A documentary session is when a photographer documents your activities without direction. These sessions can be for families, couples, businesses, or individuals. They’re at their best when they involve love of some sort, whether it’s love between people or love of a job or hobby.
Here’s what sets documentary sessions apart from posed portrait sessions:
- Documentary sessions capture who you really are at that moment in time, not just how you look and what you’re wearing. They can document your family’s day to day activities, so you’ll always remember those moments even once your kids are grown. Or capture those exciting feelings of being engaged, to look back on when you’re an old married couple. You can preserve memories of being pregnant with your first child, before your life changes in a major way.
- They allow you to relax and be yourselves. You don’t have to pose or feel awkward in front of the camera. You just have to try to ignore it, which is easier than you might think when you’re absorbed in an activity.
- You don’t have to get dressed up or try to make the kids behave. There’s no pressure to be perfect with these sessions. Just be you.
- You don’t need to find time in your busy schedule for a shoot. You just need to pick a time when your family will be together, and then go about your day while I photograph it. The same thing applies to documentary business sessions. You can have your photo taken and get work done at the same time.
- Photos can capture moments, expressions, glances, and quirks that you might never notice in real life. While a posed session can capture your best camera-ready smile, a documentary session captures your honest expressions, which only come out when you’re enjoying time with your favourite people or at your favourite activity.
- They capture the little details. Doing a session in your home or at your business allows your environment to become part of your story. Capture the baby’s room you spent months putting together, the first apartment you lived in as a couple, your cramped office before your business expands.
Here are some examples of family documentary sessions:
Other ideas for family documentary sessions:
- a full day in the life session from waking up to tucking the kids in at night
- bringing a new baby home from the hospital, or the baby’s first hours at the hospital
- playdates with friends
- adopting a pet
- dressing up and going out for Halloween
- taking a teenager shopping or teaching them to drive
- choose an activity that you do regularly or a milestone event
Examples of couple documentary sessions:
Other ideas for couple documentary sessions:
- planning the wedding (visiting vendors, making decorations)
- the proposal and reaction
- visiting a new city together
- cooking or baking together
- participating in a shared interest, like a sport or playing games
- a camping or ski trip
- celebrating your anniversary
Examples of business and individual documentary sessions:
Ideas for individual or business documentary sessions:
- a tour of the office with staff at work
- an artist working in their studio
- a sports team practicing
- a charity helping people