Lifestyle VS Documentary

The distinction between lifestyle and documentary sessions can sometimes be a little fuzzy. There is a lot of discrepancy out there, and while I may not have the perfect definition of each, I’ll explain how I like to define them.

First a little context, in posed portraits, the photographer directs where the subject should be and specifically poses each part of the body. You might hear this photographer say, “Put your feet here, turn this way, put your right hand on your hip, turn your head slightly to the left”, and so on. If you haven’t done a formal posed portrait session as an adult, think school yearbook photos or a fashion shoot you’ve seen on TV.


In a lifestyle session, I might stage certain activities, and might do some gentle prompting, but for the most part your session is self-directed. So, you might hear me say things like, “Let’s move over by the window for better light. Ok, now, give mom a hug. Now, look at me. Now, tickle fight!”.

Many hugs, kisses, snuggles, and laughs will be captured. Some of the littlest, simplest moments are some of the most beautiful.

I aim to keep the atmosphere very relaxed, natural, and allow for truly candid moments and interactions, but will also make sure to sneak in a few gently styled poses to make sure we have all the bases covered. Nothing formal, just you, the ones you love, and your story.


A documentary session is truly authentic and captures a moment in time as a family. These sessions are not meant to be perfect or styled. They tell the story of your family in all honesty – real love, real messes, and real emotions.

In a documentary session, I won’t influence the scene. I’m there to capture what happens naturally – no posing; direction; or extra lighting. Years later, you will look back at these images and remember exactly how those moments felt. Some of the littlest, simplest moments are also some of the most beautiful.

During our session, I won’t tell you what to do or where to stand.