Documentary family photographer Nicole Sanchez: photography tips for a nesting family

There's nothing like having a baby to turn one into a photo-taking and -consuming machine. And soon enough, our phones are out of memory from photos, and we've booked photographers annually at Thanksgiving time for that picture-perfect holiday card for the family... But we could all use some pointers to reflect on what photos mean to us, now and in the future. 

So this week, we've invited Nicole of Nicole Sanchez Photography to share with us some thoughts on family photography in the home. 

nicole sanchez photographyNicole Sanchez at home with her son, September 2016.

Nicole is a documentary family photographer based in Northern Virginia. And when I first met her, I had no idea what "documentary family photography" was. But once I learned more about it, I realized it's a truly authentic way to capture life as a nesting family -- it's less about staged poses and coordinated outfits and more about capturing the beautiful mundane-ness of family life. It's the type of family photography I didn't even know I was looking for. 

We love working with photographers who can capture family moments and memories, beautifully and authentically. And Nicole epitomizes all that and more...



N I C O L E * S A N C H E Z 

There's something about home that allows us to let our guard down and find comfort. When you become a parent, this becomes even more apparent. You've created a nest for your family. A place where love fills the nooks and crannies (even if those nooks are piled with laundry and the crannies filled with a few dust bunnies). This nest may not be perfect, but it's home.

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koko's nest founder Sy and her children in her home, August 2016.

One of the first things I ask new clients, especially when planning an in-home session, is whether they have any mementos or special objects that they want to include in their session. Often, it may be a picture or favorite book. Or it may be a lovey or special blanket. What I love about these objects is that they represent the essence of home. And they're a way to take that comfort with you. Years from now, if we're lucky enough to have held on to these objects, they'll evoke that feeling of home just the same. Safety. Love. Comfort.

It's my hope that my photographs do the same for my children and the children of families I photograph.  Photographing objects in the home or as they accompany a family in their day-to-day is also a way to capture that essence of home.  When a family looks at these images years from now, they'll be able to place themselves right back there in that moment and remember how that favorite blanket accompanied them everywhere.  And it's not just the object itself. These objects are intertwined with us, especially us as parents, as we remember that we are home base for our children.The epitome of comfort and safety.

koko's nest modern heirloom baby blanket
At a playground with Lowell blanket, August 2016.

Details can help solidify a connection with the past in photographs.  This is exactly what I imagined when photographing Sy and her children and what I imagine when photographing my own children. For them, I know this blanket represents home to them. It's warmth and refuge. Comfort and love. And they'll remember that many years from now.

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Nicole's son on Grays blanket, February 2017.

I love sharing my love for documentary family photography as well as practical tips for documenting family life with photographs. You can download my 4 Steps to Stop Time and Savor the Moment with Your Family.  Learn more about documentary family photography or connecting with me on Instagram.

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