I started my photography business similar to how many others have. Photographing my kids, and having someone else point out "hey those are great, you should charge people for that". I then started down the path that - again - most others do...traditional portraits of children & families. I had to purchase studio lighting, and learn how to use it. Figure out how to pose people, then figure out how to edit. It was a long and very painful learning experience, and I suffered many mistakes.
The problem was, the photos that I had taken of my kids weren't ANYTHING like these photos I was taking. They were real moments. The two images above took about an hour to create. I shot HUNDREDS of frames of my daughter playing in the water at Millenium Park in Chicago. They aren't the best shots, I was using a point and shoot and had to anticipate a fraction of a second before the moment I actually wanted and hit the button - hoping to get the splash. They're a little blurry. But - this was such a fantastic memory. I've never taken the train to Chicago alone with my daughter before or since this trip. She's only ever felt the water at this park on her toes this one time. And I feel like these photos tell such a great story of that trip.
As the trend to have family photos outdoors in a park became more and more prevalent, I found myself struggling with spending 2 hours with a family getting a zillion different versions of the same thing. Everyone looking & smiling, but with a different background. I loved when the kids acted silly and ran around, made funny faces, or the parents began interacting with their kids. I gravitated back toward the natural moments. Eventually I figured out this is what others would call Lifestyle Photography. But it still wasn't REALLY what I wanted. The park setting just wasn't natural enough.
Finally, I stumbled upon a documentary photographer who only photographs families in their homes - and strictly follows documentary guidelines. No direction whatsoever.
I can't quite get there yet - but blending lifestyle with in home documentary, is absolutely my jam. And, if I can create images like the two above, year after year for the same family (Look how much that baby changed!!) to document the real life moments? Yes please.
When she's too big to even pick up, this photo will melt hearts! To capture how she pulls each of her triangles apart before only taking one bite out of it.
Because she is your favorite person in the world, and you want to remember those frail fingers for the rest of your life.
When the baby whose diaper you used to change, is now a waist-high version of yourself, and competes for your attention while you change the diaper of the newest addition to your life.
Because all your family is together from across the country - and having fun amidst the chaos is just a regular part of your life, and what makes your heart full.
Have your life documented.
This is so important! Messy homes, naughty kids and extra weight aside, photos of you and your family or loved ones is an essential part of maintaining the memory of this time in your life. It's so fun to look back through photo albums (actual, physical books of photos) and talk about how great things were 'back then'. And, unfortunately, sometimes we loose people or pets we love and cherish. Photos are a gateway to emotions that you may have otherwise lost.