Your questions answered
What is documentary photography?
According to Wikepedia, Documentary photography usually refers to a popular form of photography used to chronicle both significant and historical events and everyday life. It is typically covered in professional photojournalism, or real life reportage. That about sums it up for me.
Why documentary storytelling?
All too often our days fly by in a blink, and it is far too easy to forget the little moments and details that make up our everyday life. Maybe we hurry through our days and don't even notice these things. Well, guess what? They are worth noticing, and appreciating, because put together those moments tell your beautiful unique story.
What can I expect?
Once you book your session, we will start brainstorming the when and where's. When the day comes I will come hang out with you and your family, making photos of your everyday life as it unfolds. I'll take somewhat of a fly-on-the-wall approach. Of course I'm going to interact with everyone, I’m there and can’t expect that you will completely ignore me, but I won’t provide any direction. I may climb under or on furniture to get a different perspective, but I try to avoid moving anything and will not stage any scenes. The focus will be purely on documenting moments as they naturally happen in the environment that they naturally happen in. So as not to disrupt the happenings and call undue attention to myself, I do not use any artificial light – nothing quite like being flashed in the face every few seconds to make you stop and smile for the camera :).
How do I prepare for my storytelling session?
There really isn’t much to it. I can tell you not to tidy up, because you may want to document your life in your home just as it is, but if you are anything like me you will do it anyway because you would die if a total stranger got a glimpse at all of the scattered toys and piles of mail on the dining room table. Seriously, there is no reason to spend all week scrubbing every surface for me. Part of my job is to use the environment, in whatever condition, to enhance your photographs. And if you have seen my own home you know that there is no reason to be embarrassed by clutter; it's everywhere, I embrace it and I photograph it because it's our life right now and there will be a time later, much later, when I will miss the chaos - or at least that's what I keep telling myself.
What to wear:
Whatever you are most comfortable in. Really, your gallery is meant to be a visual reminder of who you are at this moment in time. Pretend that your day won't be spent with a photographer following you around, and wear what you like, that's comfortable, and is something you would wear on any other day. No need to go out and buy a new adorable wardrobe for the whole family. Shop in your closet first before you hit the mall.
I do prefer that you do not wear matching outfits. If I arrive at your home to find the entire family in white shirts and khakis, I’ll probably ask you to change into something that is a bit more “everyday.” Unless of course you are a family that wears matching clothes frequently, in that case, we will roll with it.
Some of the latest trends, especially in kids clothing, include bright neon colors. I love that, it takes me back to my childhood, but those tones are no fun to photograph as they can leave horrible color casts on skin that is often difficult or even impossible to correct in post processing. So unless you want your kiddo to look a bit like a glow worm, consider leaving the neon green tee in the closet and opt for a neutral. I'm also not a big fan of reds, for all the same reasons. If you find yourself completely stressed out about it, text me a cellphone pic of the clothes you are considering, I’m always happy to provide a little wardrobe direction.
What will we DO?
It’s your session, your memories, you decide what you want documented. Some of my favorite memories in my on home with my family are in the morning - my oldest up on his stool helping me with breakfast, the baby taking the opportunity while no one is paying attention to defiantly remove her diaper and throw every toy in the toy box into the middle of the living room. Your session can be completely unscripted if that’s what you want. You may also choose to incorporate activities that are important to your family. This may mean having a particular board game at the ready, or a plan to visit the playground to swing and fly kites. There is nothing in the rule book that says you have to stay at home. If there is something you enjoy doing as a family outside the home that you have always wanted photographed, let’s do it! I’m always happy to come along for the ride.
Some ideas for storytelling sessions:
Saturday morning breakfast and getting ready for the day, lunch and a trip to the neighborhood park, baking or a craft project at home, evening bedtime routine, backyard water play on a warm summer afternoon, picnic and nature adventure, running weekend errands, or anything else you can think of that you to do together and want to remember.
In looking at your portfolio, I have noticed A LOT of black and white photos. Why is that? Can I expect the same in my own gallery?
I do process images in black and white pretty often, and when it comes to storytelling sessions, there are usually more black and white images than color. There are a few reasons for this. First, I LOOOOOVE black and whites, and often make photos with the intention of converting to black and white. Many natural light images just beg for it, as the conversion can really enhance the contrast between light and shadow adding depth to an image that color sometimes just can't. In general, If color doesn’t enhance your story or is a distraction from the meaning of the moment photographed, I will change the image to black and white; this serves to direct attention back to where it needs to be, the feeling.
Will I get ANY posed portraits?
Yes, a few. I will take the first ten minutes or so of your session to casually pose you on the couch or in the backyard. This gives everyone a chance to get acquainted with me and my camera while also creating a few of those more traditional portraits.
Can I have the RAW images from my session?
Short answer, no. I never deliver any image straight out of camera. You are paying me to turn your beautiful everyday moments into art and a significant part of that process is in the post production. Your entire session is painstakingly culled and edited by hand by yours truly so that you have the highest quality images I am able to provide. Why would you want anything less than that.
How many images come in my gallery?
It really all depends on how much action and engagement is going on during your session. I tentatively say 50 images/per hour, but this is purely estimation as every session, every family, is different. Because of the dynamic nature of these type of sessions I cannot guarantee any specific number of images to be presented for proofing, but you will absolutely have enough to create a beautiful album to look back on.
How long will it take before I see my images?
I will often post session sneak peeks on Facebook in the few days following your session. You will have access to your session in it’s entirety after about two weeks but it could take up to five depending on the season. The months of October through December are often the busiest and may require a little extra wait time for delivery.
Are you available for travel?
Yup. Since I am a stay at home mom responsible for shuttling kids to-and-from all sorts of things, I am only available for travel on weekends. Additional travel fees depend on the distance and travel time outside of the Oklahoma City metro.