Capturing the connection between mother and child


Technology has vastly changed the way we capture moments. From camera phones to selfie sticks to Instagram filters, memories can be made, uploaded, and, in Snapchat’s case, erased, in minutes.

While our dependence on technology isn’t always pretty, the digital age has allowed for the growth of a particular genre of photography – lifestyle – that is both candid and evocative.

Lifestyle is a style of photography that aims to document real-life events and moments in an authentic way. It sits at the intersection of documentary and portraiture. While subjects are never posed and expressions are candid, photographers do provide some level of instruction.

“Sometimes you’ll say ‘Come play over by this window because the light is good,’” says St. Albert-based lifestyle photographer Sara Jewell. “But it’s still showcasing real life.”

Prior to digital photography, families had very few options for photographing sitting- to preschool-age children. “If you look back there wasn’t a ton of photos done, other than if you went down to Sears,” says Dawn Weir, a St. Albert-based newborn and family photographer.

The cost of processing film made the type of candid photography seen today impossible. But with digital cameras, photographers have the ability to take hundreds of photos at no additional cost to them, allowing family photography to evolve past portraiture.

The digital age has impacted family photography in a different way as well.

“Everything is just so fast-paced. It’s so easy to forget how your life was because there is so much going on,” says Jewell. “These lifestyle sessions are a reminder of a reminder of how your life was.”

Lifestyle sessions hone in on the family and allow parents to slow down and cherish the time spent with their children.

Jewell’s Motherhood Remembered sessions are divided into two parts: the first part consists of a two-hour, in-home shoot meant to document everyday life, whether that’s playtime or making a pancake breakfast; the second part takes place outside in a park, field or urban setting. This one-hour shoot focuses on capturing the connection between mother and child.

Jewell loves shooting in-home sessions. Clients are relaxed, translating into very honest and authentic photos, which she prints to create a 40-plus photo album.

“As a mother you’re usually the one always behind the camera,” says Weir, who is offering special Celebrate Motherhood mini-sessions all month.

Her 20-minutes mini-sessions take place in an outdoor setting, where mom and child are encouraged to play, while Weir focuses on capturing that “pure look of love” that no selfie can adequately capture.

“One of the things that every mother really does want is photos with their children and to be able to document them growing up and to be able to provide that their kids,” she says.


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Michelle Ferguson