Documentary Photography

New Braunfels Documentary Photography: Our Legacy

 In today’s fast moving society, where information flow to the public is often about what story is bigger, faster and easier to relate to, sometimes it pays to slow down.  When I take portraits, and a session is finished, I like to stop and take photos of the small details of family interaction when the subjects don’t feel like they are “on stage,” or posing.  Real moments are my very favorite.  Portraits are wonderful and I love them, but a documentary photograph tugs at the heart.

Photojournalism is the art or practice of communicating news by photographs.  We are inundated by images of natural disasters, war, celebrities and so much more.  Image files are processed quickly and are posted almost instantaneously posted on social media, in print or broadcast around the world more quickly every day.  According to Kirsten Lewis, “Documentary photography is really and an art, it is a type of photojournalism where the photographer is aiming to create a series of pictures that will a complete story.”  This is Documentary Family Photojournalism.

Last year I took a class online through Click Photo School, The Documentary Approach, and started following one of the other students, Francesca Russell, who is a photographer and filmmaker in New York City.  Last month Francesca started a project that asks the question, “What is your legacy?”  In the first week the prompts encourage the participant to look back on their birth story, and how their parents met.  In doing that, and talking with my mom about my story, I found a new perspective to approach family photography.  My goal has always been to produce unique, and personal images for my clients.  The photographs are more than the digital negative.  They are memories for a lifetime.


My mother, Miriam Gentry, with me in 1958.

This photo of me taken soon after I was born is very special to me.  It highlights the beginning of the relationship between mother and daughter and the connection between us even in those early months is obvious as you can see in the picture.  It is very precious to me as a daughter, a mother and a grandmother.  It is one of the many that tell the story of my life, and the journey through that life with my mother.  It is important to look back, as well as looking forward.

Families with new babies, people on vacation, seniors in high school, and engaged couples all deserve to have their story told in photos.   Please contact me to hear all about my documentary photography sessions.


Memorial Day | Memories for a Lifetime

Memorial Day has a special meaning to me. 

I am a military kid, the spouse of a career Soldier, and the mom to an active duty Infantry Soldier and that brings my total years affiliated with the United States Military to fifty nine years of service.  Service as a family member of the great men in my life, but service nonetheless.  When I think of our friends and family who have given their lives in the ultimate sacrifice to this nation I am humbled by the magnitude of the love that I have for them and for their service. These experiences have formed my identity.

Why is Memorial Day important to photography?

First, it is the photos that we have from our past that will bring back the memories of those important people in our lives that are no longer with us.

My father Colonel Jack C. Gentry, USAF, ret.,  and my grandson James.   Photo circa 2008

Future generations will witness a testament to both family and country through the memories that are recorded print. Pictures as they say, are worth a thousand words.

My grandson James at the grave site of his great grandfather. Photo circa 2013

Photos can also establish the emotion of what the day means to others:

My mother, Miriam, at my father's grave.  Photo circa 2013

Second, what would we do if we did not have the freedom of expression that we hold so dear to our hearts as photographers.  In some cultures and countries people are censored and arrested for taking a photo. Today often times photographers are treated suspiciously.  We as Americans take the simple freedom of taking a photo for granted.  Images can be so powerful in swaying emotion:  just think about the images of concentration camps in WWII, the nuclear bomb devastation in Japan, or the immolation of the young girl by napalm in Vietnam.  All of those images are possible by virtue of our freedom of expression, honored in the United States, that other countries would not have allowed.

This is a day when we leave politics at the door and take time to think about what it means to live in the greatest country in the world and to have the freedom of expression.  But, freedom for us has come at a steep price.  Take out your photos of loved ones and friends and share them with others.  Also take the time to make new memories.  Take out your camera, or your phone and take photos to remember these times, good and bad, for the memories of future generations.

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, Missouri  Photo circa 2013

If you need an event photographer to capture family reunions or military deployments please think of Faces-Places-Photography for these special occasions.

Picture Authentic Emotions | New Braunfels Portrait Photographer

The key to success is patience.  When taking photos of young children, and their families, more often than not the best photographs happen when you least expect them. I often find that at the beginning of a photo session that everyone is a little bit nervous and stiff.  This is understandable because in most cases everyone has just met.  It is worthwhile to spend just a few minutes getting to know one another and develop a rapport with the family.  This article was very helpful to me. It lists the many ways that you can make the experience better for both clients and the photographer.  The more relaxed that everyone is the better the session will go.  When you have a two year old involved in the session expectations must be adjusted.


Bubbles are a great prop! Unless the two year old feels like she needs to hold the bubbles!

After a small break we put the bubbles out of sight and we had happy smiles!!

After a small break we put the bubbles out of sight and we had happy smiles!!

If you find that one member of the family is struggling, give them a break.  Sometimes they just need to catch their breath and have a drink of water or a small snack.  I always have an assistant when I am taking photos of young children.  The assistant can handle snack and break time.  In the meantime I keep shooting.  Often I find that I capture my favorite photos from a photo session when I least expect it.


What a wonderful bond between brothers!  These are special relationships.

What a wonderful bond between brothers!  These are special relationships.

It is critical to be prepared for a photo shoot. 


1)   Know your photo venue

2)   Get to the venue early

3)   Have water and a snack.

4)   Know the family’s names and a little bit about hobbies

5)   Have a couple of props


As a photographer you can never be TOO well prepared.  Research and practice is critical and almost always pays big dividends.  This article is a great reminder of what a professional photographer must prepare for in the lead-time before a portrait session.

Family photographs are priceless memories for a lifetime.

Catch those wonderful moments at the end of the session.


Don’t throw away the outtakes of these types of sessions.  Often parents will find the outtakes very special.  Many times I love the “failed” photographs just as appealing as the posed and formal photos.  I love both classical and documentary photography and try to capture a mix of both in my portrait work.  Take a minute to learn about my background.  Please contact me to plan your next portrait session.  I will be prepared!

New Braunfels Portrait Photographer | Plan for Mother's Day


Mother’s Day is just one week away and this is a great time to start thinking about making photographs that will highlight the special relationship between mothers and their children.  In 2017, there are cameras everywhere.  The cell phone camera has changed the way that people think about photographs. Spontaneous moments snapped on the phone are fun. Who doesn’t love the occasional selfie? However, life captured intentionally with professional photographs that will grace your home in the form of fine art prints and heirloom albums make for the ultimate Mother’s Day gift.  

Generational photography is a beautiful way to commemorate Mother's Day. 

A generational photo of the women in your family is going to be a treasure for the ages.  There are many ways to approach this type of photograph.  You can take a more classic and traditional studio photo that will be a family heirloom, or grab a fun candid that shows all kinds of personality and will also stand the test of time for family generations to come.  Pinterest is a great source of information and ideas making the best choice of photography session for your family.

An unplanned mother and daughter moment captured by Faces-Places portrait photography.


Be flexible and creative when you consider the kind of photos you want to capture of mothers and children. Some of my favorite photographs are the unexpected moments between mother and child.  You can photograph these moments in a formal setting, however a documentary photograph that catches a special relationship is both meaningful and heartwarming. Explore the faces portfolio on my website to see the different ways to approach a portrait.

New Braunfels Documentary Portrait Photographer | Mom's everyday life.

Mother and son antics in the bluebonnets. |  Texas Portrait Photography

Mom’s also truly appreciate photographs of themselves.  I find that most of the time it is mothers who take most of the photographs within their families.  It is important to take photographs of your own mother whenever you get the chance.  Mothers are often busy and hesitant to take photos as they find it difficult to find the time to prepare for a session.  Look for unique ways to capture a moment for your mom.

My mother at a family tea party.  |  Family photography in New Braunfels, Texas

If your mother is a photographer there are many wonderful gifts that can be purchased for her for Mother’s Day.  There has never been a time when I haven’t truly enjoyed a piece of photography equipment or a photography experience as a gift.


A sweet moment between mother and daughter.  |  New Braunfels Event Photography

In the month of May contact me.  It is time to get a new photograph of a special mom in your life.  Happy Mother’s Day!