Guest blog written by Rhianna Sgardner-Meems of Slice of Love Photography
I did a lot of soul searching before I decided what kind of sessions to offer my clients. What made me want to be a photographer? Easy, I love taking photos. Always have, since I was in elementary school and got my first camera. In graduate school this evolved to being the photographer for our school newspaper.
But really, WHY? Because I wanted families to have the kind of memories only photos can pass along to future generations. I have always loved looking at our family photo albums, the ones of myself when I was too young to remember, the ones of my parents getting married, the ones of them my mom took with a tripod when they were dating (with the same camera I took photography in college), ones of grandparents that passed before I was born, formal portraits of my parents and their siblings when they were kids. I poured over them and still do.
My youngest daughter does the same, looks at the photos on our walls from the past 3 years and says “that’s me” “I was so tiny” “that’s my sisters” “that’s mommy and daddy and me when I was born” and she doesn’t tire of it. She lights up when she looks at them, it gives her confidence knowing she has always been loved. This is my WHY. Because it helps our kids know their histories, and builds them up in a time when their confidence can so easily be shaken.
I offer family documentary sessions because that is who YOU are. This is your family. And what your everyday is like. Will you get photos like you see on my website? Yes. You will get the quiet moment photos, if your kids are feeling mellow. You will get the crazy child photos if your children are climbing the furniture. You will look at these photos and they will be YOU. Your children’s hands reaching for yours, the special kind of snuggles that only you give each other, the glare of stop that right now that only a mom can give. And photos I can’t even tell you about right now, because we haven’t met yet. But they will capture the essence of your family. And when you are gone, and your children are grown, with families of their own, they will share your album with them. And those kids and their kids will know what life was like in your home, on a regular day.
Could I offer posed family photos in the park in your pressed dress and your husband in a button down shirt and uncomfortable shoes he hates to wear? I could. And if you really want I will. But when you look at those photos in a year or two, is that what you want to remember? Stressing to get the kids dressed in something they surely don’t want to wear that specific day, rushing to get ready and meet me on time, your husband complaining about having his photo taken? Or would you rather wake up, have me show up, and spend the day (or a few hours) like you normally would? Relaxed and being yourselves? And get a handcrafted album at the end of it filled with your real memories?
So what is true documentary family photography? Usually when people hear the word documentary or photojournalism they think of newspaper reporting. It is not not posed, it’s real time. So how does this translate to what I do with your family? I do not direct you in anyway. I do not alter anything in the room, or in the editing process. I walk into your house, or wherever you want to start our journey, and I photograph you. Doing whatever it is you do. I move around you to get the best shot, I don’t Photoshop out anything. You will look at these photos and say this is who we were at that precise moment in time.
But our house is too small or too dark, you say. Maybe, but it’s your house, it is where your family gets cozy and loves on each other. But if you live in a cave and really don’t want it captured we can always do a shoot of you enjoying your favorite activities. Do the kids go to dance class or play a sport? We can start there. We can meet in the park and capture you on the playground. The only limit to what memories we can document is your imagination. I am always willing to travel to where you are beyond the Bay Area, and offer packages that are inclusive of my plane ticket, are you ready to have your real life memories captured? Contact me.
This blog was originally published by Slice of Love Photography, and was shared with permission. The original post can be found here: http://sliceoflovephotography.com/blog/2017/2/6/documentary-family-photography-bay-area-family-photographer