Pittsburgh Family Photographer | What is Family Documentary Photography? / by Andrea Moffatt

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you've probably heard me toss around the term, Family Documentary Photography. But what exactly is it? And why would anyone want to hire a Family Documentary Photographer?

If you are loving life (most days anyways), have much for which you're thankful, and ever find yourself thinking, "I will miss this someday...", then very likely you should have your story told before it passes you by. 

Family Documentary Photography can be seen as an alternative to or a supplement to more traditional family portraiture. In traditional portraiture, the photographer uses his or her expert knowledge of light, composition, and posing to make beautiful looking-at-the-camera family photos. I have more than one posed, camera aware photo of our family hanging in my living room. I believe everyone - every mom especially - needs a yearly picture such as this. 

But the genre Family Documentary Photography does not have the same end goal as portraiture...

Documentary photography exists to capture your story, in much the same way that documentary films exist to capture an individual or group's story. Our stories are important and worthy of telling and preserving. The stories we tell our children about themselves and about their place in the family will become an integral part of who they grow up to be.

To you, your life may feel not "interesting enough" or not "pretty enough" to be the subject of documentary imagery. But here's the thing: almost universally, when the kids are grown and gone, parents look back at their life with young kids and remember that, while trying and tiring, it was mostly an exhilarating and beautiful time, laden with meaning and distinct purpose. 

If that's true- if our days spent raising our children are some of the best of our lives- what do we want to take with us when it's over? (I mean, besides the main ones: love, lasting relationships, and the knowledge that we're sending compassionate, thoughtful citizens out into the world.)

Beyond that, if you could save some tangible memories, what would they be? For me, it's pictures of my kids catching fireflies, warming their feet by the fire, reading with their dad before bed, pouting on the bottom step. It's the sound of their little voices and video snippets of their silly facial expressions. 

This is your life. This is your story. It is worth remembering and preserving. THIS is why I shoot Family Documentary Photography.