letting go of perfection // a “day in the life” photography session

Isn’t it fascinating how difficult it can be to let go… Letting go of perfection, expectations, and the pressures we place on ourselves is HARD.  Yet, it isn’t until we truly let go that we are able to see what is waiting to be revealed.  And often times, it is actually perfect... the kind of perfect we can’t expect or control.  It just happens.

It is not uncommon for me to prepare my clients in this way.  It has become a mantra for my work.  I truly believe that the best moments happen when we have fully let go of pressures and expectations.  Not only are children most at ease when adults are at ease, but my best photographs also happen when I am able to get lost in my surroundings without worry. 

As I prepared for this session, however, something was different.  My client didn’t need a lick of advice or preparation.  She gets it.  She wrote me candidly about her life’s potential changes to come and how meaningful it will be to capture some special everyday moments with her 3 year old son.  She told me how she loves the way they snuggle up in her bed first thing in the morning, the way they lie on their bellies… she expressed how they love to cook together and explore their favorite hiking trail. 

As we brainstormed ideas and planned our session, I quickly realized that I was battling my inner perfectionist.  I was worrying about not having enough light in the bedroom at 8:30am and ending up outdoors when the sun is so harsh.  But, perfection is not the goal, here.  Instead, my goal is to be fully present in order to capture true “day in the life” moments as they naturally unfold on this ordinary day, regardless of when and where the light will be “best.”  It didn’t take long for me to step back and take my own advice.  I needed to let go.

And the result – a perfection that I could not have predicted, planned, or pre-visualized.  So, maybe this 3 year old was in “bad guy” mode on this particular day... and maybe he put his shirt on backwards... and maybe he fought the getting ready routine, which resulted in sporting his bed-head hair for the rest of the day.  And maybe there was barely enough light in the bedroom and we ended up shooting outdoors at nearly high noon.  And maybe it didn’t matter.  We chose to not let it matter. 

In all of its imperfection; it was pretty perfect.  And that is typically how it goes.

Day in the Life Photographs, Fine Art Documentary Photography
Day in the Life Photographs, Fine Art Documentary Photography
Day in the Life Photographs, Fine Art Documentary Photography
Day in the Life Photographs, Fine Art Documentary Photography
Day in the Life Photographs, Fine Art Documentary Photography
Day in the Life Photographs, Fine Art Documentary Photography
Day in the Life Photographs, Fine Art Documentary Photography
Day in the Life Photographs, Fine Art Documentary Photography
Day in the Life Photographs, Fine Art Documentary Photography
Day in the Life Photographs, Fine Art Documentary Photography
Day in the Life Photographs, Fine Art Documentary Photography
Day in the Life, Fine Art Documentary Photography

photography wall arrangement ideas & inspiration

A seasonal change always seems to align with our natural inclination to change, as well. For me personally, it's been about getting back to yoga, purging the excess "stuff" from our home, and simply finding new cute, modern throw pillows to freshen our living space. This Fall, I also naturally have photography on the mind and I'm feeling inspired to shake up the ordinary. Perhaps, your living space is also aching for a change and you have been trying to figure out what to do with your photographs.. Here's some inspiration for doing just that:

Idea I: A Casual, 'Organized yet Random' Wall Arrangement (with no fuss..)

This approach is perfect for wall arrangements that you hope to add to or change over time. In this case my client combined a wide selection of special photographs, from the photos I captured from her engagement session and wedding portraits/reception to their trip to Italy and their destination wedding/honeymoon in St. Lucia. I love that this wall arrangement is a focal point in their living space and celebrates their life before this little bugger came along..

Photography Wall Arrangement Inspiration
Photography Wall Arrangement Inspiration

Here's a few simple tips for how it was done:

1) Choose your favorite photos. Get a basic idea of what sizes will be needed to fill the space. Record the quantity of horizontals, verticals, and squares (and your preferred sizes for each). Go with your gut and feature your absolute favorite photographs as the largest prints in your display to act as the focal points.

2) Shop for frames that suit the photographs and coordinate with one another - similar color family, texture, etc. Bring home a few extra frames to play with the options. (Note: Professional matting/framing is always recommended for your professional wall prints, but ready-made frames are great for small prints and snapshots. I just discovered these handmade frames and can't wait to order more for a few of my small photographs.)

3) Simply lay out the framed photos on the floor and move them around until they feel balanced.

4) Transfer the frame layout from the floor to the wall. Surprisingly, my client reported that they just eye-balled the layout without measuring a thing! It may seem too easy, but this is the key to give the look of a casual, organized yet random wall arrangement.

Photography Wall Arrangement Inspiration

Idea II: A Gallery Wrapped Canvas (in a unique place):

I was so intrigued to see this canvas hung inside this stylish family's buffet cabinet / hutch. It is so perfect and untraditional. It really inspired me to think outside the box for new ways and different areas that can be decorated with photographs. So many people express that they do not have any wall space, but that's when we can get really creative..

Gallery Wrapped Canvas Display Idea
Gallery Wrapped Canvas Display Idea

For reference, the size of this canvas is 16" x 26."

It's such a treat to return to a client's home after some time has passed and see how they have displayed the photographs from our sessions together. Besides having total house envy, I am often so impressed with the finished result and how my photographs have been incorporated into their personal home decor. A huge thanks to my clients for allowing me to share their beautiful photography displays. I hope these examples and tips will help inspire ideas for incorporating your photographs (professional or personal) into your home decor. Have fun with it!

mother + daughter / lake michigan / love.

we met the last evening of July along the shores of Lake Michigan. we walked and talked among the beach grasses tucked away in the sand dunes. they wandered off together and danced. turned cartwheels. skipped along the water's edge. we let the cool water splash our bare feet as we soaked in the cotton candy pink sky. we moved slowly without hurry. we took it all in. this mother and daughter revealed to me their souls and adoration for each other in such a beautiful way that i was touched for many days and still many weeks later. their vibrant energy was purely infectious. each time i look at these photographs, my heart swells and i wish i could go back 21 years to have photographs like this taken with my mom, when i was 10. at this realization, i feel an entirely new level of appreciation for the sweet people and joyful memories that photography has added to my life. it only grows with time.

Lake Michigan Beach Family Photography ~ Relaxed, Documentary, Fine Art Portraits
Lake Michigan Beach Family Photography ~ Relaxed, Documentary, Fine Art Portraits
Lake Michigan Beach Family Photography ~ Relaxed, Documentary, Fine Art Portraits
Lake Michigan Beach Family Photography ~ Relaxed, Documentary, Fine Art Portraits
Lake Michigan Beach Family Photography ~ Relaxed, Documentary, Fine Art Portraits
Lake Michigan Beach Family Photography ~ Relaxed, Documentary, Fine Art Portraits
Lake Michigan Beach Family Photography ~ Relaxed, Documentary, Fine Art Portraits
Lake Michigan Beach Family Photography ~ Relaxed, Documentary, Fine Art Portraits
Lake Michigan Beach Family Photography ~ Relaxed, Documentary, Fine Art Portraits
Lake Michigan Beach Family Photography ~ Relaxed, Documentary, Fine Art Portraits
Lake Michigan Beach Family Photography ~ Relaxed, Documentary, Fine Art Portraits

hilton head island // family beach vacation photography

hilton head island, south carolina

mid-august

10 adults, 11 kids (ages 1.5 - 17)

one big beach house

and the atlantic ocean

beach. pool. beach. pool. bbq.

repeat.

need i say more?

Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography
Hilton Head Island Family Vacation Photography

when one of my dearest long-time California clients invited me to document their extended family beach vacation in south carolina ("a day in the life" style), it was an instant 'yes.' to be a fly on the wall photographer in such a relaxed setting is when i am most at home with my camera. lift the pressure and expectation from both parties (the subjects and the photographer) and that's when the best moments are captured and the quirky coolness comes out.. that's when the magic happens. this working vacation to hilton head island proved to be such a treasured highlight of my year - thanks again y'all!

if you would like me to photograph "a day in the life" of your family's next vacation, whether along the shores of Lake Michigan, in Southern California, or anyplace you can possibly dream up, call me. seriously. i love this. :)

hammock dreams // grand rapids newborn photography

it's no wonder why i've been loving my newborn photography sessions lately and feeling completely at ease as i drive away. i asked these new parents what they do at the end of the day to unwind with their new baby. without hesitation they responded with "relaxing together in the hammock".. so i invited them to do just that. i love when i can truly be a fly on the wall, capturing quiet, serene moments - a glimpse into a family's unique daily life. it is my hope that these photographs will only grow with meaning as the years go by, always holding close the emotions felt when their little girl was just 2 weeks old.

grand rapids, michigan newborn photography
grand rapids newborn photographer
grand rapids, michigan newborn photographer
grand rapids, michigan newborn photographer
grand rapids, michigan newborn photography
grand rapids baby photography