10 Reasons “Day in the Life” Sessions Are My Favorite Family Sessions

Staticky hair, couch disheveled, clothes crooked... and toothy smiles that stretch the bounds of cheeks because Daddy just tossed him across the room onto the cushions. These are my my favorite photos of my Sam.

Sam running around the yard with our pitbull Stella trying to walk her on the leash, and Dave putting Sam's first bike together and showing him how to pedal. These are my favorite times to bust out the camera and these are the photos I want framed and displayed. They're the memories that are going to make me tear up years down the road when he graduates elementary school, goes on his first date, and the day he tells me he's having a baby of his own. Okay, now I'm crying

If you're not yet convinced that photos like these will make your favorite memories too, here are 10 more reasons a Day in the Life session is my favorite session of the bunch.

1. These sessions are unscripted. The beauty of a Day in the Life session is that it's meant to show how a day in the life of your family actually goes, all shenanigans included. Saturday morning pancakes in your PJs, a walk to the neighborhood park, getting ready for school in the morning, or dinnertime followed by bath time and book snuggles. These are all parts of your daily routine that fly by on a daily basis, and I'll bet that either a.) You simply don't notice the beauty in your routine because let's be honest, sometimes it's just exhausting ... or b.) You've always wished you could have these little moments captured for you but you never dreamed of actually paying to have an outsider come and photograph this all going down. Because... aren't you supposed pay to have someone sit you down in a studio and tell you to smile? Don't get me wrong, a studio is a perfect setting for a formal shot of your family, or something more staged... but your littlest baby is tippy toe-ing on a stool in the bathroom with her footsie pjs half hanging off, doing her best to see herself over the bottom lip of the mirror while she "brushes" her teeth, and that's what you're going to want to remember forever. 

​2. Posing? Not this time. Whenever I meet with a new client for a family session, engagement session, etc., one of the most common concerns is that they don't know how to pose themselves. "You're going to pose me, though, right? Because I don't really know how I should be standing. I'm kind of awkward... " Of course I can pose you, and I'll offer as much direction as necessary. Here's how that kind of session goes: 

We go through the park, I pose you here, I pose you there, I ask you to hang tight while I get my exposure right ...but what I'm really doing is getting a bunch of great, natural images of you two interacting while you have no idea you're being photographed. We part ways, and you think it went well based on our experience together but you have no idea how it actually went because you're not sure if you "did it right" and you ambivalently wait a few days to see the turnout.

​Guess which photos are always the favorites? The ones that weren't posed; the ones you had no idea even happened. Because you were relaxed, acted naturally, and were sharing a moment while the pressure was off. Do you really actually want to be posed? Or would you rather I go through some simple tips and guidelines with you before your session so you can actually enjoy yourselves and have some fun while feeling confident that you know you're lookin' good? I vote the latter, and most of my clients do too. 

3. Dad is on board. Who hates posing more than Dad? No one. That's probably why fathers are so much more into the idea of a Day in the Life session than a "lean and smile" session. And sometimes isn't Dad the one who needs the most convincing when it comes to scheduling a family portrait session? For this session, he can wear what he loves, rock that manly "five o'clock shadow", and zoom like an airplane around the yard with the kids while I get some great action shots. 'Nuff said. 

​4. Emotions steal the show, not clothing. We're going for authenticity here. Real, simple, and true moments. No need to go out and shop for a fancy photo session outfit for you, hubs, and the kiddos; I want you to wear what you wear when you're lounging in that undone look your husband loves (or at least he says he does.) Sure, you can look fabulously undone --I won't tell anyone you spent 30 minutes in the bathroom perfecting your messy bun. But no makeup artist or hair stylist needed for this one. I want your kids to choose their outfits today. Let's see what their style looks like, as scary as that might seem. No doubt, it'll make for some pretty special photographs. 

5. What props? "Do you supply props, or should I bring some with us?" I get this question all the time, especially with infant and toddler sessions. Instead of sitting your 6 month old baby in front of books and blocks and expecting him to smile at the camera, let's see what his newest tricks are and what gets him glowing! Let's build those blocks, read the books, and even blow some bubbles while we're at it. And newborn sessions... don't get me started. It's not that I don't "aww" over those Anne Geddes style photos of newborns fast asleep all bundled up tight in bumble bee outfits. I guess I'm just one of those mom photographers who melts over little fingers and toes and lips and baby skin instead of a cutely knit animal outfit. After all, isn't she the one you're so deeply in love with? In this session, we'll focus on the goods and leave the props aside. 

6. Home is where the heart is. What better place to capture your most cherished memories than at home? Where you share the most meaningful moments, take naps and eat dinners together, and where you feel most comfortable. After all, as they say, ''home is not a place, it's a feeling." Day in the Life sessions are meant to showcase the essence of that feeling while spending time with the ones that mean most. Not only are you relaxed at home, but a session at home also means you don't have to pack anything up to bring elsewhere. You don't need to worry about nursing in public, you don't have to remember to bring extra diapers, snacks, or even extra clothes for yourself if sticky dirty toddler hands grace your white shirt. You have everything you need nearby, and if the kids want snacks or naps, well hey... don't mind me. I'll just keep shooting. No need for a propped up studio, no need to scout out locations; home is perfect. 

​7. The most cherished memories don't always mean smiles and laughs. Day in the Life sessions are great because they are real. I'm allowed to capture real moments from close up and afar as they're happening, whether they are happy or not. Sometimes two year olds throw tantrums over nothing, and sometimes brothers and sisters are still trying to figure out that balance. Believe it or not, as frustrating as this all might seem at the moment, these are memories you're going to relish in the future. 

8. You get to be in these ones. How often do you find that you're the one taking the photos of the rest of your family and you weren't in any of them? Well this time, you get to be in there with them. No more scrambling for a non-selfie/acceptable photo of you and your kids because you can't remember the last time your spouse snapped a proper photo. This time, you're going to finally have those tiny intimate moments with your children documented. Your son sitting in your lap to relax a moment, reaching up as he mindlessly twirls his finger in your hair. Or when your daughter scrapes her knee and needs a kiss to heal it (only from you) before running off to play again. Now you'll have these moments forever. 

9. How about your (their) very own storybook? Every single Father's Day, I make Dave a small storybook album of the photos I've taken of him and Sam throughout the year.  I know Dave loves the books, and I love the books, but Sam loves them even more. He runs them over to me to "read" just like he'd bring me Brown Bear, Brown Bear. "Daddy? Sammy? Lawnmower? Whoaaaa," he says as he flips through the images of Dave riding him around on the tractor with grass flying through the air. Now that's the kind of storybook that will never get old. 

10. ​The money + time thing. So we all know that photography can become pretty expensive and therefore stressful. There, I said it. The elephant in the room has been exposed. Between the cost of the session & prints/products, everyone's new outfits, hair and makeup if that's your thing, Etsy props if you insist on them... The stress of preparation, juggling work/school/sports schedules to make sure everyone is free for that session time, and the realization that not everyone's mood might be on point at the exact same time... YIKES. Just another thing to add to the list of expenses and to-dos. Well, great news: Day in the Life sessions are here for the save. Just to reiterate, these sessions require no new outfits, no props, we're at home so preparation is minimal if none, no travel, and this session can be done in the 1-2 hours between all of your current commitments. No need to put dinner off, or miss baseball practice. Let me photograph your family as the kids are getting off the bus, dinner is being made, Dad is helping Simon get into his team uniform, and Susie is finishing her homework. It all counts. 

Okay, now you hopefully get the point. Day in the life sessions are a beautiful way to capture the personalities that make up your family. They require little stress, none of the added expenses that usually accompany a family session, and you're all allowed (encouraged) to just be who you are. Let me be a fly on the wall in your home and document family time as it flies by. Once you see how beautiful your life looks through my eyes, you'll be so happy you opted for this type of session over any other.   

Have you ever wanted or have had your family photographed like this?

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