Is Documentary Family Photography Right for My Family?

Documentary family photography; is it for everyone? It might seem daunting to allow a photographer to come into your home for a few hours–or a day–and photograph EV.ER.Y.THING  that happens (yikes!). If you can get past that fear, past the need to orchestrate how you want your pictures to look, get past how you are used to seeing family pictures done–then you are in for the most amazing experience.

Documentary family photography is all about preserving real life memories for you and your kids and with that comes a whole heap of benefits.


Families that have humor – kids do weird things! Actually, we all do.

Jenna Christina, San Jose

Families that have appreciation for their kids as they are. We have a secret to share with you; all kids act crazy sometimes! But in all seriousness – if you embrace who each individual in your family is, you will love the pictures that show off their personalities.

Families that are kind to themselves. You are beautiful, amazing, and strong for just being a good parent. No extra pounds, love handles, or double chins are going to matter to your kids. Not in photos, not in real life.

Families that are able to let their guard down. Having kids can be exhausting at times, and it’s ok to show that in pictures. Imagine your kids looking through the pictures when they have kids of their own; they’ll wonder about how you ever dealt with them!

Families that are nostalgic. You see the value in preserving real life moments in photographs. This might seem obvious, but it not always easy to let go of the “Pinterest Perfect” values. You are the kind of person who in case of fire would rescue family albums.

Families that are family oriented. You recognize that the images are keepsakes for your children, and not primarily something to blast on social media. Yes, they are memories for you but ultimately they will be something for your kids to remember their childhood – and YOU – by.

Tova Friedman, New York



A relaxed photo session.  Our clients will typically say that it feels like they have a friend over to hang out, rather than a “photo session”. Pretty soon, you forget the camera is there as you go about your day.

There’s no need to make your kids “behave”. On a documentary family session, kids get to be their awesome selves, to dress like they always do, and to spend quality time with you. Weekends are precious, so you don’t want anyone to be feeling like they are doing something against their will. A documentary family session is done on your kids terms. They wear what they want and do what they would normally do.

You will get images that capture the spirit of each individual in your family. The quietly thoughtful kids as well as the arrived-in-a-hurricane-blizzard active ones. By allowing everyone to just be, your documentary family photographer gets to capture what it is that makes each person unique, capturing all their quirks, likes and dislikes and personality traits.

You will get your real life captured as creative art work – not just photos of everyone’s faces. Documentary family photographers are artists. They are trained in the techniques of photojournalism to craft beautiful pictures from your everyday life.

Sybil Rondeau, France

You will be able to relive the moments in the photos. Whether it’s a heartwarming cuddle or a heartbreaking tantrum, you’ll be able to see that moment from a new perspective, relive it and share that moment with future generations.

The photos will remind you of a slice of life – not a photo session. Our aim is when you look at the images that you will instantly remember that time in your life (not that time you got everyone dressed up to meet a photographer in a park you’ve never been to).

Your photos can bring out feelings in people who may not have met you. This is one of the most powerful things about documentary photographs – they can make us feel what the person in the picture is feeling, even if they are a relative we never got a chance to meet… including your great grandchildren, imagine that!

If you would love to capture your family’s real life, you can click here to Find a Documentary Family Photographer in your area.

Original written by Jenna Christina (San Francisco Bay Area based family and newborn photographer), edited by Lia Edwards (Munich based documentary family photographer) for the DFP community. Images as credited above.

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