What Documentary Photography Really Means { Family Photographer | Lithia, FL}

Real Life Kids and Family Photographer Tampa, FLWhat real life documentary photography isPreserving memories for years to come through candid unposed photography

This is how a real life photography session goes: 

YOU: proceed in your normal routine of life just like there is no one there with a camera

ME: photographs said normal routine life

That's it...


I mean it, that easy. 

I am there to document your real life (hence the name real life documentary photographer). I won't tell you to "go over there", I won't say "sit here", I won't say "look this way, smile or cheese". I won't tell you anything, I will just hang out with you like an old friend from college that you don't really remember but invited into your home anyway. We will talk about stuff (cause I talk a lot) and sometimes I will have a big black thing in front of my face as we talk. Sometimes I will be quiet hanging out in the corner with same big black thing covering my face, sometimes I will be found playing barbies or legos with your kids, and occasionally I will lay on the floor with the dog. 


Sure we can talk about all the things you love about your family, kids, the dog, and your life at this moment. I bet you could give me a pretty long list (well on a good day anyway). You could quickly think of funny stories, the things that make you melt, or the moment you wanted to pull your hair out. All those things are awesome! We can also talk about baseball, the neighborhood gossip, or nothing at all. 


Real Life is what this is all about! 

Do you want to preserve your real life memories for all time? Great! Are you like me and just value the quirky silly things your kids do? Then perfect! Want to know more about why I love to photograph the way I do? CLICK HERE I love to photography my kids and the stupid sh*t they do, that simple. 

Like how my daughter wears her bathing suit and fake glasses at the grocery store. 

girl in bathing suit in grocery cartGrocery shopping with kidsReal life family documentary photographer. Capturing unposed, candid life

or my son runs through every puddle he can find both big and small

reflection of boy in the waterplaying in the waterReal life family photographer

These are the images that are on my walls. This to me is real. This to me is beautiful. 


So here's the thing, I want to photograph real life, you want beautiful pictures of your family on your walls, so lets hang out together, we would make a perfect couple. (FYI, I talk a lot on first dates) 


What is a documentary photography session or real life photography?




Real life 

What do you think when you hear that?

Have you heard the expression Real is the new perfect? It celebrates your everyday life. Those stories you just thought about in the beginning?  

Those real life everyday things!

That important stuff in your soul that you want to remember. The childhood you hope your children will one day recall.

Documentary photography chronicles day to day life as well as significant and historical events. They are images that tell a story.

It preserves those everyday moments for all of time.

Documentary photography sessions are like creating a time capsule of what your life is like at this moment.

Real life family photographer Tampa, FL Our relationships are what make up our precious moments in life Preserving memories with our loved ones is very important to me.

How Real Life Photography Can Make You Feel

It celebrates the mundane or extraordinary. It records the recurrent or infrequent moments. 

A real life driven photograph is like a good song, it tells a story allowing you to visit the past.


I recently asked the question of my friends to name a few songs that bring back childhood memories and the list grew and grew. Wow, what a response! Every song took me back to a place in time.

  • “Look Out Weekend” by Debbie Deb was my skating rink jam in junior high. I can still smell the popcorn and remember every crack in the cement floor.
  • Anything by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Bonnie Raitt or Alabama was blared in my mom’s VW van.
  • Blasting “What I Got” by Sublime while cruising in my Jeep with the top off. Those were the days

Those songs immediately transport me back in time and remind me of the feelings of my youth, just like a picture does. All of those stories you thought of, in the beginning, a documentary photography session is like insurance to remember them all. Not just to remember them, but insurance to feel exactly like those stories made you feel.

Real life children and family photographer in the Tampa Bay areaWhat is real life photography? Using photography to preserve the seasons of my life.

All of the images in that collage above are my kid’s childhood.

Each one of those images illustrates the free spirit of their day and the free range life we live. It represents us, our real life. I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside when I see these images, knowing what a great life my kids have.


Now imagine having someone with you that can photograph your every day, with you actually in the frame too.

Not the loads of laundry in the corner (or is that just at my house?), but that rare moment that one kid is being nice to the other, or maybe not being so nice like in my house. Or those loooooong drawn out shopping trips with a kid (aren't they so much fun). 

How about being able to look back in 20 years at yourself making breakfast and remembering how all your kid would eat for 2 months was a spoonful of peanut butter. Maybe you want more pictures with your own parents to be able to show to your kids when they grow up (and remind them how they should take care of you).


Real life family photographer Tampa, FL Real life momentsMoments that totally envelope the seasons of life. Documenting memories through photography.


All the things you’ll want to remember – even if you have a hard time seeing what exactly that means right now (and that is what I am here to help you do).


When you think of your days, what moments stick out to you? Grab those stories and let's get started

Real life family photographer Tampa, FL Real life is the tears and the smilesSometimes the tears are just as important to capture as the smiles


So now that you have read all of that, are the wheels turning in your head on how real life photography works? It's unposed, totally candid goodness. Still not sure but want to see more?

I've got you covered!

Start here with 50 Fun Activities To Plan Your Next Session. The best part about this list is that any of these ideas will work great for both a short session or put them together for a "chose your own" all day adventure! Also know that you don't have to do anything for a session! You can just be you, laying on the couch eating cheetos, watching "This is US", crying your eyes out. Your life doesn't have to be exciting, it just has to be real!

Want to know more about what the investment will be and how the process works?  Click right here

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Let's set up that first date! 






This is perfect Kelly. Very well written. Love it all.
Danielle Schlak(non-registered)
Oh my goodness, I loved everything that you had to say and the photos that went with it!! It's so true how we need to contain our memories and tell the good bad and the ordinary story of our lives in our photographs! Such beautiful sentiments, thank you for sharing!
Yes, yes, yes to all of this! It's so important to have these moments documented! The good and the bad. Real, raw life! Great post!
Such a great way to capture the things you want to remember most!
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