Document Your Favorite Places, Not Pretty Photo Locations

Your favorite place is a must to add to your documentary photo shoot bucket list.

When I became a photographer taking on clients, I scouted for pretty photo locations. My hunt was about pretty fields, stylish downtown scenes, run down barns to shoot in, and I never once thought about where my clients are most comfortable. It was about creating photos like the ones I saw online – styled and pretty.

Now it is becoming popular to see in-home family photo sessions. I love the location, but it drives me crazy when the clients look like they are dressed for a photo shoot. But that’s just me. I crave sessions that are honest, real moments.

I documented my own life and family through a 365 day photo project. My connection to these photos goes beyond the people in them. I connect to the environment. I see the places where I connected with the people in the photos.

 

Location, in real life, is a bridge to how our relationships develop.

Location should be celebrated as much as any milestone or moment. Where are your places you spend with your husband, your kids, as a family, with your friends, or for “me-time?”

There are so many photo session location ideas that go beyond pretty locations and favorite spaces. Learn more about these HERE.

 

Below are a collection of 2014 photos from one of my favorite spot to share with my kids. 

My son has had the longest run of ear infections… ever. In 2014, visiting the doctor + waiting for a prescription was a regular thing. Prescription filling always took an hour or two, because the pharmacy was closed for lunch after our morning appointments. Driving home, then to/from the store later to pick up the prescription, was not something we wanted to do due to the time it would take (35 minute drive one way).

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One day, while waiting, we drove right passed the store and headed towards the water. This 10 mile drive has turned into one of our favorite, routine things to do! We grab McDonald’s and parked right next to a beautiful, small riverfront park.

 

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We’ve done this adventure half a dozen times now. Each time we are almost always the only ones there. It’s like our private piece of heaven on earth. We picnic under a set of crab apple trees (or right inside my truck if the weather is not so great).

We watch for the giant freight boats cruising the river and guess what they are hauling. We watch the car ferries, filled with people, go to and from Canada. The kids run around in the grass. We watch the clouds. We walk along the water. We protect our fries from the seagulls. We sit on the bench and take it all in.

Even though I’m not in many of the photos (since I was taking them), they are like a mirror. I can see myself in them. I can smell the air. I can hear the sound of the gulls, the breeze, and remember how happy my babies were.

So yes, this location, is pretty. Very pretty, in fact. But it is so much more than pretty – it’s a real part of our relationship. #realisthenewpretty

Homework: Make a bucket list of your favorite places. Shoot there. Share with us.

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Family-Documentary-Photography_6581Family-Documentary-Photography_6580Perspective Photo of Mom and Children Family-Documentary-Photography_6573 Family-Documentary-Photography_6574 Family-Documentary-Photography_6575 Family Photo Session in a Park Family Photojournalism Sessions Photo Session Bucket Listfamily picnic photo shoot creating photo framing family photojournalism baby photography photographing favorite places Marine City Waterfront documentary photography documenting environment details lifestyle baby photography Family-Documentary-Photography_6579

 

Need more inspiration? Get lost in these posts:

Take the F & F Double Dog Dare Challenge

If Documentary Photography Becomes Popular, How Do I Stand Out?

Photography Tip: Beat Client Doubt in 3 Steps

Document People Around You, Not Just the Kids

Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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  • Great article and great advice. This is why I never ever scout for a location for shoots and never get a pre-conceived notion for what the session and images will look like. I don’t want anything clouding my judgement what-so-ever. Doing this makes your images real! Thanks for this reminder and tips!