Tag Archives: documentary photography

A Documentary Family Photography Dream Client

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Do you hate forced poses and being told to say cheese? Do you have a kid who dislikes being directed or cannot sit still for a picture? Or do you loathe over-the-top photoshoots? Then you might be my dream documentary family photography client!


Capturing great photos often boils down to the client and the photographer sharing the same vision for the shoot. You should understand your photographer’s style and be able to trust him/her with the camera. This is why it’s crucial for me as a photographer and a businesswoman to define my dream client and explain my style.


My dream clients are those who like family traditions (so I can capture them), the ones who have crazy and wild kids, and those that love an adventure. I want to work with clients who prefer an honest and artful visual record of their lives. These are people who don’t like to have the perfect smile, the fake laughs, or the photoshopped look. People who don’t care about what others think as long as they are having fun.

They want to relax and enjoy the shoot without worrying about how their hair looks or if their make-up is still intact. Those that are not afraid to get messy; won’t cry foul when something doesn’t go as planned or won’t get mad when something tumbles or spills. My dream client loves details and wants to remember the moment for how they felt in it.

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Documentary Family Photography and Lifestyle Photography

My photography style is not for those who love getting their family dressed up and getting their portraits taken in a beautiful location. If this is what you want, then a lifestyle photography shoot might be more fitting for you. It’s also not for the people who have a hard time letting go or are not comfortable being themselves in front of the camera. And it is not for those who just want a quick session. If you want to get it done fast, then a portrait session at a studio may be more suitable for you. I think there is nothing wrong with these styles; they are just not what I do.


I am passionate about capturing real emotions, genuine connections, and authentic moments in life that might soon be forgotten. My style is not intrusive, and I want my clients to be at ease while taking their photographs. I don’t want to snap perfectly combed photos. Instead, I am drawn to the in-between moments, the raw feelings that can take us back to a specific place or emotion. It is more than just love, joy, and happiness. It can include chaos, tantrums, and even tears which are all part of life.

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Since I just let the moment evolve by itself, there is no posing or acting in front of the camera. All the emotions are natural. My mission is not to make you look your best or your prettiest but to make you remember your life as it is – the love, the fun, the chaos, the hard times, and the unique moments.

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So if you’re ready to embrace the beauty and the chaos through documentary family photography, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s have a chat!

I’m Ana Ruivo – an award-winning London family photographer. Since 2013 I have photographed hundreds of clients from all over the world, all the UK and the USA Spain, France, Portugal, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UAE and Hong Kong.

My view of documentary family photography is that it is unscripted, unposed, and records what happens naturally. I’ll come to your home, or meet you at the park or at brunch, wherever you choose, and just take photos as you and your family or friends interact just as you would on a day when a photographer was not present. I will not ask you to pose, sit still, “say cheese”, or pretend anything. There is no pretending, this is your life, documented. Let the kids be kids, Dad do his thing, and Mum just enjoy the experience.

I want these photos to capture the true essence of your family, your relationships, the stage of your life you are currently experiencing. I want it to be real, in all its tantrum-ing, messy, teary, silly, beautiful glory. I want to capture this chapter in your story so that you can look and remember exactly how it looked and felt at this very moment.

Your family has a story, many stories actually to tell, and I believe they should be preserved.

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    A day in the Life Heartwarming Family Photoshoot in Kensington

    On this dark and cold London day, Autumn looks so far away now, but this family photoshoot warms my heart.

    London-Family-Photoshoot-Kensington

    This is the year, more than any other before, we see how important are the moments with our family and close ones. The little moments in between in our daily lives, the closeness and connection with our children are one thing we sometimes forget to capture and it is the most important to remember.

    Check out other family photoshoot here.

    If you want to give a family photoshoot a try, or if you have any questions about these types of sessions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

    Family-London-Photoshoot-Children-Kids-Photographer

    I’m Ana Ruivo – an award-winning London family photographer. Since 2013 I have photographed hundreds of clients from all over the world, all the UK and the USA Spain, France, Portugal, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UAE and Hong Kong.

    My view of documentary family photography is that it is unscripted, unposed, and records what happens naturally. I’ll come to your home, or meet you at the park or at brunch, wherever you choose, and just take photos as you and your family or friends interact just as you would on a day when a photographer was not present. I will not ask you to pose, sit still, “say cheese”, or pretend anything. There is no pretending, this is your life, documented. Let the kids be kids, Dad do his thing, and Mum just enjoy the experience.

    I want these photos to capture the true essence of your family, your relationships, the stage of your life you are currently experiencing. I want it to be real, in all its tantrum-ing, messy, teary, silly, beautiful glory. I want to capture this chapter in your story so that you can look and remember exactly how it looked and felt at this very moment.

    Your family has a story, many stories actually to tell, and I believe they should be preserved.

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    • RacheleThese pictures are so beautiful that they really make me feel emotional. ReplyCancel

      • anaruivoAw I know! They are very special. xReplyCancel

    The difference between lifestyle and documentary photography

    Ever asked yourself what’s so different about these weird words – “Lifestyle photography” and “documentary photography?”

    How do you know what you want or what to ask a photographer when you’re looking to book a session? These terms are often used reciprocally because on a surface level; both are used to describe images that look relaxed and natural. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

    Let’s pull these terms apart and break down the difference between the two.

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    LIFESTYLE IS: Lifestyle sessions produce photos through orchestrated light, location, space, wardrobe, and engagement to capture a beautiful, candid moment. They allow families to look their best and demonstrate a family dynamic when they are their most happy and their most “together.”

    THE BIGGEST DIFFERENTIATING FACTOR TO LIFESTYLE PHOTOS IS THAT THEY DEMONSTRATE THAT THE PHOTOGRAPHER HAS GIVEN SOME DIRECTION ALONG THE WAY.

    They are not traditionally posed or placed, as in the studio experience of “stand here, tilt your chin a bit, dip your shoulder…” but subjects are guided merely into place and given prompts/direction to facilitate movement and interaction.
    One common misconception is that merely because a session takes place outside, it’s “lifestyle.” But it’s not a prerequisite to being outside – in fact, my newborn sessions are typically lifestyle in nature, but all take place in the home. It’s all about the casual approach and direction over posing.

    TO BE CLEAR, IT IS NOT THAT THE MOMENTS ARE FAKE BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT- A GOOD LIFESTYLE SESSION SHOWS PERSONALITY, CONNECTION, AND GENUINE EXPRESSION.

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    DOCUMENTARY IS: Rooted in the methods of photojournalism, documentary sessions produce photos with no photographer interference. Nothing is moved or touched in the scene, the subjects are not directed, the light not altered, and the post-production is minimal (no skin retouching, objects removed in photoshop, etc.).

    THE PHOTOGRAPHER FOCUSES SOLELY ON THE MOMENTS UNFOLDING AND CAPTURING THEM ARTISTICALLY BY USING ANGLES, COMPOSITION, AND FOCUS TO TELL A PARTICULAR STORY WITH DETAIL AND DEPTH.

    Day In The Life-London Family Documentary Photography-Ana Ruivo PhotographyDay In The Life-London Family Documentary Photography-Ana Ruivo PhotographyDay In The Life-London Family Documentary Photography-Ana Ruivo Photography

    Where objects may have been considered “clutter” and moved, or lightly considered too dark in a lifestyle session, an excellent documentary photographer includes and utilise these aspects in the frame intentionally because they add to the authentic story. These sessions focus on the emotion over appearance. They feature meaningful environments and details that often go overlooked but are iconic for documenting a time/place/or stage in life. The blankie before it is torn to shreds, the pancake recipe you used every Saturday morning, the way you made your coffee, tickled a child, the games you played and stores you visited.

    WHILE A SERIES OF ACTIVITIES IS  PLANNED, THE SUBJECTS AREN’T BEING DIRECTED IN ANY WAY TO ACHIEVE A PARTICULAR RESULT OR EMOTION.

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    THE VERDICT: Neither type is better than the other. I shoot for both and believe there is a place for both. It all depends on your goals for the images and personal preference. Often people assume they want a lifestyle session – it’s what we see all over Pinterest and what’s most popular right now for showing joy, laughter, happiness, and overall, just your family at their best in a particular stage of life (clean, smiling, happy!) Who doesn’t love that?! But I also believe that in 30 years when our kids are graduating, getting jobs,  moving on to start families of their own – they’ll long for images that show them the intricacies of their childhood. Pictures beyond the selfie or the obligatory first day of school on the front porch photo, but the kind that acts as a reminder of the reality that shaped them.

    Day In The Life-Newborn London Family Photography-Ana Ruivo PhotographyDay In The Life-Newborn London Family Photography-Ana Ruivo PhotographyDay In The Life-Newborn London Family Photography-Ana Ruivo PhotographyDay In The Life-Newborn London Family Photography-Ana Ruivo Photography

    WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK FROM A LIFESTYLE OR DOCUMENTARY SESSION?
    WHAT KINDS OF IMAGES DRAW YOU IN?

    If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of photo shoots, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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      Snapshots of our month – Winter Sun

      Wow, I can’t believe we are almost at the end of January, and I just finished to edit my Christmas pics =) As soon as I got back, it’s been non-stop with newborn photo shoots and birthday parties.

      We had a lovely break in Portugal to spend time with our family, a little bit of sunshine and a much-needed pause from social media.

      These are just some snap-shots of our holiday between the crispy sunny days by the sea and lovely warm winter days in Alentejo. If you pass in Evora city in Portugal, make a visit to Convento do Espinheiro hotel, visit the beautiful University of Evora and the Herdade do Esporao wine caves.

       


      And if it’s not too late…Happy New Year!

      =)

       

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        London Christening – Family Documentary Photography

        I had the opportunity to document this beautiful christening ceremony in the oldest church of London, St. Bartholomew the Great. Beautiful church with gorgeous light and where you can also admire a stunning and intriguing artwork from Damien Hirst.

        The ceremony finished with a lovely lunch at Club Gascon and the always amazing entertainment by Notorious Kids parties.

         

         

         

        If you have a life event coming that needs to be documented or if you have any questions about these types of sessions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

         

         

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