The good thing about documentary-style photography is that you get an authentic representation of your family. That particular way your little one latches onto your arm, or that mischievous, impish little grin. Sometimes, gestures and expressions fade and change and we forget about the way our little one used to look, the way that we interacted with them.
Not that there is anything wrong with posey set-up style photographs. I take them myself, and I like having photos like that of my family. The thing is, you could swap anyone’s kid in there and no one would know the difference. It’s the type of photograph that come in the picture frames when you buy the picture frames. Which is great, because that means it’s a good photograph, but it also means it could be anyone in that photograph. The photos are staged, and usually obviously staged. The photos don’t say a lot about your families personality, because those photos are not really about personality. And personality is what your family has in spades. And I’m sure a very unique personality at that.
So of course, I will advise the middle route and say—get both! Make sure your photographer does some gorgeous set-up shots of your family looking awesome and smiley. And also, get your photographer to take real shots of your family in action, in all it’s multi-layered, complex and totally unique glory. Put the beautiful portrait up on your wall, or on a Birthday/Holiday card. But put those awesome candids in an album, to look at, laugh at and treasure forever.