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Beauty in the Chaos: Photography That Captures Real Life with Kids


In my quest to improve my photography, particularly when it comes to photos of my kids, I've read lots of tutorials on ideal lighting, getting natural smiles, choosing coordinating outfits, and finding a perfect location.

There's lots of wonderful information out there, but nothing I've read made me stop in my tracks like the series of blog posts I recently stumbled upon.

These posts were created by photographers, and their approach to kid photography is not what you'd expect.


First, I read this post by Cami of the Tidbits blog...

which led me to the Lindsay Ross Blog...

which led me to this page, which is where the idea began.

If you don't feel like clicking on the links, I'll just tell you. A group of photographers created a page called "Kids Were Here" and uploaded photos that captured all of the messes, silliness, and everyday chaos that life with kids entails.

And their photos inspired me to take some of my own.


They completely changed my perspective on what makes a "great" kid photo. Suddenly, I started looking differently at the little lined up dolls and spilled Rainbow Loom rubber bands in the house.

I started pausing before rushing to put things away, and getting out my camera instead.


That doesn't mean I started to love our mess.

Believe me, there are plenty of days (today included) when I grit my teeth at the books and markers that tumble out of the van door when I open it, and the tiny legos and doll accessories that always end up embedded in my bare heels, and the dirty socks I'm constantly pulling from various nooks and crannies throughout the house.


I still get annoyed when I have to ask my girls 40 times to clean up their rooms or to get their clothes IN the hamper or to stop making forts out of the sheets I just washed.


But ever since I discovered those posts, I've been looking at the chaos around my house a little differently. Rather than only using my camera for those perfect-lit, well-coiffed, well-coordinated moments, I'm getting it out to capture the everyday stuff...the stuff I'm going to miss when the house starts staying cleaner longer, and when it's eerily quiet on Saturday mornings and Tuesday afternoons.


There will come a day when I'm no longer taking this pile of "5 fluffies and a bear" back to Brynn's room because she'll no longer be bringing it all out to the couch with her when she wakes up.

And there will come a day when Sydney will want to read in her room with the door shut instead of "wherever everyone else is."


I've stopped waiting for the perfect photos ops, and started noticing that they're everywhere.

Someday when I'm living in a cleaner, less chaotic, toy-free house, I want to look back and remember exactly what it was like when kids were here. I'll remember that it was messy, and a little infuriating at times, but also really fun.

PS: Even if you don't have time right now, you really should look through the photos in the links I sent you. They are beautiful and a lot better than mine!

A series of blog posts inspired me to re-think the way I photograph my kids. Instead of looking for coordinating outfits and perfect smiles, I've learned to appreciate the beautiful photo ops in our beautiful, chaotic everyday life!

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Dave Carl

Thursday 6th of December 2018

>I’ve stopped waiting for the perfect photos ops, and started noticing that they’re everywhere.

This is something I wish I'd realized sooner, but I'm glad I at least figured it out before my kids were completely grown up.

Erin H.

Wednesday 18th of May 2016

Wow, I love this! One day, we will think these messes are really cute. Thanks for the idea, I'm going to add this to my memory making :)


Wednesday 23rd of September 2015

Hey Alyssa, What a great post! Loved the photos and the concept. I wonder how well this would translate to grown-up messes....hmmm...probably not! Thanks for the fun idea.


Thursday 24th of September 2015

Hahahahaha! No, somehow I don't think I'd ever find the beauty in my dirty dishes in the sink. :)

Alice Wagner

Wednesday 23rd of September 2015

This was a great blog with so much meaning. Loved it. Wearing the roller skates while reading was "way too cute"


Thursday 24th of September 2015

Thanks, Alice! They were completely obsessed with roller skating IN the house for a while. :)


Wednesday 23rd of September 2015

Hey Alyssa,

Thanks so much for linking to my blog. Isn't that the coolest idea ever?! Totally stopped me in my tracks too when I stumbled on that idea of "Kids were here". It completely changed my perspective on how I viewed the little things left behind by my little people! Glad you found me!


Wednesday 23rd of September 2015

I'm glad I found you, too! Your photos are beautiful, and really inspiring.

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