I suppose that my road through photography to become a documentary family and birth photographer has started out in a sort of traditional manner. I took photography in highschool, and loved it. If I’m being honest I loved spending time in the darkroom not to develop my images, but to hang out with the cute boy I had a crush on that was in class with me:) After a couple of years of working with real film, I graduated from high school and didn’t pick up a DSLR until I was going to have my 3rd child. I know, it’s hard to believe that I am old enough to have worked with real film! My husband bought me my first DSLR, and I just kept practicing and reading. I probably spent as much time studying and practicing as it would have taken me to get a college degree.
Over the years I have wanted to find my “specialty”, the one thing that I really want to photograph more than anything. I’ve consistently come up frustrated, mainly because I think I love the technical and creative challenges that I am faced with photography. It’s been a learning process for me. I’ve realized that I don’t like doing posed newborn photos, real estate photos, product photos. I don’t mind doing lifestyle portraits, and will most likely keep shooting them at least for a while. But what I love more than anything are documentary family photos. It doesn’t matter if its a birth, newborn, day in the life, or family session….it’s what I am meant to do. Now, this genre isn’t always appreciated by others. But, I’ve spent so much time worrying about what others want, and now I just want to create my art. I believe that lifestyle or “posed” portraits are pretty, but real life moments are beautiful. When I look at documentary images I feel emotion, and honestly that doesn’t happen for me with any other type of photography.
I challenge you to rethink what you think of when you think family photo. Is it a portrait where everyone is looking perfect in a field of wheat? Or is it the way your little child holds your hand, or the first moment a mom sees her baby, or is it a photo of your kids being silly together. I think in the long run that moment images will be more valuable to you as a parent than the images that make your family look perfect. Nothing is better than real life! Take a look at some of the family documentary images I created below, and send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at www.christalhoughtelling.com if you are interested in having a session with me!
Documentary Family and Birth photographer covering Alaska, Anchorage, Wasilla, Palmer, Eagle River, Girdwood, Hawaii