being REAL is scary

What I know about the families that I work with, that I am drawn to, and who desire my images, is that they are living intentional and connected lives. This doesn’t mean that their lives are perfect or without sacrifice, what it means is that they know their values and make the decisions (even the ones that aren’t easy) that allow them to live accordingly.

That can manifest itself in as many ways as there are different families, from turning grocery trips and other errands into weekly family adventures, to making spur of the moment plans even when you may not have the necessary gear on hand. Chelsea’s family is not afraid to live unconventionally, chase what they love, and fly by the seat of their pants a little. When a family motto is to ‘do life small to do family big’, I know that I am among kindred spirits.

And yet, even though documenting these images was something that Chelsea longed for, something that aligned itself so tightly with their family values, she experienced the same fears and hesitations that nearly all my clients confront at some point. Her thoughts on our session follow:

Before our photo session, I was quite nervous about how mundane our everyday life is and how bored you might be! Being quite a shy and private person, sharing so openly felt vulnerable. I questioned whether our lives were truly worthy of such an experience. I imagined being in a constant spotlight, but you integrated yourself so gently into our day and into our family that it felt natural to continue being ourselves. 

I was excited knowing that if I powered through my insecurities, that I would have these moments to treasure for a lifetime through photos. 

When the session was over, I felt empowered and excitedly anxious to see these moments in photos that I sometimes miss or am just not paying attention to. It has pushed me to be even more mindful about the time I spend with my children.

These photos are so dear to me. The more I look at them, the more emotional I become about them. I notice new details at every glance. So much more personality shines through and the images are more meaningful since they aren't posed at all. You captured my children being 100% authentic. 

"I know that every year that passes by (and my children need me a little less, or in a different capacity) I will look at these photos with such a love and longing for these days that are long and tiring but full of heart."

So I asked Chelsea what advice she would give to those of you daydreaming about your own documentary family photography session, to those of you maybe a little afraid to reach beyond the lifestyle family photography, and this is what she said:

Push past your insecurities! Sure, I cleaned my house a little more than usual, but we kept the rest authentic and real to who we are. Don’t stress about making a plan for what your day will look like. Take it in stride as you would my other day and be yourselves. Brittany will make you feel comfortable in her presence and it won’t feel as strange as you think it might.
— Chelsea