I know I’m making a bold statement in declaring that documentary family photography is the best style there is. But I truly believe it.
With documentary photography, a photo is more than a photo. It’s a story. When you capture people as they are, in their natural habitat, those images have the power to bring you right back to this moment in time. Whether you’re looking at your images in a month, a year, or even a decade, they will conjure up all the memories and emotions that would otherwise be forgotten.
Read more to find out what exactly is documentary photography and if it’s right for you.
The three most popular styles for family photography are Portrait, Lifestyle, and Documentary photography. Understanding the difference can be tricky, but it’s important to do so before determining the style that will best suit your family.
Best for: Parents who prefer more traditional family photos where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling. In the case of Newborn Photos, these are great for parents who want stylized photos of their babies carefully posed, sometimes with props.
Best for: Parents who want photos that are aesthetically beautiful and capture their family looking their best.
Best for: Parents who want photos that reflect their life as it is, in all its messiness and uniqueness.
Really, the biggest difference is that documentary photography captures life as it is while the other two styles will make the photos feel like they were taken on a special occasion.
A portrait or lifestyle photographer will sweep their clients into their world – the subjects in their photos will be part of a bigger look and aesthetic they have developed. Those clients will work within the guidelines the photographer has set.
With documentary photography, on the other hand, the photographer is entering your world and working around you so as not to disrupt real moments as they come up. They are trained to capture those moments that are unique to your family, so your photos will look like nobody else’s.
Here are a few things my clients are looking for when they hire me:
Documentary family photos may be right for you if you’re looking to get photos that really feel like you – capturing the most beautiful aspects of your family’s love for each other and the connection you share.
Read more about Family Sessions on my website!
A big concern parents may have is whether or not they’ll be able to look natural on-camera.
After over a decade of being behind the camera, I learned the secret to making people relax: focus on someone else.
There’s no faster way of looking uncomfortable than spending the entire time thinking about the fact that you’re being photographed!
So during your family session, take that time to really be with your children. Watch them, enjoy them, and play with them. Make the session your special time together where they can take the lead and you follow along.
Next thing you know, you’ll be enthralled in the moment and the camera will be the least of your concerns.
Any good family photographer will be quick on their feet and ready to capture those sweet/intimate/hilarious/loving fleeting moments.
But a documentary photographer is looking for them.
NOTICING is as important a skill for a documentary photographer as using our cameras. It’s like a muscle we train, and the more we do it, the more we notice.
Here are a handful of moments you’d only get during a documentary session:
If you’re local to Los Angeles and are curious about working with me, please reach out by completing the contact form below!
I look forward to hearing from you!
©marjorie cohen photography | los angeles photographer