What Does Documentary Photography Look Like?



Documentary photography is the art of capturing real life, as it unfolds. There are no posed moments, only the raw truth. And you know what? It’s absolutely beautiful!


A documentary photo session takes place in a location that is special to you or your family. Often times that’s in your own home. Sometimes it’s a place that you enjoy going to, like the library, ice cream shop, your local park, the river. Basically, any spot that makes your heart sing. The goal of this type of session is to capture memories in an artistic way – to translate these moments into something physical that you can look at, hold, laugh at, cry with.



One of my favorite things about documentary photography is its ability to show a piece of childhood, something that your kids are sooooo into right now. The image below shows my youngest with his dinosaurs. He is OBSESSED. Like, straight out insane about dinosaurs. Everything about them. He plays with his dinos every day, talks about them all of the time, wears clothes with dinosaurs on them, and we plan special events for him that allow him to see dinosaurs. I love that documentary photography allows me to have photos that will recall this short time for me in the future. When I’m 70, and he’s in his 40’s, I can pull these photos out and say “oh, yes, that dinosaur phase. You were always our Sullysaurus!”




Another thing that I love about documentary photography is that it lends itself so easily to capturing connection. Not just posed moments, but real, honest connection. A small touch between two people, siblings bonding over a shared interest, a quick look between parents. These small pieces are captured beautifully in this genre.



But….what if our story isn’t interesting? It IS! I promise! The details that make up your life are the details that you will long for and remember years from now. Everyday life is more beautiful than you know, and your story is begging to be captured. I’d be honored to put your family’s story into photo form for you.




Contact me today so we can begin to plan your documentary photography session in Northern California!


Why Choose a Fresh 48 session?


Fresh 48 newborn sessions are still a relatively new thing in the photography world, let alone up here in the Chico, CA area! Many people may wonder….what is a Fresh 48 session? Why would I choose this over a posed newborn session, the kind of session that I am used to seeing?

Quite simply, a Fresh 48 newborn session is a photo session that takes place within the first 48 hours of your baby’s life, and at the place of their birth. Quite often, that would be in the hospital, although there are definitely a lot of precious home birth babies in our area of Northern California as well! These sessions are significantly less posed. In fact, I will rarely pose you, and try instead to capture the authentic interactions between you, your baby, and your family (although I may set up a shot or two as well!)

So, why would you want a session like this? Especially when you’ve seen all of the beautiful posed work all over Pinterest? Let me tell you! First, Fresh 48 sessions are just SO much easier on mama. You literally don’t have to go anywhere at all. Often I’m able to capture gorgeous, emotion filled images of mamas and their brand new babes while mama is still in bed!

Second, it’s easier on baby! Posed newborn sessions are a LOT of work for everyone involved. Not just the photographer and the parents, but for baby as well. Newborns aren’t huge fans of being cold, or of feeling “alone” (hence that multi-million dollar swaddling industry!), so the job of getting a handful of gorgeous posed images can often take several hours. There are many, many diaper changes, feeding breaks, and sometimes just good old fashioned cuddling sessions involved, as well as a very warm room that is perfect for baby, but can often be uncomfortable for a freshly postpartum mom. Fresh 48 sessions are easy on baby! Getting their diaper changed, taking feeding and cuddling breaks are all part of the session and documented, so there’s no need to stop for those. Baby is also typically swaddled or partially dressed, not naked, so the risk of baby getting too cold is very minimal.


Third, Fresh 48 sessions are beautiful ways to document the first few hours that you and your family are meeting and getting to know your newest addition! New big siblings are always so proud and infatuated with the baby for the first few days, and are more than willing to show off their new baby! Grandparents are so proud, and as the parents, you are so full of awe and amazement at this little person. All of those emotions come through in Fresh 48 sessions.

Finally, some of the details of your baby will only be this way for a few short days. I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again: to enjoy it, because it goes so fast! Well, that is incredibly true. A baby at 1 or 2 days old is already vastly different than a baby at 2 weeks old. When your little one is “fresh from the oven”, they often have gorgeous details such as long fingernails, wrinkly/pruny fingers and toes, crazy hair, and occasionally even big old bumps on their sweet little noggins from how they came out. It is amazing how quickly these details change, and how badly you will want to remember them once they’re gone. A Fresh 48 session is the perfect way to capture this part of your family’s story, and such a fun way to share the story of your child’s birth with them each year on their birthday. Not only will they get the story, they will have the photos as well!

The time immediately following the birth of your child is such a magical, wondrous time. It can speed by in a blur, as there are so many changes (and so little sleep!). It is  my pleasure to help you preserve these moments in time.