Documentary photography was once reserved for photojournalists covering significant historic events. Recently the genre has made its way to family photographers who aim to capture the realness of every day life. Lifestyle photography is sort of a hybrid between documentary and posed portrait photography. Lifestyle photographers aim to capture genuine human emotion in a beautiful way. Families may be styled, and put in a beautiful spot with beautiful light, but the emotion/connection prompted is genuine.
I am a family lifestyle photographer as a career but I have posted several times about my personal project with my own family. For the last two years, I have been taking one photo of my family’s life every single day. Because small children under 5 don’t usually enjoy posing (mine especially!), 95% of my project images are documentary style.
When this client reached out to book her family photography session, she told me that she connected most to the documentary style images she saw of my boys. She was seeking a more documentary photography feel for her own active family.
My traditional lifestyle family photography sessions are relaxed and playful, but in a posed and scripted manner. I have certain poses and prompts that I use to achieve a certain look. Within these poses and prompts, each family brings their individuality, of course! This documentary session was different. I incorporated some lifestyle posing but the majority of the time was documentary based. The family ran around and did what they would normally do on an evening at the park. They blew bubbles, threw balls, danced, and did yoga. My job was to capture images of their family normalcy in a creative way, compositionally.
True documentary photographers would not consider this a documentary session because I did prompt a little bit. I sometimes told them where to sit or stand or suggested some games. I sometimes made funny noises to capture the kids’ attention or interacted with them. “Real” documentary sessions are 100% unscripted. Nothing is prompted and the photographer is not interacting with the subjects in any way.
Post-session, I loved going through and editing these images. They are so real and full of life. I’ll admit that I was a little bit nervous to deliver this gallery, though! Why? Because it was not my standard lifestyle photography gallery. It was a little more raw and not as “picture perfect”. When I delivered the gallery, the Mama wrote to me and said:
She couldn’t have made me happier with that one sentence. This is the reason why I like to chat with my clients through email and questionnaires before their session. Had we not talked about what she liked in my Instagram feed, I would not have known that this was the style she wanted! Family photography is a collaboration and I want to tell each family’s unique story.
XO – Lyndsay
"To say that I love each one would be cliche and a total understatement, but seriously... She nailed it. Being a photographer myself, I am very picky and searched dozens of photographers before coming back to lyndsay and booking her and I am so glad I did. I can't even remember the last time I hired a photographer and was this in love with the images and unable to pick just a few favorites. Thank you, lyndsay, for making the photo session easy (with 3 kids), fun and providing this mama memories for a lifetime.”
"Our images are so special and really captured our joy and the sweet personality of our little girl. Lyndsay did a great job going beyond the typical posed shots and making our photos feel authentic. We will treasure them forever."
- amanda, northborough
"We have done multiple sessions (family and newborn) and we’re so happy with the results. Lyndsay makes you feel comfortable and is able to truly capture the moment. We will have her prints hung in our house for years to come."
- beth - framingham
"We've done it all - newborn, maternity, cake smash, family photos - and every single time we are amazed by the quality of the end product. Lyndsay captures beautiful moments that we will treasure forever!"
- nicole - framingham
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As always, gorgeous images Linday! And I love the location too!
What a BEAUTIFUL session and I loved the one of Dad balancing the kids!
This is a fantastic session! Love how you incorporated documenteay elements to really tell their story.
Great topic and photography!!
Love these images, and your words! So cool that you modified your usual style to meet the family’s vision!
What s beautiful and fun family! Love the topic, so important for photographers to truly understand what families are looking for. Love these images!!