Black-and-white photo of a toddler-aged boy wearing a helmet and climbing aboard a scooter in his home. Dad assists.

Real talk: it can be difficult to know where to start when choosing a family photographer.

There are so many different approaches, vibes, and editing styles, that (especially if you’ve never booked a photographer before) it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when starting your search. Even worse, without any idea where to begin, you could end up not being 100% satisfied once your photos are delivered because you don’t feel like you got what you were expecting.

Here’s a little breakdown to give you an idea of what I do (and also what I don’t) so you can decide if my vibe fits your vision.

A father wrestles with his kids in the background as a young girl's legs are seen running through the foreground

Let me start out by saying that I freaking love my job. It’s amazing, and it fills my cup every single time that I can help your family preserve little slices of your world through these fraction-of-a-second frames. The funny thing is, when I first got my footing in photography, I never wanted to be a family photographer.

Growing up, we never had professional photos done, except for one that was taken when I was around seven years old. Combine this with what used to be the norm of family photography circa the 80s and 90s (I think most of our generation has had some sort of "Awkward Family Photos" experience, no?), and I found myself thinking that family photos meant stiff, awkwardly-orchestrated images taken in a studio with some sort of monochrome marbled backdrop fabric. My eighteen year-old self (okay, and my thirty six year-old self) had absolutely zero interest in anything to do with that aesthetic, but fell head over heels for documentary photography, so that’s what I studied.

Black-and-white photograph of a dog perching its top paws on a chair where a mother sits feeding a bottle to her newborn

The long-and-winding road to my current style started while studying visual journalism at a west coast photography school. Keyword here: journalism. As journalists, instructors hammered hard from day one that we were unable to tamper with the scene in any way.

If you move that pen out of the way on the table, you’re no longer a journalist. Figure out how to incorporate it into your composition, or get it out of the frame.

Distracting pole in the background? Removing it in post isn’t an option if you want to be a journalist. Next time, figure out how to incorporate it into your composition, or get it out of the frame.

Found an amazing spot with great colors, awesome framing, and gorgeous light? Stay there and wait until somebody naturally walks through it to make it interesting. If you tell them what to do, you’re no longer a journalist.

And so on. This is how I learned to photograph, and continues to guide my “eye” to this day.

Collage of 6 candid, documentary-style images of mothers with their children

After awhile, I ended up realizing that while I loved journalistic photography, I didn’t see myself becoming an actual journalist. I shifted gears at that time and went down a whole different professional path. Cut to 2015 - long story short, I realized that family photography had course corrected from the awkwardly-stale photos of the past, and came to visualize myself photographing families in a way that documented their experience instead of forcing it.

Let’s just say that at that time directing subjects was a whole different concept for me. As somebody who was trained to be a fly on the wall, questions like “how should I stand?,” “Where should I put my hands?,” etc. all made me feel like a deer in headlights when I was just getting started. Thankfully, over time, I’ve learned to blend my hands-off training with an understanding of directing my subjects in some way to get the ball rolling, and now have a vibe that involves documenting authentic moments and true emotion, with little nudges to help point you in the right direction.

Collage of three black-and-white documentary-style photographs of families in their homes
So now, to the good stuff - here’s what this all means for you when you work with me:

1. The emotions you see in my photos are always authentic. Always. I will never ask you to laugh; promise.

2. If your kids are involved, we’re going to let them be kids. And it’s going to be amazing. I don’t need them to sit still, to smile for the camera, or even to be interested in me 100% of the time. We’re going to let them play, to get their hands dirty, and to be their wild (or goofy, or shy) selves. I don’t want to document a generic child sitting still and cheesing for the camera, I want to capture the energy of your child as they are on that day.

3. The amount of posing and positioning that I do will directly relate to your session type, as well as your specific session in real time and how it unfolds. As a general overview:

  • Family Photography: I usually attempt at least a couple of posed shots where you're all looking at the camera, but this is an extremely minimal part of your session, and it will be quick. Your kids are 100% in charge and if they start squirming, escaping, hiding, switching sides, etc., this is all part of the magic they create and we will roll with it.
  • Newborn Photography: There are studio photographers out there who spend 20+ minutes settling your newborn into a single pose (and they are amazing at it!) Know not to expect this from your lifestyle in-home newborn photographs with me 😊 I usually incorporate at least a couple of posed images depending on how settled Baby is, but newborn sessions are honestly among the least-posed that I do. I live for capturing Baby's unique little stretches and yawns. As far as your involvement, I'll get you in good light and ask you to cuddle your baby. Tough ask, yes?
  • Maternity Photography: This is hands-down the most posed session that you'll have with me, because I want to help you show off your curves in all the right ways. That said, I'm still going to work to direct your focus away from the camera back toward your partner, your environment, or your babe-on-the way to draw out authentic emotion and ease those in-front-of-the-camera nerves.
  • Engagement Photography/Couples' Photography + Wedding Photography: In general, I tend to think in interactions as opposed to poses. I'll get y'all cuddled up together, but from there, I'm way more focused on inviting connection between the two of you than I am narrowing down specifics on exact placement of your limbs. My approach to photographing weddings is highly rooted in a documentarian perspective. Depending on the situation I might direct you toward good light as you put on your shoes or earrings, for example, but in general, I hang back wherever possible and capture your day authentically as it unfolds.

4. No matter what type of photography session you book, I have two main rules: look at each other unless I ask you to look at me, and always be touching the person next to you. Easy peasy, friends.

Collage of two photos of a mother and son cuddling and laughing together in golden evening sunlight
Sound like your vibe?

Amazing - I can't wait to work with you! Reach out today so we can get to know each other and dream up the perfect photo session for you and your crew.

A photo of Miranda appears "taped" next to her contact information