California Family Photographers

Documentary Family Photography for California, United States

Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego

Are you Ready to Schedule a Documentary Family Photo Session?

FAMILY COMES FIRST - Recently, some of our United States family photojournalists have communicated their readiness to work with families who are able to carry on with their normal life and who want it documented. Family Photojournalist Association professional members offer a distinct and natural style of unobtrusive photography that will capture genuine, candid moments of you, your children, and even extended family enjoying time together...everyone gets in the pictures and you will likely forget the photographer is even there.

The purpose of reportage family photography is to tell a story — your story. You will be able to feel the love that you have for one another in the images. You will see the beauty that results when you are not posed or directed by your photographer to sit in a contrived position and smile on command at the camera. The FPJA has an abundance of top-ranked, California family photographers who are available right now. Find yours today!

Map of FPJA Family Photographers Serving California

11 Available Documentary Family Photographers...

San Francisco family photography by Nick Otto of California

Hi All! I am photojournalist dedicated to telling the story of your family through genuine, moment driven photographs that will stand the test of time and be enjoyed by your family for generations to come. I'm a San Francisco based photographer who, for over a decade, has spent most of my time covering news worthy events both big and small. Before San Francisco I was based in China. I've always been drawn to defining moments and the light that surrounds them. I've worked for newspapers and magazines spanning 6 continents as well as leading global companies and NGO's. Some notables being The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle,The Associated Press, The NBA, U.N.H.C.R. and The W.H.O. There is something inherently different about the way photojournalists see the world. I think bringing this unique view and moment driven photography to families truly creates images that people can enjoy for generations to come.

Member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association - WPJA
Chris Shum is a San Francisco based Family Photojournalist.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always enjoyed taking pictures with the camera my dad passed onto me, capturing the things, people and places around me. In 2007, I decided to turn this passion of mine into my career. Since then I have been shooting weddings, engagements, special events, family, kids and babies. I love telling stories with my camera, and my pictures demonstrated my characteristic style and unique perspective, simple yet elegant. I take great pride to apply my skills and talent to document the important and precious moments of life of my clients into lasting fine art pictures. It gives me great satisfaction to be able to capture these memories for my clients so they can cherish a lifetime.

Member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association - WPJA Lifestyle Photojournalist
Southern California is home to Ventura based documentary family photographer Loren Haar

I am a Southern California natural light, documentary-style photographer, which just means I’m a storyteller, capturing your everyday life and times in images. For me, it is all about authentic imagery that represents who you are. I’ve always been one to document, but my love of photography really blossomed with the birth of our first child. I inherited my first DSLR camera, which I enjoyed, but it wasn’t until a friend taught me how to use the manual mode that I realized pointing and shooting play a very small role in creating a compelling image. So my quest began: to make images — creatively and expertly — that move the viewer. Soon after, I had life changing moments to document: our 2nd daughter’s cleft palate surgery and bringing our son home from the hospital for the first time. But I have realized what I enjoy most is capturing the little things: how she cocks her head when she pushes her palms into the play dough, or how he clambers up onto a bike that is way too big for him. For me, the joy of capturing a moment beautifully and memorably is the most exciting part of photography. I would love to share this gift with you, to come together for a time and create a collection of images that bring you just such joy.

Member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association - WPJA Lifestyle Photojournalist
Portrait of California and Los Angeles family photographer Tiffany Luong

I believe that the best stories are the ones that are true, told with energy, genuineness, humor and a little bit of poetry. I am a documentary family photographer and mother to a toddler. Also having been an elementary school speech therapist means I am extremely observant and patient, acutely aware of mischief, and constantly dealing with situations bursting with hilarity, chaos and sticky hands & hugs. This photography business came from an intersection of so many different aspects of my life – my love for traveling and subsequently, being invited into peoples’ homes; my fascination with National Geographic stories; my research into my grandparents’ immigration history; my interest in all things behind-the-scenes. When I discovered family documentary photography, it’s like all these pieces clicked from these seemingly disconnected sources and allowed me to do everything simultaneously – live alongside people in a day in their life; create heirlooms for families so that grandchildren wouldn’t have to work so hard to know where they came from; to make personal documentaries for people who might never appear in National Geographic but have still lived a life worth living.To me, documenting the everyday in this way is like receiving permission to draw stories out of strangers, and to create family photographs reflecting life itself: a series of interactions that make up the totality of a human life, much more than the words that make up a story, the cascade of moments making up your day that deserve to be documented, and the sense of "home" and the love that surrounds you daily. I think our world has been very loud about how we/our children should be (act/look/behave), and through my experience shooting 200+ families, I have found that the perfection that the family portrait strives for is typically attained after a sweaty stressfest. If you are looking for an alternative, I believe that family photojournalism is all about authenticity and unreluctant vulnerability, and being able to remember how you felt (exasperated, relieved, joyful, expectant, or like you love your kids so fiercely you feel like your heart is going to burst) instead of how you wanted to look (sorry Pinterest!). When not photographing families and small businesses, you can find me trying to Konmari my tiny house, chasing my toddler, being a first class navigator to my husband on a family road trip, or looking for local gems in pockets of Los Angeles.

Lifestyle Photojournalist
Annie Bang is a Family Photojournalist from Los Angeles.

I studied Journalism in college and I once was an international journalist based in Seoul. Both my academic and professional backgrounds have influenced my documentary and photojournalistic family and wedding photos. And those timeless and priceless photos define who we are and nothing makes me more thrilled than documenting our lives as they are. Life is a series of moments, and those moments are fleeing away from us instantly; that is why photography is incredibly powerful and important to our lives, and I feel extremely honored to be part of every moment. I do what I do, coming from my heart, passion and love.

Member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association - WPJA
Anthony Thornton is a San Francisco based documentary family photographer.

After growing up with drum sticks in my hands, I went to music school and earned a B.A. in jazz drumming. But in 2008 while studying abroad in Amsterdam, I discovered a love for photography. And in 2010 my focus completely shifted from music to image-making. To learn this new craft, I studied (and continue to!) the masters and assisted as many photographers as possible. While freelancing for publications in Colorado I eventually became a staff photographer for the Vail Daily, where my images were also published in other outlets including The New York Times and Food & Wine Magazine. Today, I'm a beardless freelancer living in San Francisco and specialize in making people look and feel like themselves.

Family Photojournalist Sarah Kang of San Francisco, CA

Sarah Kang is a professional family photographer whose love of photography began decades ago with her first course in darkroom development. She has a unique eye and sense of anticipation that translate into her beautifully honest and emotional photographs. Sarah graduated from Brown University and studied photography at the New York Institute of Photography. Aside from photographing families, she loves to travel and salsa dance. Sarah currently lives in San Francisco with her husband and son.

Member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association - WPJA Lifestyle Photojournalist
California and San Francisco are home to family photojournalist Douglas Despres

I love photographing family energy... been doing it in the documentary feel for 17 years. Family sessions are one of the most cherished things for my camera. As proof, despite nearly two decades as a pro, and being published from music albums to museums, my most cherished honor in the medium is an image of my late Uncle Ron, on the front cover of his funeral program. It captures a wily smirk and was made at a large family gathering one sunny Summer day in New Hampshire. It meant the world to be surprised with that. The natural moments of connection of your family, through big open hearts, is what I'm after. It's a mix of documentary, lifestyle and fine art. It's real. It's slow and soft or loud and crazy... it's everything. The goal is to become one of your family photographers through life, one session at a time. Often we'll put something physical that you already share together as a family. Could be cooking. Could be basketball or surfing or soccer or skiing. You enjoy, and I'll document the magic. For more of my history and accolades, please head on over to my website.

Member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association - WPJA Lifestyle Photojournalist
Family Photojournalist Ron Storer covering Seattle, Washington

Ron is a family photographer based out of the Northwest. He has been married to his wonderful friend, Neesie, for nearly the past 29 years and they have two amazing boys; Grant and Torey. 15 years ago, Ron Storer worked on a freelance basis with non-profit Organizations doing relief work around the globe. Now on occasion Ron still assists NPO's when possible and as his schedule allows. Prior to his photography career, Ron Storer raced on the US Cycling Team earning a Gold Medal in the Pan-Am Games and a Silver Medal in the Olympic Trials.

Member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association - WPJA Lifestyle Photojournalist
Jared Lindsay - DFW Texas family photographer

As a father of 3 I know how crazy parenthood is. I also know how fast time goes by and how important it is to record those fleeting moments that make up this wild thing we call 'life'. That is why I feel, more strongly then ever, that it is very crucial to be as unobtrusive as I can be when making photographs of families so that I do not interrupt those moments that make this whole thing worthwhile and precious. Documenting those moments is not just for you, the parent, but more so for your children - for them to have an honest record of how your life and family really were... in all it's chaotic glory!

Member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association - WPJA Lifestyle Photojournalist
Cliff Etzel - Eugene, Oregon Documentary Photographer

My role is to be the observer, the curator of visual moments. I’m not there to make moments, I’m there to capture them. My name is Cliff Etzel and I’m a Pacific Northwest regional award-winning photojournalist specializing in family, wedding, and end of life documentary photography. My passion to document the lives of everyday people is inspired by the works of William Albert Allard, David Burnett, David Alan Harvey plus many others and my passion hasn’t diminished even after all these years. A photograph to me needs to show an element of humanity and I believe I photograph “people being people”. I’m passionate about what I do for my clients and I’m constantly searching for those unfolding moments that shows deep empathy for my subjects, documenting the topics of birth, death, day to day family life, celebrations, homelessness, small-town life, and other aspects that are a part of the human experience. I prefer to shoot stills (my true passion – especially in black and white), but I can also shoot video, record audio and utilize text and other interactive content for imparting information. Most of all, what I bring to your project is compassion, sensitivity, and experience as a documentary photographer and storyteller with over 30 years of professional working experience. When I’m done with your project, what you’ll have is a story. Your story.

California Outdoor Family Photography

Even in an age of restrictions and limitations, you can safely enjoy a photoshoot in an outdoor location with small groups of people or families. Your FPJA California family photographer can easily capture candid moments of the kids playing and interacting from a safe distance. These days, outdoor sessions are often the best option for sincere photographs, because people of all ages feel more comfortable and relaxed while they are outside and unrestricted. In these large, open spaces, you and your family can simply spend time together doing your regular routine while your photographer focuses on the art of storytelling.

California Day in the Life Picture Sessions - DITL

There is something beautiful about the imperfections in an ordinary day. The best gift that you can give your family now and in the years to come is the investment in authentic photographs that showcase a real day in your life. These stress-free sessions, designed to capture the realness and honesty of an average day for your family, produce the most genuine images, and these are the ones that you will cherish for years to come.

California Birth Sessions at Home or Hospital

The birth of your child is an experience that is filled with both beauty and chaos. It’s a moment in time that you won’t want to forget, yet it’s an experience in which the details may fade away in the coming weeks, months and years. To capture the first moments in which you meet your baby and those first special hours together, you should enlist the help of a California documentary birth photographer. An experienced family photographer who specializes in documentary birth sessions will be able to capture your labor journey, the birth experience and the immediate reaction that you have when you see your baby’s face for the first time — all while respecting your space. The right photographer will be able to use discretion while focusing on the fleeting moments that you will want to remember from your birth experience. Whether you plan to give birth at home or at the hospital, you can book a documentary birth session with a professional reportage-style birth photographer.