Why I chose documentary photography

Central Coast Family Photographer

Here's my guest post I wrote for www.mumsofthecentralcoast.com.au It's a cool site for local mums that features great local activities and businesses. Be sure to head over and check out the site.

I’ve never been keen on studio portraits.

Maybe one day, when I’m feeling brave I might even share a really bad nineties glamour shoot we did as a family. Think, southern belle curls, caked on make up and matching Supre tops (oh yes we did!!). But that’s a story for another day…

It’s only since having kids that my focus on capturing exactly who they are in an image has become an obsession.

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I’ve always avoided the shopping centre pop-up photography shops with their generic props and black backgrounds.

Not that their photos aren’t cute. I can’t deny it. A chubby bubby wrapped up in a cosy blankie is adorable. But there just didn’t seem to be any connection between their one-size-fits-all approach and who we were as individuals.

That’s not say I haven’t been tempted. Once I won a free portrait session in a school raffle. I was heavily pregnant with our little guy and thought “Cool! I can go see what this is all about. And I won’t have to pay!”

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It was a shocker from the word go. I was sleep deprived, our little guy wasn’t feeding well and was fussy, and organising all of us out of the house at a silly time of day led to arguments.

We were in a bit of a state before it even started.

Finally we got to the studio and in a cold, cramped room there were several light boxes set up pointing to a white backdrop.

We were instructed to sit on the ground and hug each other. Laugh at each other. Move our baby this way. Move our toddler that way. It was so forced and awkward. There was no connection between us and the photographer. I can’t be sure she even used our names.

After a few minutes of this we were told to change into a different set of clothes, in that same room with the bright lights and cold floor. There was no change room. So we did it all over again.

And then when it came time for the newborn shots. Ugh. He wasn’t a ‘sleeper’ so no amount of wrapping or swaddling would get him into a posed position. He was super strong and the images of this tiny baby with a big head lifted up, looking around the room were just weird.

Then there was the wee on the pretty blanket. Followed by a poo-nami.

It was literally like a comedy of errors. It was so removed from who we were. It showed no context, no essence of us as a family.

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When we went back for the viewing session there was no doubt the images were technically sound, the lighting was good and the focus spot on. But the poses were so generic and the smiles so forced that I just couldn’t connect with the images, no matter how corny the music was that played in the background.

So I left there empty handed. Not even ordering my freebie. Because those images just weren’t ‘us’.

And so began my journey of capturing ‘us’. Mornings cuddled up in bed. Chasing the chickens in the backyard. Wandering around nanoo’s magic forest (others might know it as the lake). Playing in the rockpool.

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These little pieces add up to tell the story of who we are.

The kids love to pore over their photo books and relive their memories. They giggle over their funny expressions or strange outfits they had dressed themselves in. Most importantly they feel connected to each photograph.

Because each one is a genuine reflection of us in that moment.

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So this is us.

These photos, this is who we are as a family.

These images are true and accurate reflections of who we are and what we do.

Think it might be your turn to have quality photos that reflect who you really are as a family? Flick me an email and we can make it happen.

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