On a sunny morning, I joined the Gemmel family in their Milwaukee-area home to document a day in their life. Documentary family photography allowed me to capture all of the small moments that are so full of magic. With their small children playing around the house, the Gemmel family’s at-home session featured plenty of laughter and loving moments. This session is so moving because it feels true to this family’s life and the love that fills their days.
When Anneabel and Derek Gemmel welcomed me into their home, I was immediately struck by all the bright sunlight and simple but lovely decor. Anneabel does illustrative graphic design, and Derek is a woodworker. This creative couple definitely has eyes for making spaces beautiful and welcoming! After doing various home improvement projects, they even decided to restore a vintage Airstream-style camper.
We decided that fully digital documentary family photography was the best fit for this session. These images capture life at home. They’re cozy and full of authentic moments. The Gemmel family read books, shared snacks, and played together. Photos like these feel like an experience. You see beyond the way things look to the sweet moments of connection.
The Gemmel children’s personalities really shine through in this documentary family photography. Goldie, the older of the two, is so full of energy. I love that these photos show her movement and joy in the way she balances on Derek’s hands and leans over Anneabel’s arms in laughter. Rory always finds his way to the center of whatever is going on too. The snacktime photos give a look into Rory and Goldie’s relationship. Rory clearly loves to make Goldie laugh.
The in-between moments make documentary family photography at home so special. They feel like a true reflection of the love at the center of most of our days. At home sessions allow children to be in their element in the place they feel safest and happiest. The Gemmel family will be able to look at these photos years from now and think, “This is what life was really like.”
In-home sessions are a great way to document where you’re living and what it looks like. Just as children change over the years, our homes do too. When Instagram makes us feel a constant need to improve things, documentary family photography is a great reminder that there’s something beautiful and worth remembering about every iteration of your home.
There are so many styles of family photography, but I’ve always found so much meaning in documentary family photography. All of the photos are candid and unposed. Every laugh is real. These are the smiles Derek and Anneabel will remember as Rory and Goldie grow.
Sometimes people think of photography as something reserved for special occasions. Photos of weddings and graduations are important, but the small everyday moments are just as worthy of being documented. After all, the little moments add up to the big moments.
This session captured a slice of time so that the Gemmel family can go back to it and feel nostalgic. The kids jumped on their beds and played silly games. They asked for snacks and shared quiet interactions. Rory looks so thrilled to sit on the kitchen counter with his sister. These everyday moments show the tenderness and joy that fills their home.
It’s cliché but true that children change so fast. For Derek and Anneabel to have images of their children snuggled up with a book and draped laughing across their laps is invaluable. The photos taken looking through the front door remind me that documentary family photography is so much more intimate than any posed portraits could be.
As a photographer, I’m able to appreciate the best parts of where my clients are. I’m not caught up in the day to day of their lives, so it’s easier for me to highlight the most precious things that are present. Having family photography done at home can be like a gratitude session. It reminds you of all the small things that you’re grateful to have.
Would you like me to document the photo-worthy everyday moments in your family’s life? Let’s connect!