It's been awhile since I shared my joy of storytelling/documentary/photojournalism sessions and how they work. I LOVE storytelling sessions, love, but when I have to explain what I "do" for a living to others, I usually get a lot of blank stares and head nods. It is hard to explain, especially when we live in a world that's mostly used to posed portraits aside from what they see on the news. I want to make sure I'm bridging that gap because if you don't even understand WHAT a storytelling/documentary/photojournalism session is, why would you ever book one?
Simply put, family storytelling is how I tell the story that is you + your family. You can call it whatever you like, but I think it's easier for people to grasp if I say storytelling, so we're going with that for this blog post. Family storytelling sessions have no script, no posing, no forced smiles. This is just your family doing their everyday or activities you enjoy most. We seem to think that the mundane/everyday with our loved ones are the most unworthy of being documented and that couldn't be further from the truth. The truth is, those everyday in-betweens, they're the most important moments in your life and they're the ones you'll most easily forget. We seem to go into auto when we do the same thing over and over, not taking many moments to be present and appreciate this season we're in. When we're old and gray we don't cling to the posed smiling pictures (unless that's all we have) because there is no story behind those photographs. They're simply there to remember what you looked like, not to remember what you felt, what was actually happening in that time in your life. No, the photographs we cling to are the ones that show us LIVING, genuinely happy photographs, happy because we're with the ones we love doing the things we love. Posed photographs do not have that emotion behind them and that's why I can't stress enough how important family storytelling is. Documenting what is "real", that's what is important right now in this season.
I think one thing that really stops people from wanting this type of session for themselves is that they think their family is boring, what could they possibly have photographed in their day to day? Well, first of all, my job is to HELP you decide, I won't leave you hanging! I usually have my clients write down some of their favorite memories from their childhood or even pull out old pictures they have to look back on. It's easy to quickly be flooded with those little bits and pieces of our childhoods, some good, some bad. The good though, that's what you need to focus on. If you could go back and have ANYTHING photographed from your childhood, what would it be? If you are lucky and have pictures of those favorite memories, what makes them so special? Now, think of your children, what is their favorite thing right now? What little bits and pieces will they remember from this season? What will they not remember? Those are all things you need to focus on when choosing what to have documented. While these are for you to hold onto, they're really for your children and their children. These are heirlooms, a legacy, something many of us don't have the pleasure of having.
Gardening, water play, lake swimming, fishing, berry picking, art, legos, cooking/meals, nature walk, sandbox, reading, ice skating, ice fishing, snowman building, hot cocoa, and of course, every holiday tradition you can think of. Don't let these ideas put you in a box, simply use them to play off things that are happening in your life right now.
It hasn't been until recently that we've had the technology to document whatever/whenever we want, and while your cell phone can take great pictures, it will never be what a professional can do in your home. A photographer searches for the perfect light, the perfect (perfectly imperfect) moments, and most importantly, YOU get to be documented with your children. Constantly I am told by moms that the main reason they hire me is because they are never in the picture. Their children will (hopefully) have all of these phone pictures of them doing activities growing up, but the only pictures they'll have with their mom is the occasional selfie or a quick snap of her smiling at the phone between the chaos that is raising children. You have no idea how valuable you are to your children, how badly they'll want you in those photographs when they're your age.
Another perk to these sessions? Dads don't hate them. There's no awkward posing or forced smiles, this is purely them being themselves. Kids also don't hate them because they're encouraged to play and interact how they normally would. After a few minutes of me being in your home everyone seem to settle right in and when it's time for me to leave they usually say, "Already? That's it?". ;)
When is the right time to book these? Anytime, really, but if RIGHT NOW is a season you're loving, do it. You will never regret it. If you're feeling all the feels about your chubby baby becoming mobile, now is the time to document it. If you're enjoying this season of independence with your not so little littles, document it. Time goes fast, I don't need to tell you that, make this a priority.
I'm going to be running a winter special for storytelling sessions this coming Thursday! This is your chance to grab a discounted session, have A LOT of time to save up for it, and have your most favorite holiday memories documented. We can stay cozy inside, play a little outside, bake, decorate, whatever is your usual routine during the coldest season. If you'd like to get the link to book one on Thursday, please subscribe to my newsletter below. I'll be sharing more details on pricing + what's included soon.
Check out a sweet family storytelling session I shot last winter below!