Introducing Documentary Family Photo Sessions by Jonathan Desmond

Family photographs are important. They are a record of times gone by. As we grow from babies to children to teens to adults and beyond, things change—and we change. Usually the most vivid recollections of earlier days come from photographs.

I’ve always liked viewing my own family photographs, especially those of me or my family just being our selves. To me, these authentic, honest moments tell a truer story than if we were all just smiling for the camera.

While I appreciate the skill and talent it takes to create beautiful posed family portraits, my passion lies in documentary photography. I capture moments—whether at weddings, through my long-term Vancouver street-photography project, my Chinatown project, or family sessions—that are authentic, honest and beautiful.

Because I’m a story teller at heart, I’m delighted to introduce my new Long-Term Documentary Family Photo Sessions. Over the course of 12 months, I’ll visit your family three times (for about an hour each time) to document your family while eating dinner, playing games together, going to the park or even changing diapers on your new bundle of joy. After each session, you’ll receive prints of that session so you have a permanent keepsake. At the end of the three (3) sessions, I’ll create and design a storybook album that reflects a  year in your family life, told in  documentary fashion.

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Genuine Documentary Photographs

“I have always loved looking at Jon’s photos. He has a really special talent for capturing precious moments that I didn’t even know happened and makes them look extra beautiful with the way he incorporates natural lighting. His documentary style of photography makes every photo a genuine reflection of the event.

Jon also has a big heart and has kindly donated his time two years in a row to capture our charity walk for Save the Mothers. His photos were loved by everyone at the organization. The photos are beautiful and captured so much joy in all our participants.

Thanks Jon!”


The Long-Term Documentary Family Photo Session provides two things:

1)    A unique documentary approach to the usual family photographs. My guidance will be only to set up what the day will look like. After that, we let things flow. If the boys jump all over the bed spontaneously, I’ll capture it. If one starts to cry as a result, I’ll work to capture that moment you hug them. I believe life is real and your documentary family photographs should be, too.

2)    An aspect of time and change over the course of 12 months. During my Chinatown Project, I saw significant change even over the course of one year. By documenting your family in three (3) sessions over 12 months, we create an authentic record of your family’s life that captures the passage of time.


Long-term Documentary Family Photo Sessions: 

Three (3) – 1 hour Documentary Sessions taken over the course of 12 months and:
Includes a total of 120-240 4x6 prints (approximately 40-80 photos per session)
Includes a total of 120-240 edited digital files (approximately 40-80 photos per session)
Includes a Storybook Album – designed by Jonathan Desmond (after completing all three (3) sessions)

*Note: Must be within Vancouver, Tri-Cities, Fraser Valley or Lower Mainland. Feel free to send me a message if you are outside of these areas.

Single Documentary Family Photo Session

One (1) – One-hour Documentary Session
Includes 40-80 4x6 prints
Includes 40-80 edited digital files.


Do you provide any guidance or direction during the photo session?
Before each session, we discuss the activities for that day and what you have planned or what aspect of your family’s life you’d like to capture (for example: dinner time, playing in the yard, going to the park, etc.). I would then make some recommendations for lighting and other possible suggestions. On the day of, I may direct you from location to location but that’s about it. Otherwise, the intent is to have it so that you live life and I document it without interference. 

How is this different from any other family photo session?
I approach your family session like the newsworthy event that it is, by documenting it like a photojournalist. Beyond candids, I anticipate scenes and am constantly looking for special moments. I don’t construct images by posing you or your family. This ensures that your prints and storybook album will be as unique and wonderful as you and your family are.