Jolyn Laney | Laney Photography
Your life naturally photographed

my why

my why

why I choose documentary over traditional portraits


time is not stopping, and soon your children will be out of your home, going to college, starting careers, and creating families of their own. soon, your toddler won't be needing your help to reach the sink. your baby will not be crawling anymore; your baby will be walking, then running, then sprinting into independence. soft baby curls will grow out and get trimmed. your little girl will one day take off the tiara and tutu for the last time and start putting on makeup and nail polish. your table won't be covered with textbooks and homework and crayons and leftover food forever. soon it will be clean and have that table runner and centerpiece placed there after every meal. soon your boy will be wrestling with his own children, so capture and celebrate your moments wrestling with him. 

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.


"turn your head a little to the left. a little more. oh! too far."
"close your fingers. chin forward. head on his shoulder."
"eyes to me. now look into the distance. smile. laugh."

this doesn't happen. this isn't real. i laugh when i want to laugh and my mouth will make a genuine smile when it wants to. there is no such thing as perfection, and honestly you are most perfect when you are imperfect.

when i show my children photos of me, i don't want to have them photoshopped. "mom, but my tummy isn't that flat." "my face has zits on it, but yours doesn't." "ok mom, photoshopped you is the standard of beauty so i'll only look for physical perfection in my future wife."

they don't see the double chin, the stray hairs, the wrinkles. they see that you loved eating pizza with them on friday nights, that you spent the time playing with them, rather than hours on your hair, that you laughed and laughed hard with them.

Best be yourself, imperial, plain and true.


these are the photos you and your children will cherish. these are the photos your children will want to get out and look at as you laugh and talk of memories. the good 'ole days. the remember whens. not “remember when mom made us wear those designer jeans and she got so mad and frustrated when we didn't listen and do our ‘nice smile’ and dad kept threatening us with no ice cream when we were done? that was the best!”

we play, we jump, we run, we move and i capture the joy in and around the home. not only is the session fun and positive, but the edited photos reflect that theme through beautiful professional photography.

in 20 years, i will want the pictures of my 5-year-old trying to put on his shoes by himself or jumping from couch to couch in his favorite shirt that he wore over and over again with paw patrol on the tv in the background. i will want the pictures of my baby making spit bubbles, holding his pudgy toes on my bed or my grandma's handmade quilt. this is how i will remember my kids and this is how i want them photographed.

Sometimes you will never know the value of something, until it becomes a memory.


one of the biggest reasons i hear for not booking a documentary shoot is because people feel like their life, home, wardrobe or whatever is just ordinary, nothing special. certainly nothing to take pictures of. but that is NOT true. beauty can be found in the most unlikely of places or in the most ordinary ways and i will find it. 

the pictures of the family singing “Wheels on the Bus” in the car for the 100th time. the pictures of my older child giving her little sister a push on the swing. the pictures of my boys playing Battleship or checkers. the pictures of me brushing my daughter’s curly locks of hair. the pictures of my toddlers bathing together. the pictures of our family laughing on the couch or quietly reading together. the pictures of waving bye to dad as he goes to work or the happy hugs when he gets home. the pictures of picking up my son from the bus stop and skipping home while he tells me all about his day.  the pictures of the 3rd grade science project or the 3-year-old self portrait. the pictures of my boys playing catch in our yard. my daughter putting her dolly to bed and giving her a kiss goodnight. eating popcorn while watching a movie together. the pictures of us baking together, singing together, playing together, laughing together.

These are some good times so take a good look around. You may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this.


With documentary photography, the real moments in everyday life are the ones captured. Nothing staged. Nothing posed. Just the real you, with your real family, in real life.