Now that February is almost over I am finally getting around to putting together my compilation post for last years’s Sham of the Perfect Project.  2016 was our second full year as a collective and I am just blown away at the growth we’ve each made, the press we received last year, the amazing talent of this group and the beauty we captured in our everyday lives. It’s pretty powerful to scroll back through an entire year’s worth of images. It reminds me why this work we’re doing as photographers is so important. Here are just a few of many reasons I want to share about why to hire a Sham photographer (or other documentary photographer).

1.Life changes fast.

It may not feel like it in the day to day when you are so entrenched in the busyness of it all, but if you look back on your kids over the course of a year you can really see how much they change. Their hair changes, their chubby baby cheeks start to fade. Freckles fade. Teeth fall out. Teeth grow in. The toys they tote around as favorites become lost to the bottom of the toy basket in favor of some new electronic device. And your home changes too- updates, seasonal changes, major remodels. I love looking back on pictures of my children in their rooms when they were younger. My teenager’s rooms look completely different now and express a whole different personality and help tell the story of who they are. I barely recognize pictures of our cozy kitchen before we were able to remodel it this past year. It’s easy to look at your life and take for granted that things will stay more or less the same. Nope.

2. You will forget.

Trust me. I’m staring down college and one end and kindergarten on the other. But it was just yesterday that my days were spent feeding toddlers and planning playdates in the park between nap schedules. And all those late-night or early morning feedings, hours spent nursing beautiful babies to sleep in my arms, willing myself to imprint their precious, soft faces in THIS EXACT moment on my brain forever….. well, they’re quite hazy. Of course I have the impressions of what it was like, but I wish I had more. I wish I had known someone with a great artistic eye and technical skill with a camera who could have captured those fleeting, everyday moments for me and my family before it was too late. I wish I had photographs and books to help tell the story of those early years of motherhood, of our family.

3. It’s not for you. It’s for them.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s absolutely important for us mamas to have pictures of ourselves with our families (get in the picture!), and I believe photographing our everyday can be an excellent tool for gratitude and learning how to see beauty in our lives. Many of my clients choose my work because they recognize the importance of existing in pictures- not just the pretty posed ones that don’t show a thing about your family’s personality or connections, but the ones that reveal a bit more about who you really are. I can look at a picture of my grandmother and remember her hand gestures, how it felt to hug her, what her laugh sounded like. All the small details that made her who she was. I want my kids to be able to look back on their family pictures and find vignettes that paint a picture far beyond what we looked like with a smile and a nice outfit. I want them to see what makes us US, and to be able to show their own kids someday what their life felt like growing up.

4. Your daily life matters

The things that make up our lives, that shape us and our families the most are the small, daily things we do over and over again in our homes. We tend to want to photograph big events and occasions, and that’s important too. But what about the hard work of the everyday- tending and feeding children, doing laundry, making meals, making home, comforting each other, laughing and crying and playing and just BEING together in the unique world you call HOME? A good documentary photographer can find the best light and angle and moment to tell your unique story. Every family has such a unique culture, and documenting that is one of the most important things I can think of doing with my art.

5. “Perfect” is not that interesting.

There’s a saying all over the internet these days that Real is the new Perfect. Actually, I think it’s even better. We are absolutely inundated with lovely images showing us what our life could look like if we were more organized, had a nicer couch, did these 5 ab exercises every day, did this cute craft with our kids and learned how to contour our faces with makeup. We have been trained to think that a moment isn’t worth sharing, much less-capturing, if it isn’t Pinterest-worthy. And that goes for our selves and our homes as well. In 10 years, 15 years, 20 years when you look back through your album from a documentary session, you won’t see mismatched bedding or a basket of laundry in the corner, you will see a home full of love and connection and maybe just wish for a moment to relive one of those days before your child left home. Real life is enough. YOU are enough, just the way you are.

What do you think? Are you ready to start planning your storytelling session? If so, get in touch and let’s talk about it.

In the mean time, enjoy this look back on 2016 in The Uhlerhaus. What a beautiful year it was.

Make sure you stop by to see some of the other Sham of the Perfect Compilation posts here: Robin, Elisa, Natasha, GemmaCelina