It was 3:30 a.m. yesterday as I started to write this post. The baby woke up, and then she went back to sleep, but I could not. There have been thoughts flying through my head and heart that have been present for a while. And no matter how messy or possibly even offensive they may be to some- I feel led to share them.
Thomas and I love our jobs. I want to lead this very honest post with that. We are let into some of the most special moments of one of the most special days of the lives of the couples who choose us as their photographers. There are couples we have met and moments we have been present for that I will never forget. There are other peoples’ memories that we have captured, that I will look back on, as an 80-year-old woman, with a lifetime of memories of my own, and still smile as I think about them. I have made some amazing friends- even some lifelong friends who we will raise our children alongside- photographing weddings. We are so blessed by this job and this business.
But I have to be honest. There is a habit in our industry…A habit that I think is exhausting and draining and even sometimes a little dishonest. There is a habit of painting a perfect life – a life in which all images are pristine, clean, perfectly-lit, with beautiful backgrounds, with well-dressed husbands and always perfectly-clean children, with trendy clothes, in a gorgeous house, in an amazing city or along a beautiful countryside – a life out of a picture book. I mean we’re photographers, right? Even our Instagram and Facebook photos should look like perfection. And even the everyday iPhone photos should be a fairytale.
Well guys. I’m here to tell you…I’m here to scream it from the mountaintops. That’s not my reality. My every day is not photo-ready perfection.
My little 1960’s duplex is not pristine, nor is it picture-perfect. On more days than not, if you ring my doorbell you’ll find toys scattered through my somewhat cramped living room. As you walk past my sweet, hopefully fully-clothed child, who will probably try to escape through the front door as I let you in, you will most likely crunch a few Cheerios that I’ve given her to keep her happy so I can catch ten to fifteen minutes of work while she’s entertained, under your feet as you walk through my hallway. You’ll likely step over a pile of laundry or two as I lead you through our little home, and there may be dishes in the sink when you stick your head in the kitchen. The grand tour of the living room, kitchen/laundry room, bathroom, two bedrooms and once-porch-now-enclosed-office area, will take all of two or threes minutes, and you might question how in the world this is enough space for three people, two dogs and a growing business.
But guys- it works. And more often than not, we are happy and content.
But we do not live every day, every moment in between weddings and photo shoots, in a pristine photo-ready world. And I can’t tell you how good it feels to put that out there into Instagram and Facebook Land.
Our reality is modest. We are doing our best, in a world full of photographers – some who paint pretty pictures of their perfect lives for the world, and maybe even some who actually lead picture-perfect lives and share them with the world – to be us. I’ve always tried to be real here. And this is something I have been struggling with as I watch some of my peers in the industry post and share their lives day by day, sometimes even leaving me feeling inferior because my life isn’t as “pretty” as theirs is in photos. But my life, with crunched Cheerios under my feet, a giggling toddler with dried yogurt on her face running through my living room, piled-up laundry, dirty dishes in my sink, a slightly cramped house and a husband at the computer working through the madness until it’s my turn for some office time, is special. My everyday life may not win me any photo contests or get me 2,000 Instagram followers, but it’s mine. It’s good and modest and honest. It may not be pretty all of the time. There are plenty of difficult, stress-filled, messy days when things don’t go perfectly. There are plenty of days when I don’t get it right. I don’t make the best choice or say the perfect words. But in this somewhat messy, not-picture-perfect, daily life, I’m living and working beside my best friend and husband as we raise our daughter. We don’t have a giant house. We don’t live a life of beautiful backgrounds and perfect photo opps. And we certainly don’t have it all figured out. But I am working on, no matter how average the background in my everyday photos may look, making sure that all three of the faces and hearts that fill them are out-of-this-world happy.
I am going to work harder at sharing the average not picture-perfectly pristine photos with you on Facebook and Instagram. Because real life, in its messiness and chaos and honesty, is more beautiful than the most pristine and perfect facade. I truly believe that the messy moments are sometimes when the most beautiful memories, moments and lives are made. #MessyEveryDayLife – Watch for it. And I hope you’ll join me. I hope you’ll share your messy moments. I believe your messy everyday life is beautiful too.