Photographing Every Last Boring Detail – Documentary Style Photography

You’ve heard me say it before and I’m saying it again: there is a photo opportunity in every moment of every day. The story within that moment may not always be sunshine and rainbows, but a story is there no less. It’s a matter of opening your mind to be aware of the story to tell – the first step in documentary style photography. On this day, I began documenting details of one of our ordinary routines in a matter of minutes as my daughter got the mail.

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Photographing Every Last Boring Detail

This short & sweet little photo session can easily be done with your clients. If you are thinking, “well, that would take all of 5-10 minutes – who wants a session that short?” then you just need to think on a bigger scale. This is a part of our daily routine and so much more could be added in – for example, me. I’m not in the frame. If you were photographing a client, you would have interaction photos also. I would also include bringing the mail into our home (most often, our kitchen) and opening the envelopes. Our mail comes in the afternoon, so usually at this time, we begin dinner prep, setting the table, the list goes on. Real, memory evoking photos are found in the most boring of moments (that really aren’t very boring at all).

So here’s how I photographed this bit our daily routine:

I don’t know what it is about bills and junk mail, but these boring items to us are very exciting to a child – or at least, my daughter. She runs to the mail box each day full of energy and thrill. Today, she is obsessed with her new tutu, so it added an element of personality to the photos. This tutu is essentially a photography prop here, though it naturally blends in with the photo session. The summer sun and running movement cast a spell on me in that I can feel her childhood when looking at these photos. I remember being a child myself with that same excitement over ordinary routines. My husband {slowly} drove up to the driveway after work as we got the mail. Watching her wait to see him reminded me of what it was like to see one of my parents for the first time in late afternoon – the love and excitement to see them.

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Homework: What routines were thrilling to you as a child? Have you lost that enthusiasm? Can you visualize how you can make a photo session out of it? Comment, I’m listening.

Here’s a photo collage to Pin to your documentary style photography inspiration board:

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Need more inspiration? Get lost in these posts:

Photography Income and Intuition

Documentary of a Toddler on a Shopping Spree

First Installment in Photography Mentoring

Booking Photo Sessions: 5 Tips to Filling Your Calendar

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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