The Heart of Family | Amy Thelen Documentary Photographer

Most people I speak with about documentary family photography describe it through the lens of "candid portraits" or "lifestyle". They might even envision it being like a documentary film, where something is being exposed, researched, or taught to the viewer. 

In a sense, when you hire a documentary photographer, you are exposing aspects of your life that might be washed over in the hurriedness of the everyday.

There will be small moments that usually pass under your radar and pieces of yourself or your family that make you say, "Aha!". You are celebrating the very essence of your daily rhythm as well as the unknown.

Family albums and prints help weave together a forgotten story. I treasure the aging albums and the boxes of loose prints (even the posed school pictures) found tucked away in my parent's family room cabinet. 

I see the same curiosity and desire to relive experiences with my own children. Each time a package is delivered full of prints for our walls, I sit down with the kids and we talk about what they recall, what surprises them, as well as what they like or don't like about the picture.

These conversations are immensely meaningful. We all learn something about ourselves and have the opportunity to grow. Recently, I have found that they both love the unexpected moments; where they were not camera aware and see themselves from a different perspective.

This is why the heart of my approach is to make pictures of your family with authenticity.


Do something unexpected. Leave your jammies on, drink your coffee in bed, and let me hang out with your kids. I'll go on a walk to the grocery store with you, hop in the car for a trip to the beach, or just chill at home playing games, eating snacks, and being you. 

Messes, hand holding, nose-picking, kids fighting, gleeful laughter, and the one thousand different things that make your family unique can be on your walls, in a family album, or tucked neatly in a beautiful wooden box to celebrate day after day.

I hope your curiosity is piqued. I want to get to know more families in my community, so get in touch and let's see what stories we can tell!