How many of you instinctively tell everyone to ‘smile!’ when taking a photo? How often does that result in frustration or disappointment – those being photographed become bored of remaining still, and those photographing become frustrated that they can’t capture the ‘perfect smile’. And how often does it result in an obviously forced ‘fake smile’? What happens if you challenge yourself on the idea of a perfect photo, and let go of ‘perfect’ expectations? What happens if you just put everyone together, but then just let them BE. It’s usually in those moments that their real personalities are able to shine through, and you can capture who they really are. Even with my own family photos, I’ve had to let go of my expectation to get that one perfect smiling photo. I have four kids, and so getting that shot is very challenging (especially with my 7 year old involved!). Since I’ve let go of that ideal, I’ve found that perfection is what you make of it. It’s the story of who people are and their connections with each other. I’ll forever look back on photos of our family with someone’s bottom in the air, or someone pulling a funny face (usually the 7 year old!), someone slightly out of frame – but that’s all real life! It’s personality and beautiful chaos! It makes me smile when I look back on them, and makes me remember what life was really like.

Everyone has a different definition of what makes the ‘perfect photo’, and different reasons for wanting to book a photo shoot and have their memories captured. There is no right or wrong in what makes a perfect photo as it’s all subjective. For me, I don’t go into a photo shoot aiming to get everyone smiling and looking at the camera. Although we all might like some of those, for me the perfect image really tells a story and shows real emotion rather than posed, stiff smiles. I want to capture YOU! I don’t want you to worry about looking ‘perfect’ or worry about all your children giving proper smiles. For me, a perfect photo doesn’t even need to be a smiling one! There are so many different sides to who we are, and I think it’s beautiful to capture those emotions – even (and sometimes especially) those serious ones. I want to capture a connection between you – the hugs, the kisses, the laughter, love and fun. I don’t want you to worry about who is looking at the camera and who isn’t, who is smiling ‘properly’ and who is giving their best fake cheesy grin! When you look at your images, I want you to remember the feelings and emotion – I want you to being able to look back on that not just now, but in many years from now when things have changed and the kids have grown. I don’t want you to think about whether the photo has everyone smiling and looking at the camera – I want you to look at your images and think about which ones make you FEEL the most. Which one tells a story. One example for me is photos of my children with Father Christmas. Every year I get them, and often the people taking the photo will desperately try to get my kids to look at the camera and smile. But those aren’t the images I love. The ones I remember and love are the ones that tell a story. The year that my 18 month old daughter was too scared to sit on his knee, so sat on the floor in front of him and played with the baubles while we sneakily took a photo; the year that my 2 year old son was too scared and so I had to sit there too, but he was still scared and was screaming and hugging his teddy; the year that my youngest was fascinated by his beard and kept looking up at him and smiling. I don’t need them to all look and smile for me to think the photo is perfect. It’s all a part of the story, and that’s what I love about photography and capturing memories. Below are some examples of how beautiful a photo can be, even when no one is smiling and looking at the camera.

If you’d like to capture some ‘perfect’ memories for yourself, then please Contact me here.