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What is Documentary Family Photography? - Jacksonville, FL

Updated: Jun 4, 2019

Finch and Laurel is a documentary family photography service, but you may be wondering, what exactly is documentary family photography? It's still a fairly new and emerging genre in the field of photography, and we'd love to tell you a bit more about it, some of its benefits, and what to expect!

1. Documentary family photography is all about real life.

It's worth capturing, we promise. There's no staging, no getting dressed up, no need to clean the house. We're capturing who you and your family are, right now, in this moment. If that means a house covered in kid's toys or dog hair, your family spending half the day in pajamas, or not having a perfectly decorated house because it's still a work in progress, that's all part of this stage in your life. You're going to want to remember this, imperfections and all.

2. We're photographing for the future.

We photograph documentary family photography with the goal in mind of creating images you and later generations will appreciate looking back on. That's why we encourage our families to plan their session so that they'll be spending time in places that are part of their routine and that are meaningful to them. So much living happens in our homes, so time spent at home is often a central part of these sessions.

Think back to the last time you went through old family photos. Which photos resonated with you the most? Were they the posed ones where everybody looked perfect and smiled at the camera? Or were they the ones that captured a special moment or memory, and showed the personalities and relationships of the people in the photos? Our aim is to deliver the latter.

Take the photo below, for example. This is the type of photo that these kids will come back to in adulthood, and they'll have a good laugh at it. They'll point out how they remember the old backyard, and oh my gosh, that's the bike they learned to ride on without training wheels, and oh look, remember when Oliver went through that phase where he always wore a Moana necklace? Remember how mom always wore Converse sneakers?

We're out to create heirlooms for our families-- treasures that will trigger memories decades later.

3. We don't pose you.

If you look at us and ask us what to do next, we'll ask you to do what you normally would! We don't want each family's photos to look cookie-cutter and the same; we want them to represent who you and your family really are. We can accomplish this a lot better by letting you interact and live your life as you normally would, rather than by getting you into a pre-selected set of poses. We'll help you to think through what you normally do daily and what moments and details you treasure together as a family ahead of time, so we can make sure to capture those moments and activities for you.

4. We're with you for hours.

We're not kidding! We offer Half (3-4 hour) and Full (10-12 hour) Day in the Life sessions, so we're there for most, if not all, of your day. Why? Because some of the best moments happen when your kids first wake up and hop in the bed with you, when you're eating breakfast together, when it's tooth-brushing or potty training time, or when you're winding down at the day's end, doing bath time and reading bedtime stories.

Our camera won't be on you the whole time, don't worry! We operate on an open-door policy, so if you have a door closed, you'll have privacy. We also build in breaks during down time (like nap or TV time) for us to eat or rest for a moment, so there will be times when we're not taking photos.

P.S. You can talk to the photographer! We have no misconceptions about being a fly on the wall; this is more like having a friend over to hang out (who also happens to be a professional photographer).

5. You do you.

Every one of our families is so amazing and unique, and we want to make sure to document the things that make you special. If you would usually let your dog eat at the table, please, don't let us stop you! If you need to do laundry, go grocery shopping, or pick up an older sibling from school, that's part of what we want to capture for you. Your kids will look at the photo of mom and dad folding laundry together and appreciate how hard you both worked. They'll love to see photos of them getting to ride in the special race-car grocery cart, or have a melt-down in the store; these are their childhood memories, after all.

All in all, documentary family photography is for everyone. Every family, of all shapes and sizes. We all have moments in our lives that we'll appreciate having captured and looking back on years later. Maybe it's a normal day in your life, or maybe it's the day you bring your newborn home from the hospital for the first time. Maybe it's a day at the beach together as a family, or a day you spent on a date with your significant other, just the two of you as a couple. Maybe it's the day you bring a new pet into the family, or give your dog his best day ever because of a bad prognosis.

We're here to document it all, so you'll have these memories to cherish forever.

Do you think you might be interested in a family documentary photography session? Please reach out to us through our contact page, here!

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