New this year: Family Traditions documentary photography sessions

by DaniGirl on October 4, 2017 · 2 comments

in Mothership Photography

There are so many great family traditions that we enjoy in the autumn and early winter: apple picking and pumpkin carving, forest hikes to enjoy the changing leaves and then raking up the leaves at home. And then as we inch forward to the holiday season, there’s cookie baking and present wrapping and tree decorating. Chances are you’ve got your phone out taking pictures of the kids during a lot of these activities, right? (I know because I’ve seen them on Facebook!)

Wouldn’t it be great, though, to have a professional photographer come in and take those photos for you? A documentary photo session, also known as a “day in the life” session, is the opposite of everybody standing in a row looking at the camera and saying “cheese.” A documentary session is like having a friend with a camera in the room, taking care of documenting everything so you can have fun enjoying the activities. The photos you get will tell the perfectly imperfect story of your family at this moment in time. And when you hire me to take the photos, EVERYONE gets to be in the photos. There’s nobody hiding behind the lens except me – get the entire family in the photos. In fact, these sessions are great with extended families – bring the grandparents and get them in the photos, too!

Documentary photography sessions with Ottawa photographer Danielle Donders

The idea behind the family tradition sessions is perfectly summed up by one of my favourite literary characters, Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables:

“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”

I’ve been documenting my family at play for years, and it’s the sort of photography that makes my heart sing. Since this is a relatively new offering for me, for the rest of 2017 I’m offering an introductory special: the Family Traditions package.

Documentary family photography sessions by Ottawa photographer Danielle Donders

With the Family Traditions package, you invite me to a location of your choosing for up to two hours. You’ll have a family activity planned, or maybe two, and I’ll be your personal “mamarazzi”, taking photos of your family at play. Within a couple of weeks, you’ll receive a set of fully culled and customed edited set of at least 25 – 40 high resolution photographs that document your day. If you like, we’ll even squeeze in just one or two “everybody say cheese and look at the camera” photos, because we know grandma loves those ones.

Intrigued? Here are some ideas I thought would make for a fun photo session:

· Apple picking
· Family picnic
· Visiting the pumpkin farm and/or carving the pumpkins
· Raking the leaves
· Doing holiday baking (maybe with the grandparents?)
· Decorating cookies
· Making ornaments or decorations or cards
· Visiting the Christmas tree farm
· Decorating the tree
· Wrapping gifts
· Writing letters to Santa (with hot chocolate, of course)
· Making latkas and lighting the menorah
· Building a snowman or skating on an outdoor rink

Or maybe you’d love to have a photographer come and capture Sunday breakfast at your place?

candid photo of boy and dog

There are so many possibilities! How about bath time, or Saturday morning at the library, or sledding at the park? Everyone has favourite activities and traditions – and now you can preserve those memories in a customizable photo session tailored specifically to your family’s personality.

Documentary day in the life photography by Ottawa photographer Danielle Donders

You might be wondering what the difference is between a documentary family photo session and a traditional photo session. The documentary style is a completely different approach. Rather than posing for the camera, you ignore the camera and let me capture the activities and interactions. Four key differences between documentary and posed photo sessions are:

  1. It’s less stressful. You’ll have an activity (or two) to keep busy so you won’t feel so self-conscious and awkward in front of the camera.
  2. It’s more natural – you don’t have the photographer dictating “sit here, touch this, move your arm here,” etc.
  3. It’s more authentic – you get to see everyone’s personality, instead of trying to force everyone to “behave” and pose nicely for the camera.
  4. It tells a story. In fact, it tells YOUR story, and far better than any “smile and pose for the camera” session could.
  5. Documentary family photography sessions by Ottawa photographer Danielle Donders

    You can see that my kids don’t exactly dress up for our annual decorating the tree photos, but I love that this shows them how they really are, how they look on an average Saturday, in all their casual, jammie-bottomed comfortable glory.

    Documentary family photography sessions by Ottawa photographer Danielle Donders

    Sessions booked for the rest of 2017 will benefit from an introductory price of just $325. That’s a considerable savings over my usual portrait package prices with more digital files included.

    There will be a limited number of these sessions available between now and the end of December, so if you’d like to know more or book your session, please get in touch soon!


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