Letting go of perfection - as both the client and the photographer

A little while a go, Mandii Jones from Xanthe Photography wrote her first guest blog piece for us... and we loved it!  She has been at it again - thanks Mandii!  This time Mandii talks about letting go of "perfection"... because those other moments in between are actually so much better!  I will pop links to Mandii's work at the bottom - all photos in this pieces are Mandii's
Katrina x

Letting go of perfection - as both the client and the photographer

Often when we hire a family photographer or head into a photo session ourselves as the photographer, we can't help but have images in our mind... of the kinds of photos that we want. We can have really high hopes. We might be able to envision exactly what we want, a sunny day, everyone looking and smiling, picture perfect surrounds. There's no trace of boogers, hair is en pointe and the kids are so joyful they look like they are at Dreamworld. Right? No wonder we get nervous.

From a client's perspective it is a reasonable expectation. Hiring a family photographer is normally a significant investment. On top of that, you've most likely purchased new clothes, or had your hair done especially (goodbye frizz!) You are probably quietly freaking out about how your children are going to behave, and what if the whole thing is a waste of money. What if in fact, it's less Dreamworld smiles.. and more er hmm... tantrum in the toy aisle at Kmart?

Australian business, Australian photography, Australian Photographer, photographer usbs, photographer promotional materials, branded usbs, customised usbs

From a photographer's perspective,we really want to create a stunning image for your family. It's just absolutely what we love to do. It's the bees knees.. the most amazing feeling. We want you to love your photos and have an enjoyable time with us.
.

But here's what I've learnt along the way as a photographer. While I was so busy trying to create these 'perfect' photos for my families.... there were these other photos.. these less perfect.. imperfect moments that cried out to me. For a time I didn't listen, I refused to press the shutter unless I was convinced everything was just right. And in doing so, I wonder how many fun, vibrant and beautifully messy images I might have missed taking for families.

Because here is the thing... life is not perfect. Your family is not perfect. My family is definately not perfect (oh where do I start?). Sometimes it rains. Sometimes the mozzies eat you alive. Sometimes your adorable toddler faceplants in the ocean before we even start. Sometimes they manage to stand in that one bit of dog poo, cow poo (insert any kind of poo here really) and yeah.. it even finds its way onto the front of their new trousers.

Australian business, Australian photography, Australian Photographer, photographer usbs, photographer promotional materials, branded usbs, customised usbs

But guess what? I'm here to tell you it's ok. It really is. Things don't have to go to plan. In fact, we should try to accept that they won't. And when we let go of our idea of perfection, we create a space for real, one of a kind, beautiful images of our families and kids. Images that are an authentic reflection of us at that time.

Sand on your child's face can be beautiful.. as is windswept hair.. and the fact you had to take their shirt off because they went swimming a little earlier than you thought. Dusty little hands full of treasures they have picked up for you. Oh my goodness.. one day they stop doing this guys! I want photos of that. Little grazed knees.. and that one bit of sticky up hair that no amount of hair gel can tame. Wild curls that refuse to stay in their plaits. Funky grins, you know the ones.. where there are either not enough teeth or just way too many big and gappy teeth. Laughing too loud.. laughing too much.. with big open mouths. Pouting. All these things.. are immensely beautiful in their imperfect way.

Australian business, Australian photography, Australian Photographer, photographer usbs, photographer promotional materials, branded usbs, customised usbs

When a potential client has been following my work they sometimes say... "oh I just love that photo of yours where... " This is usually followed by me saying.. "oh my gosh, let me tell you the funny story behind that". You see, it is probably one of those photos that wasn't supposed to be taken, most likely completely unposed. I'd probably already spent a good ten minutes beforehand trying to get what I thought would be the 'perfect' shot. And yet, it ends up being a photo that people love, and that other people talk about. One I can't possibly recreate because it's so uniquely theirs.
.
Isn't this what we all want at the end of the day? Our stories told? Our beautiful truth. Not a second-rate version of someone elses? So I challenge you - as both a photographer, or as a client, when you go into your next session, try and let go of your idea of perfection. You just may be suprised at what you can all create together. I've put together some tips to help you.
.
Australian business, Australian photography, Australian Photographer, photographer usbs, photographer promotional materials, branded usbs, customised usbs
.
As a client.
.
1. Hands down the most important thing you can do here, is to choose the right photographer for your family. There are so many photographers out there, this is not an easy task. Invest some time into your search until you find one that you feel suits you and will understand your family.
2. Stop worrying about things - your house does not need to be Pinterest worthy and neither does your clothing. Sure these things look nice... and hey... I like a tidy house... but you want things to 'feel nice' too right? Appreciate what is happening in the moment and the other things won't matter quite so much.
3. Be prepared - have snacks, have drinks, have a bandaid, have mummy and daddy kisses ready to go at any point
4. Relax and enjoy your time with your family. Go into holiday mode - enjoy your time together, look at your family again with fresh eyes and see how wonderful they are! Have a positive attitude. Nothing brings a photo session to it's knees like a stressed out mum or dad.
5. Trust your photographer, listen to them and their advice. They do this all the time. If they tell you 10 am at that location isn't going to work.. listen to them. They 'get it'.
.
Australian business, Australian photography, Australian Photographer, photographer usbs, photographer promotional materials, branded usbs, customised usbs
.
As a photographer.
.
1. Educate your families. Before they book in with you, let them know the kind of photographer you are and the kind of things you will be looking for. Make sure you are the right fit for each other.
2. Be prepared - have a first aid kit, bite cream, a blanket/towel for those "oh you went swimming already?" moments.
3. Learn how to shoot in all different kinds of light - we all have our safe zone. Stretch it. Explore hard light, back light, low light, overcast days. Then when that perfect 'moment' occurs in less than perfect light, you can still capture it.
4. Have a rough plan or vision but recognise that each family is unique. Every single person is unlike any other you have photographed before. Isn't that mindblowing? Especially the little ones. They don't all like the same games or jokes.. so don't rely on them. Allow yourself enough time to connect and time for the what ifs. Then break down the barriers- open up to your families. No one is going to relax and be themselves in front of you if you can't do the same.
5. Be ready. Press the shutter on those less than perfect but unique moments. So you might do a limb chop, or you might miss focus. They might be racing at you so fast you worry you might not get it. So what? Take the risk. Chances are, they are going to love it.
.
Australian business, Australian photography, Australian Photographer, photographer usbs, photographer promotional materials, branded usbs, customised usbs
.
Want to check out more of Mandii's beautiful work?
website

1 comment

  • Yay!

    Mandii

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published