details vs. moments?

There's something that's been on my mind for quite some time now and I need to give it a voice. It's the direction I see family (and wedding) photography going.

Recently I came across a photo session of a little girls second birthday.  Out of 30+ photos, only three had people in them.  The rest of the photos were banners, flowers, invitations, balloons, signs, donkeys, etc.   Where were the proud parents, the melting down two year olds, the messy cake eating?  Where was life?  In this new world of consumerism have we traded capturing moments for capturing details or life perfected.


I got into photography because I wanted to capture my son authentically.  I wanted to remember the good, bad and everything in between.  The reason I started photographing other families was the same.  I want to capture how your child eats strawberries, how they light up when they're proud, how they run wildly.  I want to capture your weekly trips to the coffee shop, snuggle sessions or pizza parties.  I want to photograph what makes families unique, because at the end of the day, or my life, I want to look at a photograph of Lucca, and know why I took that photo.  I'm trying to preserve moments, because they are fleeting and one day Lucca won't need me to push him on that swing.


So, why am I writing this?  Because I'm a struggling photographer who is frustrated with consumerism.  Don't get me wrong, I definitely try to get my clients to look their best when we have a session, have outfits that coordinate with one another.  But once those outfits are on, I try to photograph them being a family.  And for me, being a family doesn't always mean saying "cheese" into a camera.  Being a family in our house is messy, chaotic, fun, loving and quirky.  Why I'm writing this is because I know I can't be alone, yet when I look online, I see so many overly posed, propped and perfect photos. I know my clients are out there. They want their Saturday morning documented, not because it's prefect but because it's special to their family.


Lastly I'll share this.  For Lucca's first birthday I went to the nines.  I made the banners, the cupcake toppers, pinwheels, masks, the whole shebang.  When I look back now, 4 years later, I don't care one bit about those photos.  I look at the ones of him with cake smothered all over his face, the small moments with his grandparents, the excitement of getting a tricycle.  All this to say, that I too got caught up in the Pinterest frenzy.  But for what?  The photos I treasure are all fragments in time and each one brings back a specific memory.


I'm passionate about what I do, which is why I'm saying this out loud.  This is what I want to be doing, this is what I think I was meant to do, hopefully I have many more moments to capture!