Beauty in the Chaos

I had a session recently that reminded me why I chose “Beauty in the Chaos” to describe the style of documentary family films and photography that I have. I’m not sure about everyone, but most people I know (myself included) feel like motherhood came with a whole lot more chaos than expected. I know that if I forget to stop and look for the beauty in my days, I can get so wrapped up in what is not going well - the house is a disaster, I feel like I lack parenting skills, and I can drown in whatever challenges the kids are currently throwing at me. But I know there is SOOO much more than that. First, I want you to watch this short family film from the session I did recently. I see nothing but beauty, family love, and parents working hard. However, during the session, I know the parents were worried about how the kids were behaving and how things felt like they weren’t going to lead to photos and film worth cherishing. After the film, you can read below about the Mom’s perspective.

“I was excited to do a family film. We take photos on the daily, get professional family photos done but we forget to take video and we miss out on those special little details only film can express. After seeing our beautiful film by Shirley I was completely blown away. She managed to put together a lovely piece for our family to cherish for a lifetime. The few hours Shirley was in our home things of course didn’t go according to plan. In the center of the chaos, Shirley’s patience and understanding helped keep me at ease. I was worried the film wasn’t going to be how I anticipated it to be. To my surprise Shirley somehow put together a beautiful story (real life) of our family with such a light and full of love. Thank you Shirley for such a gift!”

Day in the Life photos and family films are quite new in the professional photography world and I definitely don’t see very many Calgary family photographers taking this approach yet. I’m not going to lie, it can be a hard sell! Having been on the other side of the camera for a few Day in the Life photo sessions with my own family over the past year, I can take a guess at what some of the barriers are for other people. It goes against what we usually think about when we think about family photos - getting dressed up, looking our best, everyone smiling at the camera, kids on their best behaviour (or parents completely stressed if they’re not). I did a quick survey on Instagram a couple weeks ago to hear other people’s voices on what holds them back from booking a documentary family photo session and the responses were similar to what my own fears had been - self-confidence, crazy hair, messy house, and judgement. That last one hit me the hardest because it is one that people less often express to me and yet I think has a lot of value and depth to it. It is tough to be a Mom in today’s world. We are under so much pressure and I think it is easy to doubt our own approach to parenting. There is no one right way to do things and on top of that every kid is different, and yet it feels easy to get caught up in comparisons or to wonder if the whole world is looking at you wondering what on earth you’re doing. At least that’s how I feel at times. And I think that plays into the fear of judgement. To let someone into the most intimate part of our lives, at home alone with our family, I think it is very normal to be concerned about being judged. I know when I think about the idea of having a fly on the wall, half the time it would stress me out as I’d imagine they’d cringe at the majority of parenting decisions I make, and the other half of the time I’d be wishing they’d just jump in and tell me how to parent because I’m lost and unsure. BUT, don’t worry - I won’t do either of those things to you.

I can promise you, I will not judge. I don’t have motherhood figured out AT ALL and I also completely respect all the decisions we each have to make for our own kid(s) - I wholeheartedly believe that every parent is just trying their absolute best. And whatever challenges your kid(s) throw at you during a Day in the Life session, I can guarantee it’ll feel like a mini escape from my own chaos to be able to just focus on capturing the love and beauty within yours. I know those words alone are not enough to have complete trust in a new person, but if you are unsure or uneasy, I would love to get on the phone and chat further. As part of my pre-session questionnaire, I try to understand fears going into a session as well as what you most want captured (or anything you don’t). It was beyond rewarding for me to hear this Mom’s words after viewing her film - especially around feeling my patience and understanding. I am always so aware of the fact that I am entering into people’s personal home life and that it can be feel VERY vulnerable. I ask you to be just as you are and embrace the chaos - and that sounds scary, but it is also completely satisfying and liberating. By just being real and trusting me to enter your world, I promise to show you the beauty in the chaos within your own family!