Jillian, Lennon, & Scout | Royal Oak Documentary Family Photographer

It’s a small wonderful world. We’ve have known Jillian and Lennon in some capacity or another for years. Tim used to work down the street from Lennon’s business and was friends with both him and his dad. Through Lennon we’ve met Jillian, years before they were together. Fast forward to now I have become friends with a mom at Milo’s school and we realize that Lennon grew up with and is best friends with her husband. Small wonderful world, full of connection. And now Lennon and Jillian are a family, live in a house I love on a gorgeous street in Royal Oak and have the adorable little Scout. Her personality is so awesomely full of life and at the same time chill, even at this young age you can see it. She is going to be a force to reckon with in this world.

I have been sharing images from this session on social media but I figured it’s time to share the whole slideshow with you because I totally LOVE it. This family is freakin adorable. We had a Half Day session together and there is such an ease to being in their presence that I could have stayed all day. Seriously, I love them, their daughter, I love their house, and to top it off, their cat’s name is Tim (my husbands name for those of you who don’t know). I mean, what more could I ask for?! Doing a documentary family session for them was seriously so much fun for me.

The slideshow is below, but for those of you who are at work and don’t want music on, make sure to turn down your volume or check out the images I posted below the slideshow instead.


And because I love this one so much, I had to throw it in here at the bottom. I mean look at that dimpled bottom! Baby perfection!

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Shelley TorgersonComment
Relaxed Portraits || Metro Detroit Documentary Family Photographer

Did you know that with a Half Day or Glimpse of a Day session, you can use 15-30 minutes of your session for relaxed portraits?

Sometimes I have families who really want a documentary session, but still like the idea of having just a photograph or two of their family posed together. Or my clients love and understand what a documentary family session is all about, but the grandparents are all, “wait a minute, you’re not all going to be posed in matching outfits smiling hugely into the camera?!” This part of the session allows you to get the photographs of your family you want, the real moments that tell your family’s story while also still being able to give grandma and grandpa a posed picture for their mantel if that’s what they prefer. (Sorry though, unless it's how you normally dress everyday, matching outfits are still not allowed!)

You have the option of having up to 15 minutes during a Glimpse of a Day or up to 30 minutes during a Half Day Session for relaxed portraits directed by me. You can have the best of both worlds! What are you waiting for?!

Shelley TorgersonComment
Haley & Hans | Royal Oak Documentary Couples Session

While talking to Haley before her’s and Han’s session she told me something along the lines of, “My friends have told me I had better warn you that Hans and I are really gushy and lovey. They’re worried you might think that we’re faking it for the camera.” I am pretty good at spotting what is real and what it fake when it comes to how people are acting, but I thanked her for letting me know and got even more excited for their session. Seriously you guys, Haley and Hans are the cutest, most in love couple, and it’s obvious that they are the real deal. I joined them for one of their favorite morning rituals, walking up to the bakery not too far from their house. There was a moment when Haley went to use the bathroom and Hans looked at me, his face full of love, and said “Isn’t she just the cutest?!” The love is so huge and so real! Then we went back to their home and they made and drank tea together, something they often do. Simple, perfect, them being them.

Spending a couple of hours with them, really got me excited for more of this type of session. A family doesn’t only exist when there are children involved. Capturing love, silly faces, little glances, that’s what this is all about. Every family has all of these moments, whether there are children involved or not.

So here’s my shout out to all of you couples without children. Have your pictures taken together. Get a session done. Plan some time doing the things that you love to do together and have someone capture and show you your moments. You won’t regret it.

Haley’s response to her slideshow had me in happy tears:

“SHELLEY I AM IN LOVE WITH THESE PHOTOS!!!!! *swoon* Wow you are so talented. I have no idea how you captured that many good ones lol. It just felt like a walk but you captured the treasure. Wow. I'm in tears.”

**With any of my shorter length sessions I offer 10-15 mins of loosely directed portraits if that is something that a family wants. There are a few pictures in this slideshow that are not purely documentary. The love is real, their reactions are real, but this couple wanted to reenact something they’ve done together every year, so we made that happen for them.

Ami, Mike, & Cleo | Day in the Life | Detroit Documentary Family Photography

This wonderful family was about to become a family of four.

That time when you know your heart is about to expand with love for this new little addition to your family. A time that is so exciting, but also so bittersweet. Thinking about how it is going to change, how your first little love of your life won’t be your only little love of your life anymore. Wondering how it’s going to affect your first born, will they be okay, will they feel, sad, jealous, confused? Will your connection with this person who first made you a parent be affected? There are so many emotions that come with this time. In the end, we all know that it ends up being wonderful and beautiful, but that doesn’t stop all of those feelings from happening in the moment.

This is such a wonderful time to have a session because as much as I am always emphasizing that you can never get this time back, or your child’s age right now back, in the situation of a second child being born, this really is the last time to photograph your the relationship with you and your first kiddo with them as an only child.

I really am fortunate that all of my clients end up being people who I want to hang out with. Ami and Mike are no exception. I immediately felt welcomed into their home like an old friend. When they mentioned that they didn’t know who was going to stay with Cleo when the baby was born, I felt compelled to offer to help. Mind you, we had never met before this day, so I did hold back and didn’t offer for fear of seeming a like a bit too much. But I’m pretty sure I did still end up mentioning it to them some time later. AND to top off their hospitality, they sent me off after their session with a giant bag of yummy homegrown garden tomatoes. Ami and Mike, you’re two of the good ones. XOXO

Bluebird House in a Slideshow & What I've been Up to Recently | Ferndale Metro Detroit Documentary Family Photographer

There's quite a bit for me to catch you up on!

At the end of the school year I spent time during nine different days documenting at Milo's school. I have been going through and working on the thousands of photos and I am loving the pictures I made while there. I am so happy that he is at the school he is at, it is such a good fit for our parenting and our family. The slideshow I am sharing below is such a good representation of what a day in his school is like. Watching it has brought happy tears to most of the moms who have seen it. (myself included of course) If you know me, you know that to me that is a success. I love you ladies!


I also recently, had a Day in the Life session, photographed the birth of my nephew, spent a couple of days with my photography mentor the amazing Kirsten Lewis in Denver, photographed two families there, came home and two days later spent Sunday at an all day retreat with the equally amazing Natalie Fuoco of The Designed Life and five other inspiring women, and then last night I met up with another group of inspiring small business owner women at The Spark Collaborative's monthly Happy Hour event.

It has been an inspiring and fulfilling few weeks!

I think now it might be time to plan to go camping, head to the beach with Milo, and maybe visit our friends while they vacation in North Carolina. 

Why Your Families Memories Might Be the One Luxury Item You Want to Invest In. | Metro Detroit Documentary Family Photographer Shelley Torgerson

The truth, is any kind of photography you have done could be considered a luxury by some. It is not something necessary. Just like getting a coffee, taking a vacation, buying nice shoes, or going out to eat. We can get by just fine without any of these things. But I saw some pictures today that a friend posted on Facebook of her daughter who was turning 20 today. Some of the pictures included her and her daughter together, and of course those were the ones I was most drawn to. They really got me thinking.

I couldn’t help but think to myself, that I bet she is so glad that she has these photos, of her now adult daughter at the age 5 or 6 leaning on her back, both of them smiling together. These weren’t even professional photos, they were snapshots. But I know looking at those photos that they mean the world to both the mother and daughter. They are able to look at those photos and bring up so many memories and feelings about that time in their life. What did it feel like to be together? What did a day feel like in their house? As a mom, I know that the time it goes by so quickly, and each moment, each stage of our kids lives can be so different and feel so important. Looking back and seeing what it was like, feeling what it was like, it is such a gift to have the photos to take you back there. 

And then I saw a post from an acquaintance about moving to another country. And I thought to myself how I wish I had done a Day in the Life session for that family before they moved. To give them this tangible and beautiful set of captured memories of what it was like, in their house, in their city, in their current county with their child before they make such a big move, I think it would have meant the world to them and to me. 

This is why I feel so passionate about documentary family photography. This is why, although some people may call it a luxury, it is a luxury that I believe is worth the investment. What ever extras purchases you choose to make important are different for each person. That’s part of the beauty of the world. But, if you’re like me and want to preserve a little of what your family feels like right now, if you want to be able to look back and feel it again, then think about getting a session with me. You won’t regret it, I promise.