Jolyn Laney | Laney Photography
Your life naturally photographed

The Documentary Style.

Most families have experienced portrait and studio photography, but many haven't had the documentary family experience. New types of sessions come with a lot of questions, so here are the answers.


The documentary style

There is something refreshingly different about documentary family photography. Once you experience it, it is difficult to go back. 


On the day of the shoot, there is no need to prep your house, kids or even schedule out the block of time. Please leave the house as is! The point of this session is to freeze your life in this time and season. In 10-20 years, you'll be glad the toys are out in the kids' room so you can remember the mess you cleaned three times a day. You'll remember that the dishes didn't get touched until the kids were in bed and other nuances of your daily life. Likewise, I ask you not to dress in any special way for me. You can even have the kids dress themselves so it's for sure not planned. You can learn a lot about a child by the clothes they choose to wear. Stay in your leggings and t-shirt. I actually love getting there right as the kids wake up so I get pajama time and morning routines.


Like I mentioned earlier, you don't need to plan and schedule out this block of time either! If your oldest has a t-ball game during the time frame, I'll come along and cheer him on! If you usually do chores or go visit the grandparents, let's do that! I like to ride in the family car on excursions if there's room. Lots of fun stuff happens in the car.

When I walk in the door, I'll start integrating myself into the family, whether that's chatting with you, the kids or getting right into shooting. I get along with kids really easily. It's one of my favorite parts of my job! I love to see their personalities, interests, quirks and smile. I try to see them with your mom and dad goggles on so I can capture what you love most about them too!

I won't suggest activities, move toys out of the way or position anyone. I act like a photojournalist when photographing. I objectively capture what is going on. No judgement here (I'm a parent too). Please feel free to parent using the full spectrum: yelling, disciplining, comforting, and teaching. 

Many people feel that they are too boring for a shoot like this. No family is boring, believe me. You'd be surprised at the little moments that pass by so quickly you hardly notice. My brain is on constantly as I predict moments, watch for patterns and find the best place to be to capture it all.

*I do ask that screen time be kept to a minimum, especially for the shortest sessions. Though it can be fun to shoot for a bit.

Sometimes I will be alone with the kids and they may get into trouble. I won't stop them and interfere unless their life or the family pet's life is threatened. If they are running out into the street, I'll grab them. If they pour a whole carton of orange juice on the dog, I'll just keep shooting. Naughtiness is one of my favorite things to capture. It's so typical of childhood. 

Speaking of dogs, pets are totally included in this shoot! They are part of the family. I love seeing the relationship kids have with their animals.


While I'm there, I'm focusing on relationships and emotions and photographing those. I'm focusing on details that won't be around forever. I'm focusing on beautiful light to make the ordinary seem extraordinary. Clients hire me because they want to see how I see their family. They want my unique perspective and creative eye.


Once our time together ends, I'll head home and get the photos on my computer to start editing and toning them. I stay true to life and don't edit out stray hairs, distracting toys, or slim anyone. I edit them like real life, just a little better. The photos in the session examples are how yours will look. I will include some black and white photos and some color.

I'll post a sneak peek on my Instagram feed and my Facebook business page within a day or two. My turnaround time is super fast and you'll get the photos back in 2-3 weeks. I sort through the files and choose the best ones that highlight the time I spent with you.

It is so important to me that my artwork doesn't get left as pixels, but become prints and products to hold and touch. I want to see the photos of your kids blown up on your walls, matted and in beautiful frames. I want to see them in my signature albums on your coffee table.

You choose what you buy afterward at our reveal and ordering session. These stories are immediate modern heirlooms and should be displayed as such.

Later in the year, invite me along while you go get ice cream or while taking the kids to the grocery store. Let me capture how hilariously chaotic that can all be. This is why I offer Slice of Life sessions, for these quick fun family outings or to dip your toes into documentary and try it out before diving in. I understand this is a new and unique genre for most people, but honestly it's back to the classic way our childhoods were documented.

Browse the website for more information. Check out the session examples, look through the sessions I offer and their cost, learn more about me or read some blog posts. Choose your own adventure. :)

If you're ready to reach out to book or have more questions, contact me below!

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