Posed photography drives me nuts. There. I said it. I know some very talented photographers who do great work with posing, and in no way do I want to diminish what they do. However, posed photography bothers me because it’s not real.
Real is muddy, messy, laughter, hair out of place and play. It is a spontaneous dance with your love, cuddles on the front porch, an even spent with a beer and a board game. Real is holding back tears of joy as you walk down the aisle. It’s beautiful. Real is perfect. Real is often messy.
And, mess matters. Mess Matters, because what are your kids going to remember when they look at that perfectly posed, not a hair out of place, clothes pristinely pressed family pictures? It’s likely not laughter, fun, and a enjoyable time spent as a family that they’ll be remembering.
Kids aren’t perfect, parents aren’t perfect, and trying to project this image of the perfect family or perfect couple with the yearly Christmas card only perpetuates the futile comparison game.
Think about this. What pictures are you more likely to display on your walls for years and years and years? Are they the posed pictures lacking personality, or are they the images with the special look of your love? One of your newborn’s fingers? That quiet moment before you walked down the aisle?
When you look back at candid family pictures of a grandmother, aunt, brother, father, etc., what is it that you remember? Do you notice a possibly messy kitchen? Toys on the floor? Flour on their face? Or do you see someone you love dearly, and remember moments gone by?
Let the Kids be Kids
Let the kids be kids. The kids will do their own thing, so let them. Allow them to run, let them play, let them sit quietly with a book, or hide behind your leg. Let the kids be kids, and you be you. Interact with your family, get in on that play, and don’t be afraid of a little mess. We are the most beautiful when we’re the least perfect, so don’t let the dishes in the sink or the carpet that needs vacuuming keep you from documenting and remembering life as it actually is, not as you posed it to be.
You might be thinking this is all easy for me to say – I’m the photographer, not the one in the pictures – but, I meant every word, and I live every word of this. If you look at the images I share of myself, my family, you won’t find them carefully orchestrated and posed. They’re in the moment, relaxed and real. And if you do find one where we’re looking at the camera, I didn’t contemplate how my hair looked beforehand or tilt my head just so – I jumped into the picture and smiled.
Join me. Let the kids be kids, you be you, and let’s document your real life.