Why You Should Hire a Documentary Family Photographer for Your Family Reunion

Adult sisters laugh together at their campsite during their extended family summer photo shoot with Paula Gerein Photography
Adult sisters laugh together at their campsite during their extended family summer photo shoot with Paula Gerein Photography
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Why You Should Hire a Documentary Family Photographer for Your Family Reunion

Summer is the season of family reunions. These gatherings provide rare opportunities to create lasting memories with extended family, especially with the adults who seldom get together. Hiring a documentary family photographer to capture these moments is a great idea, and here’s why.

 

Summary:

 

Introduction: The Joy of Family Reunions

    1. Capturing Rare Gatherings
    2. The Benefits of a Documentary Approach
    3. Creating Lasting Memories with Candid Shots
    4. The Importance of Photographing All Generations
    5. Tips for a Successful Family Reunion Photo Session
    6. Preserving Family Traditions
    7. Building a Family Archive
    8. Celebrating Milestones
    9. The Power of Printed Photos

Conclusion: Embrace the Opportunity

Book Your Family Reunion Session Today

Introduction: The Joy of Family Reunions

 

There’s something uniquely joyful about family reunions. It’s the time when aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents come together, often after long periods apart. These moments are filled with laughter, stories, and sometimes a little chaos, but they are priceless.

 

Documenting these gatherings through photography ensures that all family members can exist in photographs together.

  1. Capturing Rare Gatherings

 

Family reunions are rare events where extended family members gather in one place. Given everyone’s busy schedules, it’s not often that large families can come together. This rarity makes reunions special and worth capturing.

 

  • Cherished Moments: These events provide a unique opportunity to photograph the entire family, creating a visual record of your family’s history.
  • Photographing Adults: Often, family photos focus on children, but reunions are a great time to capture images of all the adults together. These photos become treasured keepsakes, especially as the years go by.
An extended family play at the beach and grandparents stand at the water's edge watching. During their extended family photo session with Paula Gerein
  1. The Benefits of a Documentary Approach

 

Hiring a documentary family photographer means you get candid, unposed shots that truly reflect the essence of your family reunion.

 

  • Natural Interactions: A documentary approach captures genuine interactions and emotions, showcasing the love and connection within your family.
  • Less Pressure: Without the need to pose or smile on command, everyone can relax and enjoy the moment, resulting in more authentic photos.
  • Storytelling: These photos tell a story, preserving the unique dynamics and relationships that make your family special.
  1. Creating Lasting Memories with Candid Shots

 

The beauty of documentary photography is in its ability to capture the spontaneity and joy of the moment. Here’s how candid shots can create lasting memories:

 

  • Unscripted Moments: From kids playing in the yard to grandparents sharing stories, these unplanned moments are often the most memorable.
  • Expressions and Emotions: Genuine smiles, laughter, and even tears are captured in their purest form, creating powerful and emotional images.
  • Activity-Based Photos: Documenting activities like cooking together, playing games, or simply chatting by the fire adds context and richness to your family’s story.
  1. The Importance of Photographing All Generations

 

Family reunions bring together multiple generations, from great-grandparents to the youngest members of the family. Capturing these generational connections is incredibly valuable.

 

  • Heritage and Legacy: Photos of grandparents with their grandchildren create a visual legacy that will be cherished for generations.
  • Family Dynamics: Documenting the interactions between different generations highlights the unique roles and relationships within the family.
  • Treasured Memories: As time goes by, these photos become even more precious, serving as a reminder of the love and bond shared across generations.
  1. Tips for a Successful Family Reunion Photo Session

 

To make the most of your family reunion photo session, here are some tips:

 

  • Plan Ahead: You and I should coordinate in advance to discuss the schedule and key moments and people that might be extra special for you to have captured.
  • Keep it Natural: Encourage your family to relax and be themselves. The best photos often come from unplanned moments and natural interactions.
  • Focus on Activities: Plan activities that everyone can enjoy, such as a family game, a barbecue, or a nature walk. These provide great opportunities for candid photos.
  • Embrace Imperfections: Don’t stress about everything being perfect. The beauty of documentary photography is in capturing the real, imperfect moments that make your family unique.
A toddler releases his hold on Grandpa's hand at the water's edge of a lake. During their extended family photo session with Paula Gerein.
  1. Preserving Family Traditions

 

Family reunions are often steeped in traditions, whether it’s a special recipe passed down through generations, an annual game of soccer, or a group sing-along around the campfire. Capturing these traditions through photography helps preserve them for future generations.

 

  • Cultural Heritage: Photos of traditional activities and customs help keep your family’s cultural heritage alive. They serve as a visual record that can be shared with younger family members.
  • Storytelling: These photos become a part of your family’s narrative, telling the story of your unique traditions and the values that have been passed down through the years.
  • Legacy: By documenting these moments, you create a legacy that future generations can look back on and feel connected to their roots.
  1. Building a Family Archive

 

A family reunion photo session can be the start of a beautiful family archive—a collection of images that tell the story of your family over the years.

 

  • Yearly Albums: Consider creating yearly photo albums that compile the best moments from each reunion. These albums become treasured keepsakes that can be passed down through the generations.
  • Digital Archives: In addition to physical albums, maintaining a digital archive ensures that your photos are safely stored and easily accessible. This way, you can share them with family members near and far.
Cousins laugh and play together with water toys at their campsite during their extended family documentary photo session with Paula Gerein
  1. Celebrating Milestones

Family reunions are the perfect time to celebrate milestones, whether it’s a grandparent’s 80th birthday, a couple’s 50th anniversary, or a child’s graduation. A documentary family photographer can help you capture these special moments.

 

  • Milestone Moments: Documenting milestone celebrations during reunions adds a special touch to your family photos. These moments of celebration are a testament to your family’s journey and growth.
  • Group Photos: Capture group photos that include everyone present at the reunion. These images become cherished keepsakes, especially as family members age and new ones join.
  • Personal Messages: Encourage family members to share personal messages or memories during the reunion. These can be captured in photos or videos, adding a heartfelt element to your family archive.
  1. The Power of Printed Photos

 

In today’s digital age, printed photos have a special significance. There’s something timeless and tangible about holding a photo in your hands, and printed images can become cherished heirlooms.

 

  • Photo Books: Create photo books from your reunion session. These books can be given as gifts to family members or kept as a personal keepsake.
  • Wall Art: Turn your favourite reunion photos into wall art. Displaying these images in your home serves as a daily reminder of the love and connection within your family.
  • Photo Gifts: Consider creating photo gifts such as calendars, mugs, or canvases. These make thoughtful gifts that family members will treasure.

Conclusion: Embrace the Opportunity

 

Family reunions are rare and precious occasions that deserve to be documented. Hiring a documentary family photographer ensures that you capture the true essence of these gatherings—the joy, the laughter, and the love shared among family members. Don’t miss the opportunity to create lasting memories that you and your family will treasure for years to come.

 

Book Your Family Reunion Session Today

 

Ready to capture the magic of your next family reunion? Don’t wait! Book your documentary family photo session today and let’s create beautiful, lasting memories together. Celebrate your family’s unique story and preserve these cherished moments for future generations.

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Boy makes a silly face - from an Edmonton Family Photographer

Paula Gerein Photography

Documentary photography for families and businesses of Edmonton and Central Alberta, Canada. Available for travel.

 

© Paula Gerein Photography 2024

All rights reserved.

Using Photography to Entertain Your Kids While Camping and Exploring the Outdoors

A mother and her son take photos together on a walk outside during their documentary family photo session.
A mother and her son take photos together on a walk outside during their documentary family photo session.
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Using Photography to Entertain Your Kids While Camping and Exploring the Outdoors

Camping and outdoor adventures offer the perfect opportunity to bond with your family and immerse yourselves in nature. But keeping kids entertained, from kindergarteners to teenagers, can sometimes be a challenge. Using photography as a tool not only engages them creatively but also helps them develop a love for capturing and appreciating the beauty around them.

 

In this blog post, we’ll explore fun and educational photography activities that will keep your kids entertained during your camping trips and outdoor adventures.

 

Summary:

Introduction: The Magic of Outdoor Photography

 

There’s something magical about the great outdoors that captivates both kids and adults alike. Introducing your kids to photography while camping or exploring nature can be a fantastic way to keep them entertained and engaged. It encourages them to look closer at their surroundings, sparks their creativity, and can even turn into a lifelong hobby. Plus, it’s a great way to get them off their screens and focused on something other than asking, “Are we there yet?” every five minutes.

 

Here are some fun photography activities tailored for kids of all ages to enjoy on your next outdoor adventure.

  1. Photo Treasure Hunt: Adventure for All Ages

 

A photo treasure hunt is a fun and interactive way to get your kids excited about photography. It’s simple to set up and can be tailored to suit different age groups.

 

For Younger Kids:

  • Simple Lists: Create a list of items that are easy to find, such as a flower, a bird, a tree, or a rock. Bonus points if they can find a rock that looks like a famous person.
  • Visual Aids: Use pictures alongside words for kids who are not yet reading. Because we all know they’ll just ask you what it says anyway.
  • Group Activity: Pair them up with an older sibling or an adult to help them find and photograph the items. Sibling rivalry can work in your favour here.

 

For Older Kids and Teens:

  • Detailed Lists: Challenge them with more specific items, such as a butterfly on a flower, a unique leaf, or an animal track. They’ll enjoy the challenge, and you’ll enjoy a moment of peace.
  • Themes: Introduce themes like “shapes in nature” or “colours of the forest” to make it more challenging. Let’s see who can find the most “interesting” shade of green.
  • Competition: Turn it into a friendly competition with prizes for the most creative or the highest number of items found. Nothing like a little healthy competition to keep the peace.
A child looks over a list of a camping scavenger hunt. Photo by Shirley Sullivan.
Photo by Shirley Sullivan
  1. Nature Photo Challenges for Young Explorers

 

Nature photo challenges are great for encouraging young kids to explore and appreciate their surroundings. These challenges can be both educational and entertaining.

 

Colour Hunt:

  • Objective: Find and photograph items of different colours in nature.
  • Learning Aspect: Teaches kids about colours and encourages them to look closely at their surroundings. Also, it might just keep them occupied long enough for you to enjoy your coffee.

Shape Hunt:

  • Objective: Search for and photograph natural objects that resemble specific shapes, like circles, squares, or triangles.
  • Learning Aspect: Helps with understanding shapes and develops observational skills. And gives you a break from the endless “What shape is this?” questions.

Texture Hunt:

  • Objective: Capture photos of various textures, such as smooth stones, rough tree bark, or soft moss.
  • Learning Aspect: Introduces kids to different textures and enhances their tactile learning. Plus, you get to hear them argue about whether that moss is “really” soft.
  1. Storytelling Through Photos for Creative Minds

 

For kids who love storytelling and creativity, using photography to create stories can be a captivating activity.

 

Photo Stories:

  • Objective: Take a series of photos that tell a story. It could be a day in the life of a squirrel, the journey of a leaf down a stream, or an adventure with their favourite toy.
  • How-To: Encourage them to plan their story, decide on the “characters,” and think about the beginning, middle, and end. Just be prepared for some truly epic (and occasionally bizarre) tales.

Photo Journals:

  • Objective: Create a photo journal of the camping trip, documenting each day’s activities and discoveries.
  • How-To: Provide them with a notebook where they can print and paste their photos, adding captions or short descriptions. This way, you’ll have a beautiful record of your trip and a handy reminder of what you actually did.
A teen girl sits on the grass with soccer balls experimenting with photography.
  1. Teen Photography Projects: From Landscapes to Wildlife

 

Teenagers might enjoy more sophisticated photography projects that challenge their skills and creativity.

 

Landscape Photography:

  • Objective: Capture the beauty of the natural environment, focusing on landscapes and scenery.
  • Tips: Teach them about the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing to enhance their composition skills. Just don’t be surprised if they start critiquing your own photos.

Wildlife Photography:

  • Objective: Photograph animals in their natural habitat.
  • Tips: Encourage patience and quiet observation. Discuss the importance of respecting wildlife and keeping a safe distance. Also, remind them that sneaking up on a bear for the perfect shot is a terrible idea.

Macro Photography:

  • Objective: Explore the tiny details in nature, like dew drops on a spider web or the intricate patterns on a leaf.
  • Tips: Use a macro lens or the macro mode on a camera or smartphone to capture close-up details. Teens will love the “cool factor” of seeing nature up close.
  1. Sharing and Displaying Their Work

 

After your outdoor adventure, take time to share and celebrate your kids’ photographic achievements.

 

  • Family Photo Night: Host a photo night where everyone can showcase their favourite shots from the trip. This can double as a much-needed night in.
  • Photo Albums: Help kids create a photo album or scrapbook of their best pictures. These albums can become cherished keepsakes.
  • Online Sharing: Share their work on social media or family group chats, giving them a platform to receive positive feedback. Just be ready for the inevitable flood of “likes” from doting grandparents.
  • Photo Gifts: Turn their best photos into personalized gifts, like calendars, mugs, or wall art. Perfect for those moments when you have no idea what to get grandma for her birthday.
Photo by Shirley Sullivan

Conclusion: Capture the Adventure

 

Using photography to entertain your kids while camping or on outdoor adventures is a win-win situation. It keeps them engaged, helps them develop new skills, and provides you with a collection of beautiful memories.

 

From photo treasure hunts to storytelling projects, there are endless ways to make photography fun for kids of all ages. Plus, it might just buy you a few minutes of peace and quiet.

 

Enjoy your time in nature and happy photographing!

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Boy makes a silly face - from an Edmonton Family Photographer

Paula Gerein Photography

Documentary photography for families and businesses of Edmonton and Central Alberta, Canada. Available for travel.

 

© Paula Gerein Photography 2024

All rights reserved.

June is Pride Month: Embracing Authenticity and Celebrating Unapologetic Love

A young girl and her mother walk over a Pride flag painted on a crosswalk in Edmonton during their documentary family photo session with Paula Gerein.
A young girl and her mother walk over a Pride flag painted on a crosswalk in Edmonton during their documentary family photo session with Paula Gerein.

June is Pride Month: Embracing Authenticity and Celebrating Unapologetic Love

June is here, and with it comes Pride Month — a time to celebrate the LGBTQIA2S+ community, embrace authenticity, and champion the freedom to be unapologetically yourself. This blog post will explore how members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community can feel comfortable and safe with me as your photographer, and why Pride Month is so much more than just a celebration of identities. It’s about visibility, love, and living your truth without fear or discrimination.

Summary:

Introduction: The Significance of Pride Month

 

June is Pride Month, a time dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQIA2S+ community and recognizing the struggles and triumphs of its members. It’s a month filled with vibrant parades, heartfelt stories, and powerful reminders that everyone deserves to live their truth. But beyond the festivities, Pride Month is about creating a world where authenticity, visibility, and love are not just accepted but celebrated.

 

  1. Creating a Safe and Welcoming Environment

 

As a documentary photographer, my primary goal is to ensure that every client feels comfortable and safe during their photo session. This is especially important for members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, who often face discrimination and prejudice. Here’s how I create a welcoming environment:

 

  • Open Communication: From the first contact, I ensure open and respectful communication. I take the time to understand your needs and preferences, ensuring that every aspect of the session aligns with your vision.
  • Inclusive Practices: I use inclusive language and respect your pronouns and identity. My studio is a judgment-free zone where everyone is encouraged to be themselves.
  • Comfort and Privacy: I prioritize your comfort and privacy, creating a space where you can express yourself freely without fear or hesitation.
  1. Embracing Authenticity: Be Unapologetically You

 

Pride Month is a reminder to embrace authenticity and be unapologetically yourself. Here are a few ways to capture your true self during your photo session:

 

  • Express Your Style: Whether it’s through fashion, makeup, or accessories, let your personal style shine. Wear what makes you feel confident and comfortable.
  • Show Your Interests: Incorporate elements that reflect your interests and passions. Whether it’s a musical instrument, a favourite book, or a hobby, these personal touches make your photos uniquely yours.
  • Zero Posing Policy: Forget about forced smiles and awkward poses. Let’s capture the real you — the laughter, the quiet moments, and everything in between.
Female couple snuggle - from an Edmonton Family Photographer
  1. Celebrating Visibility and Representation

 

Visibility and representation are crucial for the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Seeing diverse identities and stories reflected in media and art helps foster acceptance and understanding. During Pride Month, it’s especially important to highlight and celebrate these diverse experiences:

 

  • Showcasing Diverse Love Stories: Love comes in many forms, and each one is beautiful. Let’s document your unique love story, whether it’s a romantic relationship, a close friendship, or a strong family bond.
  • Highlighting Individual Journeys: Every person’s journey is unique. Whether you’re celebrating a personal milestone, coming out, or simply embracing who you are, let’s capture these important moments.
  • Community and Support: Pride is about community. Consider a group session with friends or chosen family to celebrate the support and love within your circle.
  1. The Freedom to Love Who You Love

 

Pride Month is a celebration of the freedom to love who you love without fear or discrimination. Here’s how we can capture this beautiful aspect of your life:

 

  • Couple Sessions: Whether you’re newly in love or have been together for years, let’s celebrate your relationship with a photo session that reflects your bond. From intimate moments to joyful laughter, let’s capture the essence of your love.
  • Family Sessions: Families come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s with children, pets, or chosen family, let’s document the love and connection that make your family unique.
  • Self-Love: Sometimes, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. A solo session can be a powerful way to celebrate self-love and acceptance.
A grandma joins her family in Canmore and sleds down a large hill in the mountains laughing, during her extended family documentary photo session with Paula Gerein Photography
  1. Tips for a Memorable Pride Month Photo Session

 

To make the most of your Pride Month documentary family photo session, keep these tips in mind:

 

  • Choose Meaningful Locations: Select locations that hold significance to you. Whether it’s a favourite park, a community space, or your own home, the right setting can enhance the emotional impact of your photos.
  • Incorporate Pride Elements: Bring pride flags, rainbow accessories, or any symbols that represent your identity and journey. These elements add a celebratory and personal touch to your photos.
  • Be Yourself: The most beautiful photos are the ones where you’re authentically you. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine and have fun during the session.
  • Celebrate with Loved Ones: Consider including friends, family, or your partner in the session. Celebrating Pride together can create powerful and heartwarming images.

Conclusion: Join the Celebration

 

Pride Month is a time to celebrate the LGBTQIA2S+ community and embrace authenticity, visibility, and love. It’s a reminder that everyone deserves to live their truth without fear or discrimination. As a photographer, I’m committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment where you can express yourself freely and celebrate your unique journey.

 

Book Your Pride Month Session Today

 

Ready to celebrate Pride Month with a photo session that captures your authentic self? Don’t wait! Book your family photo session today and let’s create beautiful, lasting memories together. Visit my website here to schedule your session and learn more about session options. Let’s celebrate your story and the vibrant spirit of Pride Month.

 

Happy Pride Month, and remember – you are perfect just the way you are. Celebrate it!

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Boy makes a silly face - from an Edmonton Family Photographer

Paula Gerein Photography

Documentary photography for families and businesses of Edmonton and Central Alberta, Canada. Available for travel.

 

© Paula Gerein Photography 2024

All rights reserved.

Ideas for a Summer Documentary Family Photo Session

boy runs smiling around merry-go-round
boy runs smiling around merry-go-round

Ideas for a Summer Documentary Family Photo Session

Summer is the perfect time for a documentary family photo session. With long days, beautiful weather, and everyone in a relaxed mood, you can capture genuine, heartfelt moments when everyone is having those “this is the best day ever” kind of days. Whether you’re looking to freeze a day at the park or an evening barbecue, this blog post will guide you through some fantastic ideas for a summer photo session that will resonate with your family and make for timeless memories.

 

Summary:

 

Introduction: The Magic of Summer Photo Sessions

  1. Embrace the Great Outdoors
  2. Capture a Day in the Life
  3. Family Traditions and Activities
  4. Seasonal Settings and Themes
  5. Spontaneous Moments and Candid Shots
  6. Incorporate Pets and Extended Family
  7. Tips for a Successful Summer Photo Session

Conclusion: Make Your Summer Memories Last

Introduction: The Magic of Summer Photo Sessions

 

Summer brings a special kind of magic. The warm sunlight, vibrant nature, and laid-back vibes create the perfect setting for capturing your family’s story. As someone who loves documenting real-life moments, I’ve found that summer photo sessions often yield the most authentic and cherished images. Let’s dive into some creative ideas that will help you make the most of your summer documentary family photo session.

  1. Embrace the Great Outdoors

One of the best parts of summer is the ability to spend time outside. From parks and beaches to forests and lakes, Edmonton and central Alberta are brimming with picturesque locations. Here are some outdoor ideas:

 

  • Picnic in the Park: Set up a blanket, bring some snacks, and enjoy a leisurely afternoon in a local park. Capture the joy of your family playing games, eating together, and simply enjoying each other’s company. Don’t forget to document the inevitable moment when someone spills juice all over the picnic blanket. Classic.

 

  • Beach Day: Head to a nearby lake for a fun-filled day of swimming, sandcastle building, and sunbathing. The candid moments of kids splashing in the water and parents relaxing on the shore make for beautiful, natural photos. Plus, nothing says “perfect family moment” like trying to get sand out of everyone’s swimsuits.

 

Hiking Adventure: Explore the stunning trails around Edmonton. Document your family’s adventure as you hike through lush forests, stop for scenic views, and enjoy the beauty of nature. And by “enjoy,” I mean “listen to the kids complain about the uphill climb and the mosquitoes.” Ah, nature.

sisters laughing and playing in lake water by paula gerein photography
  1. Capture a Day in the Life

Documentary photography is all about telling a story. Why not capture a typical summer day in your family’s life? This approach provides a genuine glimpse into your daily routines and interactions. Here’s how:

 

  • Morning Routine: Start the session with your family’s morning activities – making breakfast, getting ready, and those cozy moments over coffee. The chaos of everyone fighting for the bathroom is just part of the charm.

 

  • Afternoon Play: Move on to the children’s playtime, whether it’s at home or at a local playground. Capture the laughter, the games, and the little adventures they embark on. Also, the moment when someone inevitably cries because they lost at tag.

 

  • Evening Wind-Down: Finish with your evening rituals – family dinner, storytime, or an outdoor movie night in your backyard. These everyday moments are often the most precious and memorable. And let’s be honest, it’s always fun to see who falls asleep first during storytime (hint: it’s usually the parents).
Siblings swing in backyard - from an Edmonton Family Photographer
  1. Family Traditions and Activities

Highlighting your unique family traditions and activities can make your photo session truly special. Think about what your family loves to do together:

 

  • Gardening Together: If your family enjoys gardening, document the process of planting, watering, and harvesting. The interactions and teamwork involved can create a touching narrative. Plus, you’ll get to capture the kids’ faces when they realize they’ve been weeding for an hour.

 

  • Cooking and Baking: Capture the chaos and fun of cooking a meal together, maybe over a bonfire or skewers for the BBQ! From preparing ingredients to enjoying the final dish, these moments are filled with genuine expressions and interactions. And nothing beats the candid shots of flour fights and the look of disappointment when someone burns the dessert.

 

  • Sports and Hobbies: Whether it’s a game of soccer in the backyard, a bike ride through the neighborhood, or a shared hobby like painting or playing music, these activities can make for dynamic and engaging photos. Especially when Dad tries to show off his soccer skills and ends up tripping over the ball. Priceless.
Parents hugging on front porch - from an Edmonton Family Photographer
  1. Seasonal Settings and Themes

Leverage the beauty of the summer season by incorporating seasonal settings and themes into your photo session:

 

  • Sunflower Fields and Gardens: Visit local sunflower fields or botanical gardens. The vibrant colors and natural settings mean tones of things to look at. Just be prepared for the kids to complain about how “boring” flowers are after five minutes.

 

  • Summer Festivals: Document your family enjoying a local summer festival or fair. The lively atmosphere, colorful decorations, and joyful moments can add a unique flair to your photos. And let’s not forget the classic shot of everyone covered in sticky cotton candy and trying to win a giant stuffed animal.

 

  • Evening Bonfires: Capture the warmth and coziness of an evening bonfire. The glow of the fire, roasting marshmallows, and storytelling create an intimate and magical ambiance. Plus, the bonus of snapping that inevitable moment when someone sets their marshmallow on fire and panics.
  1. Spontaneous Moments and Candid Shots

Some of the best photos come from unplanned, spontaneous moments.

 

  • Unscripted Play: Let your children play freely without posing. These natural moments of joy, curiosity, and creativity make for heartfelt and genuine images. Plus, you’ll get to see what mischief they get into when they think no one’s watching.
  • Everyday Joy: Sometimes, the simplest moments – like a family walk, a shared ice cream, or a quiet cuddle – can be the most meaningful and beautiful. Especially the cuddle part, when everyone’s exhausted from all the fun and just happy to be together.
  1. Incorporate Pets and Extended Family

Pets are part of the family too, and including them in your photo session can add an extra layer of fun and warmth:

 

  • Pet-Friendly Activities: Spend some time playing with your pets, whether it’s a game of fetch, a walk in the park, or simply cuddling at home.
  • Extended Family Gatherings: If you’re having a family reunion or a get-together with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, capture these multi-generational interactions. They showcase the love and connection within your extended family and trust me, these moments really will be valuable as elders age and little ones haven’t yet formed memories.
Child sits in grass with chickens - from an Edmonton Family Photographer
  1. Tips for a Successful Summer Photo Session

To make the most of your summer photo session, keep these tips in mind:

 

  • Choose the Right Time: Simply schedule your session during the time of day your family enjoys most! Early birds or night owls, we can accommodate everyone.
  • Dress Comfortably: Opt for comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing that reflects you. Nothing more, nothing less. Coordinating and dressing up is absolutely unnecessary.
  • Stick Together: In any session we can always fly by the seat of our pants, but try to realize that if you are wanting photos of your family together, then you will need activities that keep you together.
  • Relax and Be Yourselves: The best photos come when you’re relaxed and enjoying the moment. Trust your photographer to capture the magic. And remember, it’s okay if things don’t go perfectly – sometimes the best memories come from the unexpected moments.

Conclusion: Make Your Summer Memories Last

 

A summer documentary family photo session is more than just taking pictures; it’s about capturing the essence of your family’s life and the unique moments that define it. From outdoor adventures and daily routines to special traditions and spontaneous joy, these ideas will help you create a timeless visual story of your family’s summer.

 

Book Your Session Today

 

Ready to capture your family’s summer story? Book your documentary family photo session today and let’s create beautiful, lasting memories together. Reach out by clicking “Get in Touch” below, or visit my website to schedule your session and learn more about the session offerings. I can’t wait to be part of your family’s journey.

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OH HEY!

Once a month I send a fun email with quirky musings and “insider” specials. Join us!

Boy makes a silly face - from an Edmonton Family Photographer

Paula Gerein Photography

Documentary photography for families and businesses of Edmonton and Central Alberta, Canada. Available for travel.

 

© Paula Gerein Photography 2024

All rights reserved.

Introducing Paula Gerein Photography and the Documentary Approach to Family Photography.

Family falls out of hammock
Family falls out of hammock

Introducing Paula Gerein Photography and the Documentary Approach to Family Photography

Hello, I’m Paula (she/her). I am so excited you are here and I cannot wait to introduce Documentary Family Photography and myself as a family photographer serving the Central Alberta, Canada region and beyond. Let’s get started.

 

Summary:

 

  1. Me, In a Nutshell
  2. How Documentary Family Photography is Different from Traditional Portraiture
  3. A Photographer with Experience
  4. Highest Respect for All Humans
  5. Is This for You?
  6. Client Review: “There is a brilliance in this way of documenting life”
  7. In Summary
  1. Me, in a nutshell

I have been described as someone with a quirky and somewhat dry sense of humour, a positive attitude, and a calming aura. After graduating university with a Commerce degree, my 20’s and 30’s were spent mostly in Europe chasing dreams and love, and that’s where I discovered that I wasn’t destined to climb the corporate ladder but I had an artist’s heart all along.

 

My very random facts

  • I love being outdoors and believe there is no such thing as bad weather, only badly dressed. Water and I are like magnets but I’m terrified of lake weeds and sea cucumbers.
  • Intimate live music performances send goosebumps down my spine and music plays 24/7 in my house. I’ve played the piano since I was 6 and my current favourite songs to play are cinematic moody ones.
  • I’m married to a Dutchman and we have 2 daughters and 2 cats.
  • My culinary guilty pleasures are Mr. Noodles, ketchup slurped straight from the little takeout packs, and peanut butter by the spoonful. I also get pretty excited anytime I find popcorn, prosecco, and deep-fried pickles.
  • I have an ongoing street photography project of discarded banana peels I find laying around. As a kid I thought it was hilarious when cartoon characters would slip on peels in the street and I guess the fascination has continued.

2. How Documentary Family Photography is Different from Traditional Portraiture

 

Remember Sears Portraits?

 

From the time I was little, posed family photography never really spoke to me. I remember my mom dressing up my sisters and I to go do our annual portrait at Sears and it was always a painful process. I usually had to wear something I didn’t love but had to wear anyway because it matched my sisters’ outfits. We had to make sure to spill nothing on the way to the studio, not make each other mad enough that someone would cry and have puffy eyes, and then we had to smile and pretend we loved each other. Ok, deep down we actually did love each other, but we were the classic, “best of friends, worst of enemies” and I didn’t want to have to unnaturally put my hand on my sister’s shoulder and tilt my head, attempting to look like perfect little angels. 

 

This is what I remember from those posed sessions – they were fake, they weren’t fun, and while they created a trail of family portraits I enjoy having to mark how we changed over the years, they do nothing to inspire memories and emotions in me.

 

When I first discovered the documentary family photography genre, my mind was blown. Whoa. This is family photography?! I was enthralled. I spent the following three days stuck behind my computer learning everything and anything I could about this approach to family photography that excited me. THIS. I thought. THIS is what family photography can and should be.

 

I want photographs that burst with expression of all the emotions and not just big cheesy smiles. I want to photograph a laugh as it explodes out of your mouth, coming straight from your belly. I want to photograph looks of disgust at poopy, overflowing diapers or from a child being told to eat their steamed broccoli for supper. I want to photograph tears of disappointment and frustration, from emotionally exhausted parents, toddlers, and teens. I want to photograph the way two bodies in love completely melt into each other when they embrace. I want it ALL.

 

All of this life, this beautifully, messy, perfectly imperfect life. THIS is what we can capture together with documentary family photo sessions.

sisters laughing and playing in lake water by paula gerein photography

3. A Photographer with Experience

 

Since that magical time of discovery, I’ve gone on to do over 125 documentary family photo sessions directly for families and also for non-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Kids with Cancer Society, and others.

 

Family photo sessions have covered life in the city, on the farm, camping in the mountains, vacationing at the lake. I’ve photographed newborns, those nearing end-of-life, extended family reunions and weekends together, teens who let their parents hang out with them, wild and crazy little ones, tame and tired not-so-little ones. Variety is the spice of life. At the end of the day, we are documenting life and whether there is a special purpose for hiring a photographer on a special day, or whether you want a photographer to help create photographs as family mementos, there is space for it all.

 

So many beautiful families; so many life moments

Parents hugging on front porch - from an Edmonton Family Photographer

4. Highest Respect for All Humans

 

I work very hard to teach my kids to have the highest respect for all humans. I firmly believe everyone(!) deserves respect regardless of their ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, social status, political leanings, or opinion. A kind smile and a touch of understanding can go a long way, for you have no idea of the path the stranger next to you is navigating. Some might call this a diversity and inclusion statement, but I like to say that no matter who you are, you’ve got a safe place with me.

5. Is This for You?

 

If you’ve found your way here, then maybe you’re like me and documentary family photography was the thing you didn’t know you were looking for until you found it.

 

There could be a lot of reasons why someone is attracted to this genre of family photography:

 

  • You’re a sentimental kind of person who feels like you’ve won the lottery of life. You finish the day whispering to yourself, “How did I get so lucky?”, and you want photographs which will always bring you back to this moment in time.

Or…

 

  • You’re someone who greets life with bandaids, dirty fingernails, and a fabulous sense of humour and recognize that there is zero need to impersonate perfection.

Or…

 

  • Maybe your crew is a little wild and the idea of attempting a posed family portrait equates to the thought of fingernails running down a blackboard. You just want to have photos of your family while you are wild and free and having fun.

Or…

 

  • You’re an art lover who wants something beautiful and unique to only you. Photographs that are more art than snapshot; photographs that pull you in.
A girl swings outside on a beautiful summer day

6. Client Review: “There is a brilliance in this way of documenting life”

 

From Nancy, who lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her two teens:

 

The photographs Paula took of our family captured so many aspects of our daily life that just don’t get documented… knowing glances, moments of affection, unexpected hilarity, and the ‘just being’. Having these photos that remind me of what life ‘feels like’ is an incredible keepsake. 

 

Life is full and busy and we move from one thing to the next, often without appreciating or even noticing the myriad of special things that happen in any given day. The time spent with Paula gave us an opportunity to slow down and appreciate those things and the photographs will forever serve as an incredible reminder.

 

There is a brilliance in this way of documenting life. It was special for our family but it has also been lovely to share the photos with other people in our lives, welcoming them into our everyday. It is a wonderful thing to be seen.

7. In Summary

 

For me, photography is a form of time travel, bringing stories and loved ones vividly back to life, making me smile with appreciation of the experiences I’ve had and inspired for things yet to come. This is what I want my photography to give to you.

 

Edmonton, Canada is where I have built my home and business yet wanderlust still runs strongly through my veins and I will eagerly go anywhere.

 

Reach out anytime if you would like to talk. I would love to hear from you!

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Boy makes a silly face - from an Edmonton Family Photographer

Paula Gerein Photography

Documentary photography for families and businesses of Edmonton and Central Alberta, Canada. Available for travel.

 

© Paula Gerein Photography 2024

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