6 Reasons Why I Became A Family Photographer and The Story Behind My Passion

I believe that everyone deserves to have their life, emotions and loved ones preserved through photography. My journey to becoming a photographer is lifelong, and today I wanted to share with you today where my passion comes from and why I do what I do today!

#1: THIS photo (I wasn’t always a fan of photography or being in photos…)

Yep. That’s me. Crying hysterically. In these very formal family photos that my grandparents had set up. They hired a fancy photographer. We all got dressed up *and* coordinating. I actually remember this day vividly. I really wanted to have my blankie in the photo. My mom said N-O. I was not happy (I was a very stubborn little girl). I insisted that I had to have my blankie in the photo. She offered me a (dumb) doll instead as a compromise. Well, this just made me even more upset and I refused to stop crying. My poor mother then just held me down and said, “just take the picture!”….and that is how this portrait and memory was captured. My poor Gramps…look at his mortified face. 🤦‍♀️

Despite the disaster that this formal family portrait was, this is a very cherished (and now hilarious) memory for our entire family. It is still referenced often to this day! We laugh and laugh about it and how stubborn I was and how mortified my grandparents were at my behavior in front of the professional photographer they hired. Also, look at my older sister to the left…that look says, “and THIS is why I am the favorite.” 😂

This photo is one of the biggest inspirations and reason why I capture ALL emotions of your family. If your kiddo is not having the best day on our session day, that is ok. It happens, and that is *real*life* and it will later be a hilarious memory that you’re glad we captured. My niece, Lucy, is a prime example during her two-year-old session…

My sister said, “Well, this is a perfect depiction of who she is right now. She cries for the silliest reasons (like not being able to climb up the stairs by herself) and she cries A LOT. This is our life right now during the terrible two’s!” Here she is holding her “Dolly” and her Elmo phone. Two of her favorite toys. This little girl with a strong personality was not only captured in the photo above, but also this photo…

Look familiar anyone??? (A little uncanny of a resemblance of my crying moment of family photo fame above where I also had to be held down…but atleast this wasn’t during a professional photo session with her grandparents…)

All that to say, I believe in capturing all of the emotions. This is why I love lifestyle and storytelling photography so much. It gives us a chance to spend more time together so that I can capture your life and the spectrum of emotions. It is so important to me as a photographer to document your future nostalgia (crying and all). Of course, the goal is to have a joyful time, to capture genuine smiles, your love for one another, your passion and what gets you out of bed in the morning. But I want you to know that IT IS OK if your kids aren’t on their best behavior during our session and if they cry a little. I have tricks (and snacks) up my sleeve to turn that around.

But, I just want to be honest…that if you’re looking for a photographer to ONLY capture very formal and posed photos, then I may not be the right fit for you. And that’s ok!

#2: You are worthy of being captured and your family deserves to have memories preserved for generations to come

Let me ask you something…do you have any old photos that you cherish deeply? An old photo of a loved one that has passed? Or of your kids when they were little, wondering where the time went? Or a vacation where you traveled somewhere special and daydream of going back? Or even of a sweet dog that was the light of your life, that you miss dearly and think about often? And, do you have these images PRINTED?

Let me share something that happened to me recently…

My grandfather (lovingly called “Grandteddy”) passed away when I was just 3 months old. I have no actual memories of him, but there was one photo of him with me that I remember. It was of my older sister and I sitting on his lap in his favorite chair. Whenever anyone in the family would talk about Grandteddy, this is the only visual I have of him. My dad doesn’t have many photos of him and neither does my Nana. They just didn’t take that many back then (my dad is one of six kids, so they were busy raising all of them!)

Recently, I was visiting my Mom and she had found some old albums. I, of course, wanted to look through them. She had found my Mom and Dad’s wedding album. I had only ever seen one photo from their wedding so I was excited to flip through the images from the day. I found two photos of Grandteddy I had never seen before from that day in that album…

I just stared at them and it brought tears to my eyes. I could see the resemblance of him in my dad and aunts and uncles, my sisters and my cousins. These are photos I will cherish forever of my sweet Grandteddy.

Additionally, I took these to my Nana who was placed in hospice care at 92 years old. She was not really eating or communicating. I showed her these photos I found of Grandteddy (who has been gone for 32 years now) and she smiled, laughed and grabbed the photos and just stared at them for many, many minutes. It was amazing and I was so happy that I could bring that joy to her! The power of having physical photos is incredible and to be cherished and not underestimated of their importance.

Just a few weeks later, my Nana passed away and was reunited with the Lord and my Grandteddy. At her funeral, I saw the below photo of her and my Grandteddy in college at Miami of Ohio. I had never seen this photo. As if I wasn’t emotional enough on that day, this photo brought so much JOY to me, and imagining them smiling like this at that moment in heaven! I am going to be re-printing this photo and framing it in my home ❤️

#3: Your memories are worth printing

Growing up, starting at about age 11, I always had an instant disposable camera with me with a built in flash. You know, those kind that had a roll of film in them and then you dropped them off at the camera store to be developed? (Side note: I loved this so much that my first job in high school was at a local camera store called Cord Camera, where I got to develop these images for other people!)  

This really started in middle school and I took pictures of everything: family, friends, parties, vacations…you name it. The excitement of getting those photos back from the lab was the best! (Yes, I was and am still a nerd and get the most excitement of seeing the images I’ve captured🤓). I would then place all of the photos into albums.

Over the years, I accumulated quite a few albums between 6th grade and high school graduation…

I still go through these albums and love it every time. Sometimes I am looking for a specific photo, and along the way I get nostalgic looking at the rest.

Great example: these photos below are around the time my baby sister, Ayri, was born in 2001. She just turned 18 and just graduated high school and I recently captured her senior portraits. (P.S. WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?!)

The nostalgia in these photos is incredible: that 10lb baby sister the day she was born, my wildly attractive braces, my other younger sister, Olivia, in her teletubbies bib and fashion-forward bangs, and my older sister, Lindsey, in jean overalls with her eyes half shut (this is still the norm for her😂) brings back memories and makes us all smile when reminiscing about this time in our lives.

My favorite trip I have ever taken was when I went to Italy for 9 days in high school with my class in 2004. This was the time that digital photography was JUST coming out. I remember a few of the other students had these bulky but simple point-and-shoot digital cameras that had a 2-inch screen and shot a whopping 3 megapixels. I took my film camera, as we didn’t have a digital camera yet, and captured 16 rolls of film and placed them in these albums…

These albums are now falling apart, literally. But I still cherish them!
Photos from the Isle of Capri – my FAVORITE place we visited!

One of my dreams is to travel back to Italy someday and re-capture all of these photos (plus many more!) with my fancy-schmancy DSLR camera 😍 Someday, I will make this trip!

As you can see in these albums, they are not holding up the best over time. I did my best to choose higher quality albums to insert my lab-printed photos into, but the options for higher quality printed albums just were not available.

When I travel back someday to re-capture this trip, I will definitely be preserving them in one of the high quality heirloom albums (the same ones that I offer my clients).  

#4: Printing my photos brings me tremendous joy every day!

I practice what I preach – I print my photos!

YES, I print and display photos throughout my house and they bring me joy every single day when I walk by them on the walls in my home.

In my home, I have what I call my “Instagram wall” in my entryway. Every couple of months, I print new photos from my Instagram feed of the candid moments in my life that bring me joy. Some of the photos I keep up longer (like the image of my niece when she was just a baby and she is flicking me off 😂 That one will bring me joy for a longggg time). My point is that when you have your photos displayed on your wall or in an album on your coffee table where it’s easy to look through, it brings joy to your day reflecting on those memories.

Speaking of my niece, Lucy (again)…

My sister, Lindsey, is amazing at so many things…but printing photos and memories is not one of them. Lucky for her, she has me! 😉

I take photos of Lucy regularly and of course capture her annual family photos each year around her birthday (Halloween!). Then for Christmas, I print a yearbook of sorts of all of the photos from the year.

I want Lucy (and my sister and brother-in-law), to have this time in their lives preserved to be able to look back on some day.

#5: You deserve high quality heirlooms

You deserve it! And so do your children and future grandchildren.

One of the many reason I offer high quality heirloom products to my clients is because I am so passionate about offering you to have your photos preserved and displayed, just as I do!

Let’s talk about quality for a second.

As you saw in the albums of mine above, quality matters. As a teenager, I wasn’t as aware (or cared really) at the quality but just wanted them printed. As I have learned with my albums that are falling apart…QUALITY MATTERS!

Below is an example of some OLD photos of my grandparents (Nana and Gramps, my other set of grandparents) that my mom found. The “regular” paper print (on the right) of my Nana is actually in pretty great shape because my mom preserved it well. The one of both of them (on the left) is a matted print and printed on thick mat board (just like the prints that I offer!) This one has held up over the years incredibly well.

Another great example is a family heirloom of ours. This image of my grandparents’ house (the one my mom grew up in and we grew up visiting) with their Westie dog, Dolly, sitting in the front yard. We all loved and adored this house and it was a very emotional day when we had to sell it. This is a cherished house and framed print of this specific image (that they had turned into a painting). It has been around for decades. In fact, if you scroll to the first photo of this blog post, you will see it on the wall in the background (it’s easy to miss when your eye goes right to my hysterical crying, haha). But THIS image is printed and framed by a very high quality frame and it will (continue) to last for generations to come. I have done extension research and ordered too many samples to count when choosing the framing options that I offer to my clients.

#6: I tried to be like everyone else…it didn’t work out

I don’t want to be just an average photographer who has a billion one-time clients or tries to get as many clients as possible for a cheap price. My goal is NOT to have as many clients as possible. When your goal is this, you also spend as little time with each one as possible so that you can move to the next one. This never felt right or genuine to who I am. I am passionate about building long-lasting relationships with my clients and becoming more like family than just another number and photographer that you call once a year for your awkward family photos. I want to offer you the best quality, unique-to-you, full-service photography. You can trust that I will spend the time getting to know your family and what your long-term goal is for the images we will capture together. My passion is capturing genuine, real and raw emotion of you and your loved ones. And then offering you heirloom quality print products that only professional photographers have access to.

THIS is where my heart and soul and passion is and I am so excited to share it with you!

Now that you know what inspires me…

How do I reflect my passion for high quality photography exactly? What does it look like to work with me?

  • Client Questionnaire →  first, I’ve created a custom questionnaire to get to know you better and what it is you’re looking for in your photography experience.
  • Free phone consult →  then, to learn even more about you, we hop on a 15 minute phone call to chat and see if we would be a good fit to work together. We would book your session during this call.
  • In-person pre-session planning meeting → where we talk about your session and all of the details. I also show you all of the heirloom product samples to touch and feel to get a better idea of what products you would like to preserve your memories with, and this helps me to be sure to capture images that fit with that idea.
  • Personal cell phone number → I highly encourage you to text me questions anytime, including outfit ideas that I can help you to give feedback on what works best.
  • Outfit selection tool →  (think personal stylist + personal shopper all in one) to remove the stress of having to pick out the perfect outfits for your session (a premium service called Style & Select, offered to you at no charge!)
  • Location research → I spend a lot of time researching the perfect location for your individual session. I even visit the location prior to your session to make sure the landscape and lighting is perfect during the time of year.
  • Fun, stress-free session  → I promise that we will have so much fun and laughter that at the end you will be saying, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought…it was actually pretty fun!” 😉
  • Reveal and ordering session → approximately 2-3 weeks after your session, I come to your home and we review a slideshow of your images. I help you to choose your favorites and assist you in choosing the perfect heirloom products. We will measure and design wall art to fit your home and space to display your images.
  • Only the best products → there are hundred of products out there to print your memories with. I have spent the time and done the extensive research for you and only offer the best and highest quality of heirloom products.
  • Hand delivered heirloom products → I will personally deliver your heirloom photo products to your home and help you install any wall art if desired.

On top of all of that, I am constantly feeding my passion for learning and growing as a photographer. I regularly take courses to improve as a photographer and be the best that I can be for you! My inner-nerd loves this part of my job 🤓

So, there you have it! This is my WHY and why I do what I do and consider myself blessed and honored to have this as my “job”. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning and the journey of my life that has brought me to this amazing career as a photographer in Indianapolis.

Want to learn more or have questions about photography or how to schedule your next session? Don’t ever hesitate to contact me: via email at mallory@malmophotography.com or via Instagram (@malmophoto or my personal instagram is @malloryjdavis1). I will ALWAYS respond and I love hearing from you!  

With love as always,