The One-Room Session: Denver Family Documentary Photography

Do you know that feeling you get right before you take family pictures every year? The stress and expense of putting together outfits that coordinate but don’t match? The anxiety of how everyone, including the adults is going to behave with a camera in their face? The chaos of getting everyone ready at the same time, out the door looking perfect, while stuffing your diaper bag or purse with candy to bribe the babies when they inevitably break down because your photographer wanted to work in the golden hour, but its the middle of summer and that means the ‘golden hour’ is past you baby’s bedtime, in which case you’ll bribe them with candy to stay happy, which will only wire them and keep them up later than late when you get home? Whew! 

I know this reads like a commercial, but seriously, I write it because I think most families can identify with this scenario. 

I, thankfully, can not. 

I’ve long been bothered by the type of session I’ve been offering to my wonderful clients, while our family has always prioritized photos in a completely different way. We’ve never experienced the chaos of a photo session like the one described above. Somewhat intentionally, and somehow by accident,  since our babies came we’ve ALWAYS taken photos in our home. I think it was partially because it’s where my husband and kiddos are the most comfortable and taking pictures is just not their favorite thing. It’s also just the place where we are the best versions of ourselves. By nature we are all kind of home-bodies so it just fit. What I didn’t know until we started handing these images on our walls though is how encouraging they would be to me in my every day life. I look up on my wall and have a reminder that snuggling in bed with my babies is the best feeling, and maybe I should take a minute to do that, versus, looking up at a lovely image that is so beautiful, but maybe only reminds me of the stress it took to get it or that I’m not that skinny any more or that I didn’t even get out of my sweats today, let alone every wear that outfit, complete with accessories, ever again. 

The one thing I do feel like I should say before I continue, is this. These words are not meant as a criticism of the many, many wonderful photographers, no matter their style or genre, that offer some kind of portrait session. In its own way, I will continue to offer this package as well. I am very proud of the body of work I’ve created over the years from hundreds of designed portrait sessions and deeply grateful for the families who have pushed through the chaos to have me capture their family. I hope that all the work was worth it and that the final product is still something they cherish. But, I still think that maybe there is a better way. 

To this end, I’m now offering the One-Room Sessions. A documentary photography session of your family, in your space. I think the value of documentary style session are popping up everywhere and I’m so glad that more and more families and photographers are recognizing the beauty in really capturing the honest and raw inner workings of a family. Photographers are spending 12, 24 and even 72 hours families, simply capturing their regular life. And while that sounds like a dream job to me, for the same reasons I left wedding photography, I don’t have the capacity with a growing family of my own to spend that much time away from my family. The One-Room Sessions offer a compromise for me and for my clients. Let’s simplify together. 

The One-Room sessions will focus on just what it sounds like: your family, in your home, in one room for a 1-3 hour portrait session. There will not be a hard-and-fast room rule, and I’m not going to charge you more if we use, say, two rooms. But I want to get to the heart of where your family spends time together. Where are you all the most happy? Where do you gather to rest or catch up or spend quality time? If you haven’t done those things in a while, where do you wish this would happen? For some it is in the kitchen while cooking and eating a meal together. For others it is snuggling in a large family bed. Still other might say it’s in their backyard, in their garden, or out in the CO wilderness. I’ve been asking these questions of my clients for a few years now, but I think the logic of taking their honest answers and turning them into a designed session was somehow flawed, and maybe I was missing the point. Therefore, the One-Room Session is a forced simplification for myself and for my clients to really think about the relationship and emotion we want to be captured in their images.

I know that I’ve captured rich and deep emotions for couples and families in all types of sessions, but I’m really excited to do so on a deeper level by helping families strip down on all the peripherals and just focus on their connections as a family. What is it that creates a Haven in your home? Is it a tradition? An event? A room? A song?

If this appeals to you I really encourage you to check out my completely updated portfolio above to see many of the beautiful families who have embraced this idea of the One-Room Session. 

Then enjoy a few photos I took over the weekend. Friday nights are such a joyful time for our family: when Daddy comes home and the weekend begins! Generally this means wrestling and even Hazel is joining in the fun these days.