camera. 
  • Don’t stress over the camera! (Easier said than done, I know). But really, the more you ignore the camera and just interact with your family, the better your images will turn out. It may seem counterintuitive but trust me, my favorite images and sessions were with the families who just “did their thing.”
  • Avoid clothing with large, distracting graphics or patterns. Think solids and simple. Also, don't overdress for this event. Again, the goal is to share your story and I am willing to bet that your family doesn't share the same color pallet on the average Tuesday so don't stress if you don't match exactly for the session, either.
  • Physical proximity is key! The closer you and your family are physically, the better your images will be. Try and keep this in mind as you interact with one another; plan for group activities that require you to be near one another as often as possible.
  • Young kids love cameras so don't scold them or redirect when (not if, when) they ask to see a photo that I just took. I'm happy to pause and share it with them! In fact, it makes them even more excited to keep going for the session.
  • (If this is an in-home session) Try not to stress over things being out of place, cluttered or messy. While I do encourage a general pick up of distractions prior to the session, that does NOT mean your home should be spotless. I can absolutely shoot around most things and if they bother me too much, I can simply move them in the moment. No worries :)