The Road to Documentary Family Photography

Cornwall documentary family photographer - cows

3am alarm. Early start this morning. Empty roads on the way to Montreal.

I’m sitting at the airport waiting to board the first of two flights that will take me to Denver, where I’ll catch a shuttle out into the mountains so I can spend the week with Kirsten Lewis and Jenna Shouldice (and their lovely husbands).

I have admired Kirsten’s eye for storytelling family photography for a year and a half. I saw her speak at Mystic Seminars in 2014, where her talk on documentary family photography was a complete “eureka” moment for me. Jenna spoke about birth photography during this year’s Canada Photo Convention and I had to work exceptionally hard not to go completely fan-girl on her (and then failed) each time we crossed paths that week. Her presentation of a recent family documentary video brought me to tears with its honesty and artistic vision.

The reason for my trip to Breckenridge, Colorado is to spend three very full days with eight other photographers learning from two of the very best in the documentary family photography industry. My work will be stripped bare, my insecurities laid out for my peers to see, and I fully expect to come away humbled. A small collection of my work, as well as a complete raw set of session images will be critiqued and I’ll be doing a shoot under their supervision. Simply put, this will be the biggest opportunity for growth that I’ve had thus far.

When asked why I wanted to go to this workshop, my answer was quite simple: my motto as a younger woman was always, “do what scares you.” It has been a long time since I have been able to put that to the test in my professional life on such a grand scale, but this week definitely meets the criteria.

As part of the process of signing up for the workshop, I had to complete a questionnaire. I was asked what I hoped to learn this week. It was laughable. The listed content was already so all-encompassing that I was dumbstruck. I’m looking forward to chatting with other professionals and sharing wine; learning about toning, layering in images, composition, connecting; and laughing – I expect there will be a fair bit of that last one.

After booking this workshop, it took me almost two months before I could think about the trip without feeling like bursting into tears. Fear; intimidation; doubt. But also excitement. I can’t wait to see what comes next because of this week.

Stay tuned.


Cornwall documentary family photographer - mirror cuddles


I’m Ang – a Cornwall, Ontario-based 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 little ones are not so little anymore. 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 Cornwall, Ontario documentary family photography.