I take bad photos.

There. I said it.

Last month I was invited to take photos of some local soccer families. One of the moms reluctantly stepped in front of my camera and professed that she never looks good in photos. In an effort to console her, I replied, “I don’t take bad photos”. As soon as those words came out I wanted to catch them and shove them back in my mouth, or burn them, or stomp the crap out of them. I hated how untrue they were and how conceited they sounded. I’m here to set the record straight. I take bad photos. All the time. It’s true.

Sometimes it’s a lighting issue, sometimes it’s a bad pose, sometimes it’s a technical issue, sometimes it’s the subject, sometimes it’s a idea that was cute in my head…but weird in real life. There are a multitude of variables that can make a photo turn out wonky. I study and try very hard to minimize those variables, but despite my best efforts, they still happen.

This is where I make those I love, the sacrificial lambs. Turn away if you must.

Image(I’m posting completely unedited photos – which I never do. It’s a little like walking outside naked. I shoot in RAW, which renders images flat and sort of grayish. If you shoot in RAW, you are required to edit. Period.)

Back to the photo. My oldest daughter Amelle. She’s gorgeous in real life, but this photo doesn’t exactly highlight her natural beauty.  You see the idea…but it wasn’t working.  Clearly.

However, I do keep this photo on my phone so we can giggle at it. I’m good like that.

ImageOh sweet Molly. This is Amelle’s BFF. I love this girl like crazy. We tried to make it work. Three times. Two moms yelling various directions, “eyes open”, “blow loosely”, “hands lower”, “face higher”. Generally the more moms you throw at a problem, the greater likelihood of success. But not here.

Photo not working. I keep this one on my phone too. It’s how I keep them in check.

ImageThen the little one took a turn. And it worked. Somehow. Someway. Same set up, same lighting, same camera settings, same 3 minutes as the previous tries. Same crazed mamas yelling helpful tips. It just worked. Unexplainably.

So I edit this one.

ImageAnd then I fall in love with it. And I get prints made and I give them to grandmas and hang them in the house. And I forget the other 168 frames ever happened.

..and because I can’t let Amelle and Molly go out like that, I feel compelled to show you some shots of theirs that did work. Because they are gorgeous and they rocked this pose:


And this pose:


Rocked them like nobody’s bidness. Actually.