Preparing For Your [LIFE] Session

[LIFE] film + photo Sessions focus on your family interacting naturally, going about your everyday life either at home or a location that is very special to your family.  Instead of posing outside in a park, we take video and photos of your family playing, cooking, having a dance party, doing art projects, walking to get the mail or doing bath/bedtime together.  These different from “lifestyle” or my “regular” family sessions because those sessions still have posed photos/elements to them. [LIFE] Sessions are completely un-posed to capture authentic moments of your family at this current stage of life and focus on the video aspect.

I love documentary sessions because they are so meaningful not only now, but they will continue to be in the future. These photos will grow in meaning over time. I want to help you remember the “remember when” moments. The seemingly mundane, but ultimately perfect moments with your family that won’t last forever. As a mother, looking back I know there will be nothing I want to treasure more than the snuggly mornings in bed, before bedtime dance parties or even spending an hour reading through favorite books. We just don’t get these times back.

More and more people are becoming familiar with the term “documentary photography” but ultimately there will still be questions, especially if this is your first experience. I’ve put together some tips below to help make your session with me successful and put your mind at ease.

1. RELAX.
A [LIFE] Session takes 2 or so hours. Please don’t feel like you need to be “on” the whole time.  Get a snack, use the restroom, take some quiet time. Whatever you need. Capturing your life as it normally is is important to me. Both parents don’t need to be involved at the same time the entire time either. It’s great to have some of just mom with the kid(s) or just dad with the kid(s).  I’m an introvert, and I know that taking a breather when I’m feeling “peopled” out can be incredibly refreshing. I want you to feel like taking that time is okay for not only yourself, but for your kiddos too.

2. HAVE A FEW SIMPLE ACTIVITIES IN MIND.
For some sessions, we will already have somewhat of a schedule in place. We may have the goal of capturing bath/bedtime or morning breakfast. For others, we may be capturing just a regular day at home. I suggest having a few ideas in mind of what you’d like to do together. Make sure they are “unplugged” and something your kiddos want to do too. That way, if they start getting antsy or we’ve tapped out our current activity there is a backup. These can range anywhere from tickle fights, coloring, painting, playing in the yard, jumping on the bed, dress up, you name it! Whatever makes you and your family happy.

3. DRESS NORMALLY.
Don’t worry about getting “dressed up” or coordinating too much. Wear what you would normally wear, and if your kids want to pick out their own clothes, let them! Whatever makes their personality shine through.  Just make sure you feel good in what you have on.  If you prefer doing light hair and makeup go for it! I instantly feel better about myself by just throwing a little eyeliner on, so I’m not going to suggest going all natural on hair/makeup. I just suggest not going over the top. An entire face of makeup and done up hair if this isn’t normal for you may end up feeling pretty inauthentic to you when you look back on the images.

5. YOU DO NOT NEED TO CLEAN (UNLESS YOU 100% WANT TO).
If we are doing the photos in your home, I do not ask that it is clean. I want this to be typical of your everyday, and if you typically have a pile of laundry hanging out in the corner that is okay! If there is something you know will totally drive you crazy in the photos (like dirty/sticky playroom windows or dirty dishes in the sink) I do suggest you take care of those things so you can better relax and not worry about them.

I do ask that you will have blinds/curtains open to let the natural light in. So, if your blackout curtains are always drawn in a room we may shoot in please open them up prior so I don’t have to disturb session flow to do so. I will however turn on lights, open windows if I feel it’s absolutely necessary so please don’t worry about that during the session.

6. SOAK IT IN.
I know, it can be really annoying to hear this time and time again as a parent. It’s totally hard to cherish EVERY moment with your child, especially if they have a “tiny dictator” side or despise you for suggesting they eat their cereal out of a bowl instead of a plate or that the blue cup is just as good as the dirty green one. I get it.
Please don’t worry about tantrums, tired or grumpy behavior. This is all part of a regular day. I encourage you to stay engaged with your child, but also know that if you or them do need a break I totally get it. My son gets overwhelmed at times when he grows tired and the best thing for him is to take him to a quiet place and just take a minute for the two of us. This is okay for you to do and I totally respect that boundary.
Please do not bribe your child to “behave” for this session type. This will just make them look forward when we are going to be done, and will backfire.

7. GET FAMILIAR.
A documentary session is very different from other photo sessions, and other photo sessions I offer. I urge you to ask questions and read over my Info Page and browse my portfolio. You will receive a film and images documenting your every day life, but likely not one or two photos to frame up on your wall like you would with a traditional photo session. I don’t “pose” any traditional smiling looking at the camera images for this type of session. If you’d like to add on a short time at the end of the session for a few “traditional” photos please let me know and I can provide you with fee information.

8. ENJOY!
The very best thing you can do for this type of session is to act natural and be yourselves! Do your day or your activity like you normally would and pretend like I’m not there. Trust me, if I need something I will let you know. Otherwise, my main goal is for you to feel comfortable and at ease so we can work together on making these beautiful memories for you.