The Magic of Documentary Family Sessions


As an Ottawa family photographer, I often get asked about the difference between a family session and a documentary session, so I thought I’d write a blog post to explain.

My family sessions are usually done in a beautiful outdoor location in Ottawa, in the perfect light, and are special in their own right. They tend to be more posed and structured compared to a documentary session, and show the special connection and love of your family. They’re timeless, profiling each member of your family at their best, and ready to be framed and hung with pride. 

My documentary sessions offer the unique ability to provide an authentic view of the period of life you are in. These sessions can be done all year round, which as you can imagine in Ottawa, is ideal so you don’t freeze! I prepare for these sessions by chatting a bit with you about your family. We would then come up with 2 or 3 activities that are a common occurrence in your house and that you love to do together. Sometimes that’s reading books, playing blocks, baking, or having dance parties. I will then come to your home and remain behind the scenes in order to truly document what I’m seeing your family do. I will of course guide you and find the best lighting but the beauty of these sessions is the absolute authenticity of them. There is no need to clean your home, no need to dress up, you just need to be how you are every day. This way you can look back at these photos and remember what your children loved to play with at this time in their lives, their favourite books, their unique style, how your home looked at the time; it’s truly like taking a snapshot that will be part of your history. Documentary sessions are also usually a child’s preference because it keeps them in their home feeling comfortable and happy. My mom has so many photo albums of my siblings and me as kids and we love seeing the outfits we used to wear, our favourite activities at the time and even how much our parents’ home has changed. These photos bring up such a feeling of nostalgia and warmth and that is why these types of sessions are so special to me.

Whichever session suits your family best is up to you. As an Ottawa Family Photographer, my promise is to always capture the most special moments between a loving family. This is my passion! 

If you have any questions about please let me know.


          Love Gillian


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