Erika Kao Photography  |  Bergen County Photographer  |  Wyckoff, New Jersey

What comes to mind when you think of "family photography"? I think most people probably think of the classic posed family photo. The one that you get dressed up for. The one where you all pile into a car, complete with activities and snacks to keep the littles occupied. You drive to meet your photographer at a scenic location so that you can get that one perfect family photo that you can use for your holiday card or hang on the wall.

I absolutely believe there's a time and a place for that kind of photography. But consider something a little different.

Imagine it's a Saturday or a Sunday morning. You're at home with no specific plans other than to consume coffee, eat breakfast, and do a whole lot of whatever comes to mind. A whole lot of nothing special. You're wearing whatever, or maybe you're still in your pajamas. Maybe you ran a comb through your hair, or maybe you didn't. Maybe the kids brushed their teeth, or maybe they didn't. There might be dishes in the sink or unfolded laundry in the basket. And all if it is perfectly OK, because as you'll see, the goal is to capture life as it is.

The doorbell rings. In walks a photographer. She sets her things down and with no instruction to you whatsoever, she starts taking photos of your family. She hangs around for a few hours. She follows you around, from room to room, wherever the wind blows you. And then, after a while, she's finished. You say your goodbyes, and she leaves.

And then you see the photos. And you realize that what she's captured is your exact life. Your beautiful, sticky, perfect, messy, wonderful life. Your children, complete with moments of absolute joy and absolute frustration; with moments of independence and moments of working together with siblings. Your marriage, and those moments where you function as parents but also as a couple. And your home, where you live and breathe and love. All of it is perfect, just as it is in this very moment.

There's time for posed photography. But consider the beauty and the meaning of storytelling photography. From the photos below, it's clear that this isn't just "nothing special." It's a day in the life of a family with young children. It's a day in the life of siblings learning how to live together, how to share toys and parents with each other. It's a glimpse into a time that, for parents, passes far too quickly. It's a moment in time. A beautiful and delicious moment in time that, it's my sincere hope, everyone will look back upon someday and smile.

My most heartfelt thanks and love to this family for inviting me into their home and for allowing me the freedom to capture their love, exactly as it is.