Why I Don't Believe in Posing // Lifestyle Photography // Family Photography >> Chicago Family Photography

My “Why” for shooting Lifestyle + My Own Documentary Session

The first thing you should know about me is that I believe that printed photos are POWERFUL. I believe that they should be seen and enjoyed. They should be part of the family. I can remember with perfect clarity the photos that hung on the walls of my parents’ and grandparents’ homes when I was a child. Even now, decades later, those images remain with me, like an old friend. They were our school portraits, my dance portraits, the occasional family pictures that my parents splurged on, and the milestones from my dad’s childhood memorialized in the hallway.

And then there was my favorite: a giant (16 x 20 perhaps?) print hanging in the family room of my grandparents’ house, ostentatiously and incongruously framed in gold. The subject was my grandfather, making his classic grump face and defiantly sticking out his tongue, larger than life. If you knew my grandpa, you’d know that this photo was HIM. His silliness, his mostly faux gruffness, his propensity for outlandish expressions, how he’d do anything to make us smile. This photo captured it all.

It doesn’t even matter that it wasn’t a technically great photo. In all honesty, the lighting was terrible. What DOES matter is that the photo captured a genuine moment. More than that, it captured the essence of him. Even now, more than 20 years after his passing, I can recall every detail about that photo. I can hear his laughter. I can feel his hug.

These are the photos I want for my family, which is why I had my own documentary session done near the end of my second pregnancy last spring . I want my kids to be surrounded by our moments, to see themselves the way I see them, to see all the things that make us US. I want to freeze time and remember how my daughter threw her head back and laughed with abandon, how she wore nothing but the same three dresses over and over and over again for months, and how she never met a piece of furniture she couldn’t launch herself off of.

And these are the photos I want for your family, too. Because when our kids are grown and have children of their own, these are the photos they will cherish.

Photos by LEL Photography.

Carrie Olinger