What are Storytelling and Documentary Sessions?

What are Storytelling and Documentary Sessions? 

 Storytelling or Documentary Photography is when a photographer uses a
photojournalistic approach to capture real life images.
The story is then told through a series of images.

With this type of session, I will not pose you.  I will not use props.
I suggest that you wear clothes that are comfortable,
the kind of clothes that you wear every other day of the week.
Even if that means yoga pants or jeans and a t-shirt,
and the kids are in super hero capes and princess dresses with rain boots.
(which I think would be fabulous!)

To keep it natural, I will probably tell you to NOT look at the camera.
I might even tell you to pretend that I am not there.

I want to capture the real and honest moments of your every day real life.

With Documentary Sessions, there is no guidance by me, I will just be casually hanging out
and documenting your family interacting and capturing the story as it unfolds.

This kind of session is also called A Day in the Life Session.


When I photograph my own children, I simply document their every day lives.


I rarely pose my children.
I do not ask my children to look at or smile for the camera.
(that is mostly impossible with my three boys)
I do not dress my children in fancy or stylish clothes that they do not wear daily.
I simply capture and document what they are naturally doing, everyday.

I love to document them playing a game together, building a puzzle, painting pictures,
digging in the dirt, sword fighting, dressing up like super hero’s,
snowball fights, wrestling with Daddy, reading a favorite book, making cupcakes,
jumping on the bed, bed time routines, school work, tree climbing and bike riding…

I like to tell a story with their photos, a story that captures the details of their everyday.

I kind of love these real life photos of my children more than a portrait with perfect smiles and fancy outfits.

lifestyle family photographer in Pittsburgh PA | Mary Beth Miller Photography

Allow me to document the beautiful moments of YOUR every day!

It is all about documenting your life and telling your family’s story.
I can capture a Saturday morning pancake breakfast.
Dad playing with the kids.
Mom reading them a book.
Building a blanket and couch pillow fort.
A fun family board game.
Babies bath time…

Those every day simple things that we may take for granted.

I even want to capture the moments where your toddler has a meltdown and needs a little cuddling from Mom.
Those messy real life moments of spilled milk, splattered paint and sticky maple syrup.
The images of your husband showing your son to tie his shoe or button his coat.
Moments of Mom feeding her new baby or feeding a messy 10 month old some baby food.

Those little moments that you will want to remember forever.
The natural interactions of you with your amazing family.

lifestyle family photographer in Pittsburgh PA | Mary Beth Miller Photography

In my opinion, that perfect location for this session is your home.
Our homes are filled with items that tell a story, these are the perfect real life props!

After shooting at your home we can even go play in the backyard or head to the playground or park.

lifestyle family photographer in Pittsburgh PA | Mary Beth Miller Photography

I know you are thinking,
“But my home does not look photo worthy or straight out of a catalog!”

Your life and home do not have to be picture perfect.

But I also totally understand!   My little old house is always under going some DIY project,
the light is not fantastic, there are always dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor,
scribbles on the wall….I lead a busy life with three active and creative boys!
But my house is also full of memories where my boys have been raised!
It is the perfect backdrop for this type of session!

And the focus is on you and your family, not your home.

A quick clean up is all that is needed in preparation for our session.
Please do not feel the deep need to deep clean and declutter your house!

But if you prefer, we can definitely meet at the zoo, a local museum,
or even an afternoon downtown or in your local little town.


I will simply be hanging out with you and your family and
you will be perfect just being you.

Our session will last around three hours but it will not feel like a long photo session.
It will be like any other fun and chaotic day hanging out with your family.

This can be for any family!
First time expecting parents,
Parents with a new baby.
Parents of 5 kids.
And I am happy to include the family pets!


lifestyle family photographer in Pittsburgh PA | Mary Beth Miller Photography

See my Storytelling gallery here!

I cherish these types of photographs that tell a story, more than any classic portrait.
These are the pictures that document the love, the beautiful chaos, the real life moments,
and the true love story in a family.   I want to tell YOUR family story.
Contact me today! 


Storytelling Sessions with Mary Beth Miller Photography

~All images by Mary Beth Miller Photography ~

Mary Beth Miller Photography specializes in Maternity, birth, lifestyle, Fresh 48, newborn,
family and child photography in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and surrounding

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  • Casey Rucinski

    PERFET! I have an awesome understanding of what storytelling sessions are, now. Also, the last house featured in your blog (at the bottom, here) is AMAZING. Is it an old building converted into apartments? Phenomenal space!ReplyCancel

  • Maura Mahoney Joyce

    What a great idea to include an album in the session fee. My kids love looking through our albums. :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Schwartz

    Absolutely gorgeous work. I too insist clients have albums. After all, the whole purpose of photography is having tangible items to pass down to our children!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda Casey Gibbs

    You capture the perfect story with your imagery! Great job!! <3ReplyCancel

  • Allison Craig

    I love the sweet little girl dressed as Wonder Woman. So sweet! Your work is beautiful and I love that it captures them just as they are-perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Connolly

    These images are amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Renee Leveille Bielby

    SO cool! love this so much!ReplyCancel

Mary Beth Miller Photography


Established in 2009
Family & Newborn Photographer serving the greater Pittsburgh area; Wexford, Mars, Cranberry Twp., and also serving Boardman, Poland, and Canfield, Ohio.

Mary Beth Miller Photography

best newborn photographers in Pittsburgh Expertise logo award

Established in 2009
Family & Newborn Photographer serving the greater Pittsburgh area; Wexford, Mars, Cranberry Twp., and also serving Boardman, Poland, and Canfield, Ohio.