Let me be real with you real quick.

Years from now, the outfits won't matter.  The hairstyles won't matter.  And perfection won't matter.  Am I right?  The material things will turn into outdated trends, and as we've all experienced, (scrunchy socks and permed bangs anyone?), they'll inevitably become the laughing matter for years to come.

As for the perfection part?

Well, we're all guilty of wanting it, myself included.  We want to share the BEST parts of our life, looking our best.  When we invest in family portraits, we shop and plan and coordinate and prepare our picture's to look perfect.  We want perfect behavior paired with perfect smiles and perfect weather in a perfect location.  It's an investment for our budget and for our book of memories, so why would we settle for anything less?  But that's just it!  Why are we settling for perfect in the first place?

We should want to remember our life as it is.  That's what's so beautiful about it! 

Portraits are important, don't get me wrong.  But I've learned along the way that posed portraits shouldn't be the main show.  Rather, they should compliment the true story of your life.  The family photos from my childhood still hang on the walls of my parent's home.  My sisters and I are in smocked dresses, my Mom's hair is HUGE, and strangely, my Dad looks the exact same as he does today.  The frames around their house may be full, but the images themselves are empty of our story.  Do you know what I would give to have photos of my Dad, sitting on the shag carpet of the home I was too young to remember, being silly and playing with me?  Or an entire album dedicated to the bond between my Mom and I, from the very beginning our relationship?  

Years from now, I want you to be able to pull your own photos out and smile at how she pressed her little toes against the back of her high chair tray as you fed her.  I want you to feel how protective (read: and sometimes annoying) your German Shepherd pup really was.  I want you to be able to re-live how life felt, not just how it looked.  I don't want you to look back at a family portrait, posed in a field of wildflowers, and only remember the whining from your kids, the complaints about the uncomfortable outfits, or the tone of voice you had to use to bribe them for good behavior.  

It didn't take anything but these reminders for Victoria and Daniel to choose a documentary approach for this milestone chapter.  As you'll see in a sec, these sessions are literally doc-YOU-mentary, resulting in images unlike anyone else.  There are so many seasons in life that, in the grand scheme of things, fly by way too fast.  Seasons like pregnancy and breastfeeding, your baby's two tiny toddler teeth, and your husband's nightly ritual of swerving Jovie around the kitchen island in her favorite cozy coupe, with your pup always trailing closely behind.

If we don't dare to remember our days differently, then years from now, what will these portraits show?  What will they say?  And more importantly, what will you feel?  If we're not careful, we won't feel anything but regret.  Regret we didn't document our reality, and regret we portrayed our life too perfectly.

What if we took photos solely to remember our honest reality? What if we didn't do it just to share it on social media?  So what if the photos look a little messy.  A little imperfect.  A little REAL.  What if we actually took the photos for us?  For our walls and frames and albums and shoeboxes for reminiscing all the feels later in life.  

What if, when we're old and gray, we'll actually miss that house we called too messy? 

Be proud of what you've built.  Be proud of your reality.  Your mess.  Your imperfection.  Because guess what?  It's perfectly imperfect.

This is your now.  

And later, this is what you'll miss.