Guest post writing and video are from photographer, Stephanie Heydt
This session was for a friend of mine who luckily is very into unposed family pictures, so she didn’t need to be convinced about letting me shoot how I wanted to shoot. She’s expecting her 2nd child in a few weeks and wanted to document these last few moments of just the three of them. They also just bought a new house recently and are in the middle of renovating and haven’t really moved out of their old house just yet. Lots of craziness going on! We had discussed having them set up the baby’s nursery while I was there, but the furniture hadn’t arrived yet so those plans went out the window. Instead we just sort of kicked back and hung out, had lunch and played with their son.
If I had any advice to give at all it would be to shoot from your heart and not get worried about the labels of what/how you are shooting. Just because you call yourself a documentary photographer, it doesn’t mean that you absolutely cannot speak to your client during a session. At least, in my opinion that’s true. I enjoy a sort of hybrid approach to my shooting and it’s worked out well for me. I really like the ‘true’ documentary style images mixed in with some of the more lifestyle approach staged images. Most of the time the staging doesn’t work anyway and I end up with some great photos of people with their guard down and just laughing and having fun.
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.