Over the years as a Chicago Wedding Photographer, I have loved getting to develop my own photography style. My main mission is to document your love story authentically and genuinely through the in-between moments. I’m so excited to announce a new way to capture you and your love – Storytelling Sessions.
This session idea has been in the works for almost 2 years. They’re aimed towards couples really wanting an in-depth look into their relationship and captured as candidly as possible. It’s these types of sessions that light my soul and remind me why I do what I do.
What Is A Storytelling Session And Who Is It For?
Storytelling sessions were born of the drive to better represent my couples’ relationship in their final gallery. Too easily, I felt that couples were getting lost in the instagrammable sea of pose lists and pretty locations. I felt the need to wedge myself in between this newfound trend and instead focus on the core values of what I believe photography is meant to be.
In an effort to get back to intentional photography sessions that actually document each couple as they are and represent their specific journey, storytelling sessions were created.
When you book a storytelling session, it allows us extra time together to be able to dive into your relationship. We can capture it at the heart. Storytelling sessions focus on the two of you, exactly as you are, and are a way to tell your unique and specific story.
Frequently Asked Questions About Storytelling Photography Sessions
Since integrating storytelling sessions into my business structure, there are a few frequently asked questions that I must address.
What Does The Process Look Like?
First things first, what does the process look like? We hop on a Zoom call prior to your session for an “interview” about your relationship. Don’t worry, no job interview vibes here! It’s on this call that I ask you questions to get to know you, your story, and how we can best bring that to life through imagery.
More specifically, on our call together I’ll spend time getting to know you two – the story of your relationship, who you are as individuals, and who you are when you are together as a couple. We’ll also talk more specifically about how you show love for one another, specific physical locations that mean something to your story, and how we can best bundle that all up to create a meaningful final gallery.
This call is less formal and more about creating a safe space and environment. A space where we let each other in and create a connection that allows me to best tell your story. If I, seemingly a stranger can help tell your story, imagine the power that it can hold as you look back on those precious moments yourself, the creators of your story.
How Does This Differ From A Normal Couples Session?
Secondly, another common question is how does this differ from a normal couples session? While it may seem like these two are mutually exclusive, there are slight differences that make the experience of a storytelling photography session much different.
With a regular couples session, you are limited to the amount of time and locations that we have to shoot. Rather than an interview, I send my couples with an onboarding questionnaire that allows them to tell me their story and a little bit more about their relationship. In turn, while you still receive a gorgeous final gallery, there isn’t as much detailed planning that goes into a storytelling session.
When you book a storytelling session, we essentially take a deep dive into your relationship and your story. Further than any normal couples session would. We indulge in an in-depth interview before your session. This allows me to not only hear how you two love each other but see it with my own eyes.
A storytelling session also includes extra time on the day of your shoot to make sure that you’re super relaxed. We’ll travel to more locations than a standard session to best tell your story. This can include a first date spot, then heading to your favorite bar, and ending at your favorite spot to take walks together. Rather than aiming to only get the beautiful imagery at the end, we focus on telling your story AND getting the beautiful photos.
Where Can These Sessions Take Place?
The beauty of these storytelling sessions is that they can take place just about anywhere. It’s about telling your story. Whatever that looks like. This could be the place where you met, your first date spot, to even your first home together. It’s about documenting milestones, and moments in time that have altered your life and/or relationship.
When it comes to brainstorming on where you would want to do your storytelling session, I always suggest thinking about your relationship timeline. Focus on reliving your relationship as if it were a story and the rest will fall into place.
Do I Have To Be Engaged To Book A Storytelling Session?
No! You do not have to be engaged in order to book a storytelling session. In fact, storytelling sessions are for everyone. We celebrate all kinds of love at Emma Petersen Photography and are a completely inclusive photography business. What that means is we will celebrate your love no matter what.
While that means I get to welcome all walks of life in front of my camera, that also means that no matter what your relationship status is, I welcome that too! Whether you’re dating, engaged, or have been married for years everyone and everyone no matter what stage in life you are in.
What’s Included When We Book A Storytelling Session?
When you book a storytelling session, we will first schedule a time for us to hop on our Zoom call together. These calls can range from 30 minutes to an hour, but I embrace every minute that I get to spend talking with you!
After, through email correspondence, we discuss the final details and go over any questions that you may have. This also includes any questions on what to wear because we know that this can be a very *hard* decision for everyone – lol.
Then comes the day of your storytelling photography session where we meet up at our designated first location and start making magic. I will essentially be your not so discrete fly on the wall as I watch your love story unfold in front of my eyes.
Rebecca + Tim‘s Storytelling Session
Location 1 – Their First Date Spot
For Rebecca and Tim, their storytelling session brought us all over Chicago. We started where they met for their first date – Longman and Eagle. This spot marked the start of them spending every second together – they coined their relationship “their first date that never ended”. They spent their whole day together and haven’t been apart since. We captured the spot they met right outside the restaurant and the Logan Square area, and transitioned back to their home.
Location 2 – Their First Home
Our second location captured the second phase of their relationship – their first home together. Rebecca and Tim bought their house very recently and immediately started fixing it up. They both love interior decorating and this space has become very important as a marker of when their lives officially came together.
One of my favorite moments from this section was documenting what they call their “survival hugs.” Rebecca and Tim made up this term for when they both need a second to break from reality and connect with one another. It’s an intense bear hug that serves as their reset before hopping back into whatever they were doing
And we can’t forget Lula, their cat!! Truly the shining star of the session, I was able to snag a few photos of her guarding her territory when she deigned to see what we were up to.
We spent a majority of our time here capturing the different spaces they spend their time in real life. (and even let them relax for a bit on their couch haha.) I always like to give my couples space to actually connect with one another over a series of questions like “what’s been your favorite memory over the course of your relationship?” and, “What’s a time where you felt really supported by your partner?” That way your session becomes more than just posing in front of the camera. It’s also about creating a new memory for you two to look back on from our time together.
Location 3 – Dunning’s Pour House
To close out their session, we headed over to their favorite bar and restaurant, Dunning’s. They spend a lot of time at this location with each other and their friends grabbing beers and burgers and sharing lots of laughs. It was so special to be able to swing by and capture them in their element where they’ve created so many special memories!
Get In Touch!
Interested in booking your own storytelling photography session? Inquire here and let’s chat through all of the details of your love story.
Helpful Resources & Blogs
Below is a list of some other helpful resources and blogs which you may find helpful!