When Nikki of Olive Shoot Photography and I scheduled a session together, I honestly wasn’t sure what to think of an at-home family photo session. I had seen her work and loved the emotion and moments captured in her photos, but we had only ever done family photos that were more staged so I was used to that format (and those sessions can be so stressful!)
Nikki told me she would come over for a few hours and document our day as a family. I remember messaging her that we are “pretty boring” when we’re at home, but I think you can see by these photos that the everyday moments though common, are absolutely the opposite of boring when they’re captured in the moment, by a talented photographer.
It’s easy to take our day-to-day routines for granted, but these photos truly gave me a new perspective. It’s these everyday moments that I’ll most cherish. These photos remind me of little things that make this age so special for each child – Lincoln’s obsession with reading books, Harper’s love of jumping on her bed, the kid’s favorite playroom activities…
Posed family portraits are also beautiful, but what these images convey is different. I seriously welled up and cried when Nikki came over to show us our fully edited session on our big TV in our playroom. I was just totally taken aback by how beautifully she captured our day as a family. There was no posing, no perfect smiles, messy rooms and faces…but it was our day, and it was beautiful beyond words.
You can see Nikki’s blog post about our session here for even more photos that aren’t in this post, and don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of this post to view a video of our session. I’m also including room sources/paint colors at the bottom of this post.
Nikki started shooting as soon as she arrived when I was still wrangling Lincoln into his clothes since he had just woken up from his afternoon nap. He loves to climb on me like a little monkey and now I have that captured forever. Then, we baked some chocolate chip cookies, because, yum!
Nikki brought some gifts for the kids and the resulting shot is seriously so beautiful. I love how they’re each invested in their own toy, but sharing the same space.
As we waited for the cookies to bake, we headed upstairs with the kids because Harper insisted she wanted to show Nikki her room. Lots of play, cuddling and nail-painting ensued.
Then, we headed downstairs to check out our cookies and I made Harper an ice cream cookie sandwich which was, as you can see, very well received.
No day at our home is complete without spending time in our playroom, so we headed up there to let the kids play off the cookie sugar rush…
Then, we did our bath time routine and I couldn’t resist sharing this sweet photo…
I’m just so thrilled with these photos and can’t believe I hesitated for even a second about them! It was so easy and natural for us. No worrying about the kids smiling or about our clothes and hair looking perfect. It was just us, as a family, doing the everyday things we enjoy. Something else I love about this session is that it documents us in this home. As you know, we love to move (okay, maybe just me, haha), so I’m so glad to have photos of our family in this home and wish I would have done this in our last one where we brought Harper home.
I asked Nikki some questions about what inspired her to start doing this documentary-style photography, and here’s what she said:
What inspired you to switch from portrait photography to this documentary style format?
In my portrait photography business, I would always talk about how I was capturing life and preserving memories. The truth is though, the only memory I was capturing was their physical appearance. I wasn’t capturing true emotions, interactions, or even memories other than having someone they hardly knew telling them where to stand, when to look at the camera and when to look at each other. My photos were lacking that connection, and after being introduced to the work of Kirsten Lewis by a fellow photographer, I knew this was the direction I wanted and needed to go. Not just for my own fulfillment, but for the interest of those who trusted me to provide them with meaningful photographs!
What do you enjoy about capturing the everyday moments?
Oh, there’s so much! I personally want to remember as many details of my babies throughout the years. Just about every momma does. The way they look up at me, the snuggles, the silliness, how they fit in my lap, or how they run away when I’m trying to get them ready to leave the house. These are the exact type of moments that I find so important and valuable to parents and children alike. Parents need photos of their babies, and just as importantly, the babies need photos of their mom and dad!
Why should families consider doing a session like this?
This type of session is beyond priceless. To be able to see just how your family was from year to year. To see the growth in each child or parent. Not only in appearance, but in favorite toys, hobbies and interests as well. The things they enjoyed, and the things your entire family enjoyed doing together. Family traditions or just every day interactions, your wedding day isn’t the only day that should be documented.
How do you balance work and motherhood?
It’s a struggle, there’s no denying that. My children are home with me all day every day, so there’s a lot of very late nights after the kids go to bed, and struggling to find energy to get through the next day. The interruptions are stressful, but those are the moments that I have to stop to remind myself that I’m doing this for them. My first born, Olivia, is where the name of my company originated from, after all, so I would be remised if she or her baby brother took a backseat to my business. I have scheduled times during the day that are set aside for them, and others that are dedicated to work. Sometimes the schedule changes, and I’ve learned (or am still learning) that it’s ok if it does. I do feel that it’s so important for them to see the discipline that it takes to own and run a business, and I love when my daughter asks me if I’m going to work. It’s even better when she asks if I’m going to take pictures, and asks to take them herself! That, to me, is priceless!
Main living spaces: “First Star” by Sherwin Williams
Harper’s room: “Irish Mint” by Benjamin Moore
R O O M D E T A I L S & F U R N I T U R E
L I V I NG
Sofa: Chic Warehouse
Spindle accent chairs
Leopard pillows: Etsy
Pom Pom blanket: Here
Bamboo sideboard: Ballard Designs
Ginger jars: here, here, here, here, here and here
Leopard blanket: Barefoot Dreams
Pom pillow: Nordstrom
Please let me know if I missed any sources you’re looking for!
FTC disclaimer: I received this session in exchange for a blog post sharing honest thoughts about our photos and the experience.