What's the difference between Lifestyle and Documentary Photography?

These terms are often used interchangeably, because on a surface level, both are used to describe images that look relaxed and natural. But there's really a lot more to it than that. Let's actually pull these terms apart and break down the difference between a "lifestyle" session and a "documentary" session so you can begin to see and think about what style really suits you best. 

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Favorite Session Locations in Charlottesville

Locations are always one of the first and biggest decisions to make when planning your session, and many clients are surprised to learn that there's a lot more that needs to go into choosing this spot than simply some pretty scenery! In fact, sometimes some of the most "scenic" views make for the worst spots for a full session. And you'd be surprised at the locations hiding right under your feet that may not seem ideal, but given the right conditions and clients, are the perfect fit. 

These locations all provide areas of open shade that make shooting at relatively any time of day a possibility. This is a big one for me because while I would love to shoot in the "golden hour," every time (the 1-2 hour window of magical glowy light before sunset), this is rarely a possibility for families with young kids. I like to think that families appreciate my flexibility and understanding from a parents' perspective. The golden hour often doubles as the witching hour for kids under 4 who typically are eating dinner, getting tired, and going to bed around that time. Confidence that I can make it work whether shooting at 10 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon is must! 


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5 Ways to Sabotage your Family Photoshoot

If you're nervous about your photoshoot, that's understandable -- I won't sugar coat it. You've invested your money into a luxury service and you don't really know what to expect. Moods, weather, the hair color your stylist decides to try out on you... it's all unpredictable. I get it. 

My job, however, is to negate that as much as possible by providing suggestions for how to handle the things you can control and leave the rest up to me with confidence. In 2015, I wrote about 5 ways to Sabotage Your Family Session, but I felt like it could use an update. Some of the advice is the same (cough, #2) but I've also gathered a few new suggestions that rose to the top of the list. With that, here's my current list of the worst things you can do during your family photoshoot.

Seriously, avoid them at all costs. I call them the "session-killers." Proceed with caution. 

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Color Palette Suggestions for Styling your Fall Family Photoshoot

Tis the season for family photos, especially in our area where the leaves are changing and adding an even more stunning landscape to many beautiful locations. Temps are cooler than the blistering summers, yet not yet too frigid to loose feeling in your toes. There's also tons of fun activities to add interest and whimsy to a session, like apple picking at a local orchard or playing in fallen leaves in the backyard. 

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The Tale of Book Ends: Embracing Spontaneity in Life and in Photos

When we moved to Hawaii, we settled in a quiet, beach town called Kailua on Oahu in which I could walk from our tiny apartment a mile in any direction and have the sand and ocean on my feet or a cup of coffee and a bagel in my hand. Upon moving, we quickly became regulars at an adorable coffee shop call Morning Brew and during the week, I would often tote my laptop and photography books there, set up shop at a table by an open window adjacent from the school yard where I wasn't employing my degree, and buckle down on my new education with a cup of chai spiced determination. 


On days when that brand of fuel didn't seem to cut it, I would head next door to another local joint called Book Ends. Boy, did it feed my soul.

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Why I Will Always Walk Into The Creek

"We really love this bridge down the road, do you think we could do some shots there?" 

This question came from the bride during a break in the clouds of a rainy wedding day. Dew soaked the grass and sparkled over the rocks as we made the trek during cocktail hour, full bridal party in accompaniment, to the woods to explore this bridge. I had never been to this venue before the wedding day, never scouted this particular spot, but saying 'no' was not an option. It seemed like it was a simple enough request. 

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