And the winners are...

Before I announce the winners, I want to thank everyone who took time out to send in an application! I really appreciate all of the thoughtful and heartfelt responses. It's more than I could have ever hoped for. 

I really hope this type of documentary session can help empower moms and help raise confidence levels. Each family is unique and quirky... and that's not a bad thing. That's a good thing. I want these pictures to be able to show off the crazy, show off the madness, show off the loveliness, and show off the essence of your family.

So often, with social media, only the best pictures are shown. Sometimes the worst pictures- but rarely anything in-between. There's so much that you do on a daily basis, and it's important too. You are important too. Moms tend to always put themselves at the end of the list, or they feel guilt for things they should've done or things they wanted to do but ran out of time, energy, money, etc. Moms work from sun up until sun down, and are on call all night long!! Sometimes we deserve a little recognition and a little pat on the back! 

What started off as a simple "project 10" has turned into The Mom Movement, which is so much more. I hope that you all follow along with the project and get a glimpse of life in other families, in other homes. I hope you also consider having your own documentary session- [whether you have me take the pictures, or a different family documentary photographer]. I think you deserve this! You deserve to get in front of the camera! You deserve to showcase your real life. Falls, spills, cries, laughs, messes, mud, sadness, happiness, hugs, everything. Time goes by so fast. 

So, without further ado, here are the winners!

  • Alison Imhoff
  • Kelly Ackley
  • Jeanette Gray
  • Brooke Fisher
  • Bridget Greene
  • Kathleen Vaughn
  • Megan Smith
  • Trish Kuebel
  • Christin Orth
  • Stephanie Stefanoni
  • Kristen Bard

 

Congratulations to the winners! If your name is on the list, click here!

If you did not win a session, but want to be updated with session logistics (like pricing, packages, etc.) when I'm done with the free sessions and start taking paid clients, click here

Thanks again!!

- Stefanie

The Mom Movement

What is The Mom Movement, anyway?

A few weeks ago, I had a semi-revelation while out to eat with my family. I saw another family sitting in the booth next to us, having a seemingly normal outing. The mom was cutting up food for an older son, while the dad was tossing a sweet little baby girl up in the air and planting raspberries on her belly. She laughed and laughed so hard while looking right into his eyes! No one saw the moment but me. Mom was busy tending to their other child, and the other patrons of the restaurant were busy checking their phones, or talking amongst one another. I'm sure the mom has seen this many other times, but right there, right then, no one saw but me. And that one little moment wasn't lost. The whole setting was perfect, including mom and the older son who were snuggled together while she was cutting the meat on his plate. I thought to myself, I wish I had my camera. I'm sure the mom would really like to have this picture from my viewpoint. I wish she could see what I could see.

**Ding Ding Ding** This is perfect. I'm a photographer. Families could benefit from a picture of this. What should I do? [searches the internet for advice I couldn't seem to find]. I'll start a project where I gift 10 sessions to different families to showcase their lives. If it turns out well, maybe people will hire me to do this. Maybe they will see the reasoning behind my mini-revelation the other day at lunch.

I create a form, and a small "about-me" for the project, and turn to social media where I let people know they can apply. I call it Project 10. One by one applications start to pour in. I had 29 entries when I checked just a few hours after the project was released. I read all of the 29 entries, and all but one were mom's who had the same thought I had. We want to be remembered, but we also want to remember ourselves and our families in this stage of our life. The project kind of changed it's own path, and I realized this isn't Project 10. This is The Mom Movement.

The entries were wonderful, eye-opening, and awesome. The mom's all said the same things, but in different words. They just want to remember. They all feel a little under appreciated, and over worked all while LOVING their lives. They know the wild craziness in their house will soon be still. Chunky little dimply baby hands clenching your shirt will turn into young boy hands sooner than you know it. Giggles, hugs, messes and meltdowns. All remembered. Memories preserved.

Now, it's week later, at the closing of the entries I have 190 applicants! WOW!! This is more than I could have ever hoped for. One day I'll make a blog, or post a bunch of the entries. They are secrets, and confessions, almost begging to be released. [You can go view some on my facebook page. *shameless plug* you can "like" it while you are there! ;)]

I wrote this in another blog post, but I want to talk about it again. My ultimate goal for these sessions is to create a photo album filled with pictures from the session for you. The outside spine of the book will feature the year. So once a year your family has a documentary session done, and you get a new album. After a few years you will have 2018, 2019, 2020, etc. all on the shelf to look back through. Your family will grow, your hair style will change, your love will remain. 

I hope you are as excited as I am about this new endeavor! <3

 

What is Documentary Family Photography?

What is Documentary Family Photography?

Documentary Family Photography is photojournalism for families. No matching clothes, no awkward poses, no fake smiles, no mom's and dad's yelling at kids to give fake smiles. :)

Documentary Family Photography is visual story-telling. Telling the story of your real life. Helping you to remember what your life is actually like. How your kid really laughs, (or pouts). How your husband holds your baby up in the air and gets deep belly laughs from the baby. How your child strokes and snuggles with your hair when you sit together to read a book. All of the stuff that you do every. single. day, but no one is there to take pictures of. Times where you wish you could get a photo of the whole family sitting on the floor laughing at a board game- but obviously the fly on the wall doesn't have a camera! 

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What happens during a Documentary Session?

I come to your house, or a familiar and special place for your family. What if you still want the traditional old-fashioned family photos? During the first 10-15 minutes of your session, we will take a few loosely posed pictures of your family. The rest of the session time will be documenting your real life. I'll get up close and personal with your and your family, and I'll blend in like I'm an old friend of the family. I'll respect your boundaries, but still capture intimate, and quiet moments. 

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At home, we don't really DO anything. Will the session be boring?

I guarantee you do more at home than you think you do! Do you ever sit at home with your kids and think about how bored you are? Probably not! And if you do, maybe we need to trade houses! ;) The most ordinary moments create the best pictures. Reading books, cooking dinner, paying barbies or monster trucks are all great family moments that you probably do every day, but never think of them as anything special. They are special though. Each ordinary moment in your child's life sets them up for the days and years ahead. What you think as ordinary, they think as special. Outdoor activities are great also. Riding bikes, catching butterflies, planting a garden and playing on the swing-set are all great things for families to do together. When we schedule your session we can talk about activities for your family, and I can throw out other ideas if you are still feeling stuck. We also don't have to "plan" anything. I can just come to your house and see where the session takes us. 

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What will I do with all of these candid images?

My goal for this type of session is for you to have an album with all of your images. I picture each album having the date or year on the spine, sitting on your bookshelf in chronological order. Once or twice a year you will contact me for a session, and each session will end up on your bookshelf for years to come. Of course, you can pick a few of your favorites to put on your wall- but my main goal is to have a tangible memory of that day. It will be so fun to see what you were doing in April 2018 vs what you did in April 2019. Kids grow fast, but these memories will last. 

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I don't know any other photographer who does documentary sessions like this. Why do you love this type of session?

I love this kind of session because the WHOLE family is in the pictures. It's not just mom with the kids, or dad with the kids. It's the whole family interacting with eachother. The whole family together, just like the spend their days. It's awesome to remember your whole family in matching outfits, smiling at the camera. But it's even more awesome to see how your three rowdy kids eat their pancakes together in the morning. How you breathe in the smell of your new baby while you snuggle on the couch. How your husband plants a little kiss on your neck and you think no ones watching. Those small, little moments would be overlooked. Completely missed. Never documented. Not remembered. But you want to remember them. You want to remember the summer your kid learned how to ride a bike. The dirt on your kids faces when they explore in the woods. The way your children look at you when you bring a big glass of water outside to them on a hot summer day. 

The days are long, but the years are short. Don't blink. 

pylesvilledocumentaryphotography