Documentary Family Photography:
Frequently Asked Questions (Geez, where do I start?)
If your question isn't covered here, please don't hesitate to ask!!
What's the difference between A Day in the Life and A Day in the Love?
A Day in the Life Family Documentary Photography refers to the genre of documentary family photography, as opposed to lifestyle or portrait photography, that takes a photojournalistic approach to photographing your family. This is my approach to the photo session, however I combine this with intimate interviews to produce A Day in the Love℠ Family Documentary.
What about lifestyle photography? How is that different?
You can look up the Wikipedia definition here, but know that there is a spectrum of portrait photography that falls under lifestyle photography. This article by Lisa Tichane broadly defines it as something in between classic portrait photography and true documentary photography. Sarah Williams makes a point that true lifestyle photography captures "real-life events." In practice, true documentary photographers do not interfere with events as they unfold whereas lifestyle photographers give direction. It's a different approach, but the goal of documentary photography is to get to the point where the subjects feel so comfortable that they no longer pay attention to the camera. That's when they start to act like themselves. However, if you need that one portrait for your holiday card where everyone is looking at the camera but you're worried that classic portraits are too formal for your little ones, look into lifestyle photography as a way to make that portrait in a familiar environment. Just make sure you review portfolio images to understand a photographer's approach to the session and what the end result looks like.
What should we plan to do for the photo session?
For younger (preschoolers) children, the fewer plans you have the better. The less stress there is, the happier everyone will feel which make for better pictures! Since it is a family session, it would be great if the entire family is present for most of the activities. Consider it a good excuse for a stay-cation! For elementary school children, having 1 or 2 activities for the day makes things more interesting. These don't need to be exhausting, grand expeditions; simply making a meal together or taking a trip to the local ice cream store will do! For older children, I suggest 3 or more activities for the day. Card and board games are a great way to get everyone involved. And remember, running errands together is a really nice way to capture "your everyday."
What if the weather is bad?
Since my goal is to document your real life, I'm not phased by bad weather any more than you are.
When exactly will be you there?
I take pictures from "PJ's to PJ's." I would like to be there from the time your youngest child wakes up until the oldest turns in.
What will you need from us during the session?
If you are planning an extra special outing to a specific location, please check their policies on photography. Aside from Boulder Open Space, you are responsible for obtaining any required permits for professional photography. Otherwise, I ask that you provide all transportation to and from the home (unless otherwise agreed upon) as well as all (non-dairy) meals so that I can focus all my attention on making great pictures for you.
What about other family members? Friends? Unplanned guests? Pets?
It is your photo session and you may include as many family and friends as you like. I love including family pets as much as possible. Unplanned guests are welcome as long as you obtain their permission to be included in your session.
Since you're there all day with a camera, can we get some family portraits in too?
Unfortunately, portrait sessions are a whole other ball of wax (see lifestyle portrait explanation). Specifically, my interaction with you and your family is very different and it is confusing for everyone involved to mix the two kinds of sessions together. At this time, I am not offering lifestyle portraits but would be happy to refer to photographers who do!
How should we prepare for the photo session?
Ultimately, you should be comfortable with the state of your home and your choice of clothing. Leaving your house as is and wearing whatever feels good is as real as it gets and I love capturing that. However, if you'd prefer to tidy up a bit, it can sometimes help make for cleaner pictures that focus more on the moments that happen. As for clothing, comfort is top priority especially for small children, but if you can steer away from clothes with busy patterns or bright colors, that will help the pictures as well.
How should we prepare for the interview session?
My approach to the interview is to be spontaneous and true to the moment or day.
Ok, what's the bottom line. How much does this cost?
The photo session won't cost you a dime. Honest. In order to guarantee my availability for your session, I require a contractual agreement and a retainer. If, after viewing your finished images and slideshows I am not able to take your breath away, I will refund the full amount. It's that important to me that you LOVE what I can do for you.
What if a whole day is too long? What if I want to call it quits during the photo session?
It is understandable to think that a whole day is a looooong time with a stranger. I will do everything I can to spend an enjoyable day along with you and your loved ones because I don't plan to be a fly on the wall. That's creepy. Ideally, we will have already spent some time together during the pre-consultation and interviews to get to know one another. But if at some point something just doesn't feel right, please discuss it with me and we can decide on the best course of action.
What if one of my kids is sick that day?
Aside from seasonal colds, the perpetual runny nose, and the lingering cough that just won't go away, sick children (think fever, vomiting, diarrhea) don't want to be photographed and you won't be happy with the pictures. We will reschedule if possible.
How do you handle nudity, such as during bath time? I don't want pictures of my kids in the nude posted on the internet.
I am comfortable photographing however you and your children are comfortable being in your own skin. My own kids preferred running around the house in their birthday suits and, yes, I have pictures of them this way because it was part of their identity. A model release is required as part of my contract so that I may update my portfolio to showcase my best artistic work. As a general policy, I avoid using full frontal views in my portfolio.
What products do you offer?
Just as you do, I love that we are in a digital age and offer digital files for purchase. But it's most important for the photofilm and pictures to live beyond the electrons on your secure home computer in a tactile form that your family and guests can enjoy on their own, unprompted, which is why I present the photofilm and slideshow in a custom Video Book that only has the function of playing two videos. I also offer a true, archival-quality photographic book with seamless, full-spread pages as well as an interchangeable wall collage for purchase. Find more details here.