A family documentary session is different. It's more intimate and honest than a photo shoot in a field of wildflowers. And I understand that letting a stranger into your life is intimidating. So here are some answers to questions you might be asking yourself:
Q: "Is it going to be awkward?"
A: Maybe a little at first, but I promise it will be fine. I'm introverted but I love people (families especially), so it usually just takes a few minutes for us to warm up to each other and then you will likely not even notice I'm there. And I pinky promise it won't be as uncomfortable as me standing there saying 'okay, now Dad, tilt your head just a little more toward Mom, and girls: say PEPPERONI PIZZA!!' Because *that* is awkward.
Q: "What if my kids are terrible?"
A: Listen. I have four children. Someone in my house is always screaming. I have one kid who pulls hair like she's practicing for WWE and another one who went through a phase where she bit her older sister if she didn't get her way. I'm not there to judge your parenting or how you discipline or the behavior of your kids. The good news is that when kids are in an environment they're used to, they are much more relaxed and confident. In my experience, the lack of pressure to smile for the camera or pose a certain way allows kids to be themselves, which is mostly happy and hilarious and fun. (Emphasis on 'mostly'.) But chances are that while I'm there, one or more of your children will get an attitude or throw a tantrum or pick a fight with a sibling. And be prepared that I will likely photograph those meltdowns and acts of defiance, because it's part of their story. Remember: real is better than perfect.
Q: "What if she sees how many baskets of laundry need to be folded?"
A: It will make me feel better about my own piles.
Q: "Will she judge me if she sees that my 3-year-old only eats Goldfish and fruit snacks for lunch?"
A: Nope. Not even a little.
Q: "When's the last time I vacuumed the playroom?"
A: When was the last time *I* vacuumed the playroom?
Q: "What are we going to do for 3 or 4 hours while she's there?"
A: The short answer is that I want you to do whatever you would do if I wasn't there. I know it seems boring and not photogenic to you, but I want you to be able to remember these days exactly as they are. But if you're still not convinced and you need some inspiration, then plan one or two of the following activities and I'll come document them. My only request is that you only choose something you would do anyway. Please don't try to impress anyone with how your life looks by doing something just for the sake of photographs. These photos are for you...for your kids to look back on in 5, 10, 20 years and remember what life was like...for you to pass on to your grandchildren as a record of how you lived and laughed and loved.
Have a lemonade stand
Play in the sprinkler
Set up the slip & slide
Go to the playground
Swim in the pool
Wash the car
Go out on the lake
Work in the garden
Go for a hike
Eat ice cream
Work on homework
Bathe the kids
Do the bedtime routine
Out & About
Home improvement store
Sports/Ballet/Tae Kwon Do
Aquarium of the Smokies
Hands On Museum
Dyeing/hunting for Easter eggs
Fourth of July cookout
Picking out a Christmas tree
Decorating for Christmas