Let's talk MONEY | the investment in documentary family photography



They grow up fast, and when they do, they'll come searching for THESE photos of their childhood.


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Let’s just go ahead and discuss the elephant in the room: MONEY. Money is a factor, right? We get tempted, then feel guilty about spending on something that isn’t a necessity. Some things vary so much in price that it’s hard to even figure out whether the particular one you want is “worth it.” And when it comes time for family photos, we may wind up hiring that mom down the street who’s recently picked up photography and offers what seems like a really good deal.

But is it?

austin documentary family photographer

Friend, I can’t even count how many stories I’ve heard about families hiring a photographer who was “a good deal” only to end in a nightmare. Sessions that feel awkward and stressful, photos that look stiff and unflattering, prints that are poorly colored and fade with time, a service experience that leaves you frustrated.

What’s possibly worst about those sessions is that every time you look at the photos, you remember how it felt. Annoying. Stressful. Fake. So you walk away only having spent $350, but you hate the photos. And really, how good a deal is that?

austin documentary family photographer

What if you could spend more but have a genuinely fun and totally stress-free session that you, your kids, and even your spouse, love? AND walk away with tangible record of the real life memories that you always wished you could bottle up and save forever?

THAT sounds like a better deal to me.

And if you’re still not sure, here are THREE WAYS in which documentary family sessions are not just a good deal, but a valuable investment, too.

An investment for the future.  

Let’s face it. First-hand memories fade like your favorite jeans. They won’t last forever. As time flies, do you ever think to yourself “Damn – what I wouldn’t give for more great photos of when they were toddlers / when I was pregnant / when we lived in our first house” – or even “What I wouldn’t give for more great photos of me and my parents, together.”  Imagine how that feeling will be magnified by the years – and then imagine if every time you’re feeling nostalgic, you could crack open a beautiful, heirloom photo album featuring detail-rich images that bring those days back to life. When looking through the lens of time, photographs of real life memories – your family’s legacy -- just might be the most valuable thing we own.

An investment for your children.

There’s a legendary old study from the 1970s concluding that children who routinely see photos of themselves and their families up on the walls have markedly higher self-esteem than children who do not. It makes sense, right? Seeing photos of your family every day reminds you of your sense of place. That you’re loved and valued. I’d take this logic even further and suggest that displaying documentary images is even more valuable to children’s positive self-image than posed images, because documentary images send the message that who we really are is important and worth celebrating. When we invest in documentary images instead of posed ones – and then display them proudly in our homes – we’re sending a powerful message to our impressionable children: THE REAL YOU IS WORTH CELEBRATING.

austin documentary family photographer

An investment for YOU.

In a lot of ways, mothering is a thankless job. The hundred thousand tasks that comprise your day are rarely noticed, rarely appreciated, and certainly never celebrated. But why?  You make their world go ‘round, mama. And you deserve to be in the frame. Most of us instinctually think we hate photos of ourselves. But in reality, that instinct ought to be far outweighed by how amazing it is to have tangible, physical proof that you were there too. Proof of how they looked at you and how they fit under your arm just so. Proof of how their chubby fingers could barely circle your finger. Proof of how fun you were, and how you attended to their needs. Proof that you did indeed make the world go ‘round.

Mama, you’ve put about a zillion of hours of TLC into that child, and you’re gonna want a beautiful, tangible memento of what that was like.

And I want you to have that beautiful, tangible memento!