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10 Favourite Documentary Family Photographs from 2019

As I move into this new decade, I’m taking January to sift through the photographs I made in 2019. The ones that stand out to me each had a different reason for why I hit the shutter in the moment. Here are my top 10 favourite photographs from the past year and the reasons why.

1. I took this photo during a half Day in the Life session. The morning sunlight fell on a child’s easel on the last day of summer break. I speculated that the drawings on this easel could be the three year olds portrayal of a family portrait that included her new brother.

There is so much story in kids drawings and as much as you’d like to, its impossible to save it all! Sometimes snapping a photo of it is all you need.

1. This gal got new socks for Christmas last year and she loved them more than any other gift she received. Even more than the Elsa dolly.

Kids creativity takes them to places where everyday items can become clothing or toys. Photographing them as the way they choose to express themselves to the world shows a child’s real personality rather than a perfectly laid out outfit. I found it really funny that with all of the toys at her disposal, this is what she chose to wear.

2. It was a hot July day and the kids had lost interest in the bounce house so it had been unplugged. Carefully placed shoes at the foot of the deflating slide and the way the sunlight was dancing on the scene caught my eye.

You don’t always need a human subject to tell a story in a photograph, sometimes the objects can carry the weight of the story.

3. Normally, kids are quite busy with excitement when they hit the hills with their sleds on a snow day. I looked over to see this guy laying very still on his sled after a few runs, seemingly taking it all in and completely oblivious to the fact that he was in the way of the other sledders. When asked what he was doing, he replied. “I’m taking a snow nap.”

I love subtle funny moments and when you’re around kids there are plenty of them if you wait and observe. Hitting the shutter at the right time gives me my favourite captures!

10. Summer heat, barefeet and water hoses.

These things were the staples of a fun filled childhood summer for me and while many years have passed and technology has changed since I was a kid, this still rings true for children today. As a photographer, I like to give kids a visual record of those lazy summer days that have a lasting memory.

5. I took this photo on an evening swim on a Day in the Life session.

This was gracefully comedic moment filled with water that I had to act fast on – I had about 45 seconds to get this shot and it will likely be one of my favourites for a long time.

6. Three and hungry so she helped herself.

If there is anything I know about kids for certain it’s that they are constantly snacking, think they can do all of the things themselves and making messes at almost every opportunity. Embracing the mess in a real life photo session gives photographs personality because it shows your child’s personality by default.

mom brushes boys teeth at bedtime

7. Mom ensures every tooth is brushed at bedtime while big sister looks on.

Not your typical family photo but I enjoy taking a routine thing and making an image of it to show you a new way of looking at yourselves.

8. He ran up the steps to explore the pier on what was quite possibly the windiest day of the year. It amazed me that the pigeons had the ability to keep their footing when us humans were almost blowing away.

I took this photograph to freeze a moment in time. Young, energetic and carefree. This is 5.

9. It’s Sunday morning and Mom has a morning cuddle with her two boys. Coffee status: cold.

Those 5 minutes where you get to sit down and just be with your kids in the moment are probably some of the best of your day. Knowing how much they mean to you makes it that much more worthwhile to have them photographed.

9. A unicorn and batman walk into a…OK, I can’t think of a joke but I love how kids will dress up year round with such confidence. Daily life with kids can be funny stuff!

Thank you to all of the families that welcomed me into their homes to document their every day in 2019!

Corrina xo

Hello, I'm Corrina

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Corrina Holburn


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Documentary Photographer | Vancouver, BC & beyond