The best camera is the one that you have with you

If I had to choose one camera, I pick my iPhone every time



Don't overthink it

Find Your Perspective:

Family documentary photography is all about spontaneity. Don't be afraid to let go of posed shots.Be ready to capture the magic of everyday moments by keeping your phone within reach. Genuine emotions make the best photos, whether it's a hearty laugh, a warm embrace, or playful interaction between family members.

Experiment with different angles and perspectives to add depth and creativity to your photos. Get down to your child's eye level to capture the world from their perspective. Alternatively, shoot from above to showcase family members gathered together or engaged in an activity. Varying your perspective will add interest and uniqueness to your family documentary shots. The most interesting shots are from a vantage point that we don't normally see the world. Think "high, low, near, and far."

Focus on Storytelling:


Natural Lighting is Key


Lighting plays a crucial role in photography, and it's no different for family portraits. Choose natural light whenever possible because it's soft and flattering. Look for well-lit areas in your house or head outside during the golden hour (after sunrise and before sunset). That said, avoid harsh midday sun if you can.

A family documentary photo should tell a story and evoke emotions. Pay attention to the details so you can capture the essence of a moment. Take note of how your family interacts, what they say, and how they express themselves. As a result, you'll create images that not only remind you of the moment, but also convey the emotions you were feeling. Get images with varying distances: wide, medium, and tight to the subject.

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Utilize Burst Mode

Candid Over Posed


Posed pictures look great, but candid shots show true emotion. A candid photo captures the raw, unfiltered moments of family life. Take pictures of family members doing their daily routines, interacting with each other, and expressing genuine emotions. The images will serve as a timeless reminder of your family's love and connection.

Family life is full of movement and action. Using your phone's burst mode will help you capture the perfect moment. Especially during playful or energetic family activities, this feature lets you take multiple photos in rapid succession, increasing your chances of getting the perfect shot.

Preserve the Memories

Edit with Care



Edit your family documentary photos with care after you take them. Colors can be enhanced, exposures can be adjusted, and cropping can be done with photo editing apps. You want to keep the authenticity of the moment while enhancing the visual appeal. One app that I really like is Lightroom.

Printing family photos is a great way to keep these memories alive. You can make photo albums or frame them to decorate your walls. You can revisit these moments frequently and share them with family and friends with tangible prints.

Child, looking at a polar bear at the Madison zoo by La Crosse Wisconsin photographer Jeff Wiswell of J. L. Wiswell photography.