Lifestyle & Documentary Session Info – Ontario Documentary Family Photographer

Cornwall Ontario documentary family photographer - Dore

My photography goal is simple, and yet it took me several years to truly understand it: I want to show you how you love others. I don’t want to just show the others whom you love by posing them in a photo with you, but I want to actually show you images where you’re caught in a moment of laughter, of tenderness, of thoughtfulness – or of just plain and simple hilarity. :) I’ve been introducing my clients to two genres that allow me to do this effectively and thought I’d share some specific details about lifestyle and documentary photography. I’m THRILLED to be offering both options as alternatives to traditional family portraits!


Lifestyle Photography:

Sessions are based around activities that would be part of your ideal morning or afternoon, but might not have otherwise happened that day. The aim is to engage family members so that they interact with one another while not paying attention to the camera. Items that appear in images may have been placed there for specific aesthetic value. Locations tend to be chosen specifically because of light and/or significance to the family.

Brossard mom resting head on shoulder

Perfect for: Folks looking for outdoor family photos (particularly in the fall!) but who want to keep things natural.

Keep in mind: I will ask you to choose your favourite activities. It’s helpful to have something that you’d like to do that will help you connect with your family (baking, doing a craft project, going on a picnic, reading books – anything that involves being close together or helping one another). Also, these sessions generate a higher-than-average number of images and will take slightly longer to process.

Cornwall Ontario documentary Family Photographer - Holt



Documentary Photography:

Sessions focus on moment-driven storytelling images. No posing; no direction; no extra lighting; absolutely no outside influence from the photographer whatsoever. The photographer follows the family through a normal aspect of their day, i.e grocery shopping, meal time, bed time, etc.

Cornwall Ontario Docuemtnary Family Photographer - bathtub

Perfect for: Folks who want to show their real lives in their real environment.

Okay, here’s the deal… Documentary sessions aren’t meant to be “pretty” or “tidy”. They’re meant to tell stories. They’re meant to be beautiful in what they reveal about the relationships in a family. I want to show your real life the way you’d like to see it when you look back through photo albums. That means I’m not going to tell you where to sit or how to pose. If your kids stop what they’re doing to look at the camera and smile, I’ll wait them out until they go back to what they were doing. It means not worrying about what you’re wearing or whether your kids are all cleaned up and ready to go. It means not tidying your house to make it look like a magazine-ready home. That’s not real life.

The kids have thrown toys all over the floor again? Perfect. Leave them. Your kids are on the floor feeding crumbs to the dog after supper? Awesome. (AND hilarious.) Don’t call them to sit back at the table if you wouldn’t normally do that. A tug of war breaks out over a favourite toy (or the TV remote)? We all KNOW that’s reality. But also, it means I can capture what life is like when you’re reading the kids their bedtime stories; when your littlest one is potty training; what it’s like trying to get three kids between the ages of six and ten out the door for school in the morning, while your three year-old cries about being left behind. These sessions aren’t about playing “Perfect Families.” They’re about capturing your miraculous, flawed, loving, chaotic family. That’s your reality. There will come a time when your kids will have grown up or moved on, and you’ll want to look back and see the disaster zone that was your family room floor or the havoc wreaked by a macaroni craft project and laugh about the chaos in your life “back then.”

boy choosing crayon on bed
There are four key practicalities to be aware of with documentary photography:

1) Expect lots (but not all) of black and whites because colour sometimes distracts from the moment in the image.

2) There’s no use of flash. If you end up in dark rooms, you can expect some “noise” (tiny little speckles) in the photos because my camera settings will be crazy high to compensate for the darkness – think old-school film. It’s beautiful.

3) There are A LOT of images taken during these sessions. These take a little longer than normal to work through, so allow 5-7 weeks instead of the usual 3-6 (and remember that I always try to beat my deadlines).

4) These sessions often create sequences of images that make sense when shown together. As such, it’s really worth considering an album. I offer a package that includes digital files (for the first time ever in a portrait session!) because I want to make sure that you have the whole story.

Cornwall Ontario Documentary Family Photographer - mud puddle



I’m Ang – a Cornwall, Ontario documentary family photographer with a passion for capturing light and photographing natural moments in life as they happen. My goal is to capture memories that you will cherish once your children are too grown up to curl into your lap for cuddles and the house seems oddly quiet at night. I love meeting new families in their natural environment and getting in amongst the bedlam so that I can document the perfectly imperfect realities of daily life. Please explore more of to see more examples of documentary family photography in Cornwall, Ontario and around the world.