Laura Griffin Documentary Family Photographer Ireland, 

If you’ve been thinking about booking a documentary family photography session but feel there is something holding you back, that is completely normal. Maybe you’ve never had professional family photos taken before and are a bit hesitant. Or maybe you’ve had traditional family photos taken but you are new to this real-life photography style.

Here are 6 common worries that can keep parents from booking a session and hopefully I’ll be able to alleviate some of them for you!

I feel awkward in front of a camera.” 

I completely get it.

Having a camera pointed at you can make many of us feel self-conscious. The beauty of a documentary family photo session is that you’ll never be asked to look, stand or act a specific way. It is all about capturing natural, organic moments as they unfold.

All you have to do is just be you.

I know this is easier said than done when a stranger with a camera is in your space, which is why my sessions last a minimum of 2 hours. I think it is important to make time at the beginning of the session for all of us to get to know each other and give us time to find our flow.

Dad smiling
A boys long shadow from a doorway
I’m a private person and don’t want these shared online.”

If you don’t want your images shared publicly online, I will fully respect your privacy. These images are created for your family, not anyone else.

At the end of the day you get to choose how much or how little you want friends, extended family members or your wider community to see.

There are often images from my sessions that stir an emotion or reaction in me, and those are the ones that I love to publicly share with others. When others see these everyday family moments of connection, love and laughter in your life, I hope they can start seeing more of them in theirs.

But I will never share any image without your permission. Once you’ve had a chance to view your private online gallery, you can let me know if you’d prefer to keep them private or in what ways they can publicly be shared by me.

I already take loads of photos of my kids on my phone.”

Maybe you already have hundreds (or maybe thousands…) of images of your kids on your phone or in the cloud. I can see why you might be wondering why you would want or need more!

If you are currently the designated family photographer, this is a chance for you to take a break. Rather than you having to run around and gather everyone or figure out what moments you want to capture, I’ll do the running around and the figuring for you. This is also a way to make sure you are in the frame and living in the moment.

As a professional photographer, I’m always considering where the light is, anticipating movement, deciding on composition and referring to a mental list of shots I want to capture. You can relax knowing that you have someone who has the creative vision and technical knowledge to capture moments that tell a story. Your story.

Toddler drinking milk and eating at the table.
Shadow of a girl dancing in a dress
We are rather boring and there isn’t much to photograph.”

You probably have family routines that you do week after week, month after month that may seem rather mundane. Why would you book a professional photographer to document this for 2, let alone 4 hours?! I believe there are many beautiful and visually interesting moments that are constantly happening in these seemingly mundane routines. It just can be hard to see them when you are in the thick of it and aren’t looking for them so I’m there to show them to you.

There is no way my kid(s) will behave for this long.”

I want to start by saying I never want you to feel like you are being judged by me. Every family’s rules, values, parenting styles are unique and I respect that.

My sessions can be relatively long so you might be worried your kids might start misbehaving. Tantrums, stomping, tears. I’m good with all of that.

Kids are unpredictable and have their own unique personalities and ways of expressing their ups and downs. I love documenting your reality in whatever shape or mood that takes. If there is a complete meltdown, I’ll probably be photographing it (unless of course I’m signaled otherwise).

Why do I do this? Because memories fade and maybe, who knows, you might even miss these mischievous and more trying moments.

I want to capture these memories so that you can look back on them when life is calmer, showing the ups and downs of this stage of your life and all the emotions it was filled with.

Dog in a corner surrounded by kids
Mom and daughter smiling at each other
 “I don’t like how I look in photos.

I have definitely struggled with this. When you are taking your own images you can easily delete ones you don’t like, but giving someone else that control can be hard to do. These sessions involve you trusting me. While I won’t pose or direct you in any way, I’ll be looking for natural flattering compositions. I’ve got you. 

But it is important to remember that these images aren’t just for you. 

“One day, all your children will have is a picture of you. Make sure you’re in them. No matter how you feel about your appearance, what your body looks like, what your hair or makeup looks like-they won’t care. All they will see is you, and that is what matters.”

-Suzi Bird

I understand that booking a documentary family photo session can be a big decision that comes with its list of hesitations. I hope I was able to alleviate some of these worries for you! If you have any more, feel free to get in touch and discuss any questions you may have. 


Laura Griffin is a documentary family photographer and filmmaker based in Ireland. Feel free to browse more of her photography and film work.