Why Documentary Sessions?
In a world of perfect Pinterest poses, curated Instagram lives, and Snapchat filters, a documentary style session seems unnatural.
HERE ARE 5 REASONS NOT TO SCHEDULE A SESSION
and why I think you should do it anyway, you little rebel:
1) Your home isn't perfect.
No one's home is perfect. And while I believe it is important to document your place as part of your journey, it is not the focus of the session - you are. If documenting life inside your home is a definite no, let's explore your neighborhood. What other areas feel like home to you?
2) Your body isn't perfect.
Life doesn't wait for your body to be perfect. It is happening now - as you tuck the kids into bed, wash the dishes, pour a glass of wine, and read this. Life is happening. Think back to you favorite photos from your childhood. I can promise you that they aren't model-perfect moments.
This is one of my favorite photos.
Here, my mom is only a year older than I am now, bathing my sister and I in our kitchen sink. I've loved this photo for years - mainly because my mom's perm is hilarious. But now, I really love this photo. It moves me. I feel her, squeezing two kids into the sink, working to make the most of bath time with silly mohawks and splashing bubbles. I become her every night as I bathe my own son. Images like this remind me of where I came from and where I'm going. My dad didn't take this photo to share on facebook. He took it to preserve this moment, to make time stand still. He took it for me.
Please do not think for a second that you are alone. I, too, want a perfectly curated Instagram feed that makes me, and my life, look and feel awesome. But I can promise you, your children don't care about any flaws that you find in your appearance, now or when they view these photos in 20 and 30 and 40 years. They care about how you make them feel, the time you spend with them, and the memories you create together. They long to remember the essence of your life. None of that is visible in a mimicked Pinterest pose.
We're too hard on ourselves. Relax, your beauty extends beyond your body, and that will shine through.
3) It is vulnerable.
I get it, it's hard to let people in. To see the mess, watch temper tantrums unfold, or photograph you from a potentially unflattering angle. I've experienced it. I scheduled a lifestyle session for my family twice - once when Jacob was a few weeks old, and another a few weeks ago.
During our newborn session, being a parent was so new. We were packing up to move in two weeks, and I was battling a second round of mastitis. My clothes didn't fit. I was running on no sleep. But I also knew that just like the first few weeks of parenthood, these moments would quickly escape us. Soon, we would forget what it was ever like to not be a parent. And despite all of the forces moving against me, I LOVE our photos from this session. They are on my wall. Jacob is so small. And they transport me back to when motherhood was still so new.
This summer, we scheduled another session with the same awesome photographer to celebrate surviving our first year of parenthood. Cake smashes are fun, but we decided instead to document our typical summer Saturday. We chased Jacob around the house, went to the farmer's market, and grabbed breakfast at the coffee shop on our block. And guess what? My house wasn't fully clean, Jacob had a pre-nap meltdown, and I dropped my iced coffee all over the sidewalk. But this is our life. And the entire series of images brings me to tears (with joy, of course).
It's so easy to find flaws in yourself and get wrapped up in comparison. Take a risk and let someone in. There are moments of tenderness going unnoticed. I promise I will find beauty in your every day.
4) What will I do with all those photos, anyway?
Of course, you'll download them and save them on your hard drive, but you're also going to print them, damnit! You are going to frame them on your wall, create albums, and hang them on the fridge.
Hanging funny, sweet, and tender photos on your fridge will save your sanity. Remember that moment after dinner last night (the dinner that no one would eat), when you finally got the kids in bed, and then you looked around at the mess and felt like you could scream? Or earlier in the week, when you got home from work late, exhausted and missing your family? These photos will give you a little reminder of how quickly time passes, and how even in the hard moments, there are things worth savoring.
And you'll likely change your Facebook profile picture, and maybe the cover too, because there will absolutely be photos from our session that you want to share with the world.
5) But! I have a phone + camera to capture these moments myself.
Have you ever dropped your phone in the toilet? I have. Please back up your pictures right now, because they are also awesome and much needed.
Parents' phones house thousands of photos of their kids (as of this post, there are 5,064 on mine). This is our way of remembering and sharing their moments. Even if you have a professional camera, you also need to be photographed. I want to be the one behind the lens so your kids can remember you - just as you are. They will need these photos one day, as they also become parents - to inspire, change, motivate, and reassure them, just as photos of my parents have done for me.
I'm saying this all with love.
You don't have to document your life with me, but you should document it. And I would be truly honored if you let me in.