Magic Monday: Confessions of a DIY’er

Why pay someone to do something you can easily do yourself?

When I became a professional photographer, I have to admit that this mantra carried over into my own personal family photography.

I take professional pictures of people?!  Of course I should be able to do the same for my own family!

Confession #1.  It’s a lot harder to photograph your own family, especially if you want to be in the picture yourself.

I’ve tried the timer method.  The remote control method.  The “educate someone in 2 minutes everything you know about shooting in manual and composition” method.  Unfortunately, it never ever ends up as good as the work I do for other people… there’s just something about needing a real eye to guide things along, and the help of a photo coach.

Confession #2.  I need to admit my limitations.

I already came to the acceptance last year that I couldn’t take my own family picture.  I happily had the opportunity to work with another professional photographer where they did the photography 🙂  The results were miles ahead of what I could have achieved on my own, and I treasure the opportunity to have those lifestyle images of Ben and I (we were a family of two at that time 🙂  )  I will continue to use another professional for our family pictures from now on.  I value good photography enough to admit that I can’t achieve the quality I want on my own.

However, with the arrival of our first baby, I fully believed that I would and could get spectacular images of my own child…

Confession #3.  I need to admit my limitations.

After having a baby, I faced two major obstacles.

1.  I did not account for the surprise of being critically exhausted, physically hampered with a c-section recovery, or the emotional drain on my ambition and creativity.  I had dreamed up a series of beautiful and personal shoots for my own newborn.  None of them were even attempted.

2.  I’m not a talented newborn photographer!  There!  I said it!  I just do NOT have the talent for this type of photography.  At all.  I don’t work well with babies, I don’t enjoy this type of shoot, I don’t have enough patience for all the time and tricks involved with getting the perfect set up… and when I threw my own child into the mix it was even worse!

Looking back, I wish that I would have hired someone.

I wish I would have found one of those wonderfully talented newborn photographers who DO have that talent, and booked a session with them.  It would have been so much easier on me, and I would actually have some beautiful images of a time that I will never be able to recapture again.

Confession #4.  Why do I teach photography classes?

If I am a professional photographer, why would I teach other people how to use their cameras and take great pictures?  Why would I teach others how to “Do it Yourself”? Isn’t that a formula for losing photography business?

The honest life truth, is that we don’t have access to a professional photographer for every event in our life.  We likely won’t have them on hand when our child takes their first steps, when we have family birthday parties, the first day of school, family vacations, Christmas morning, during all our fun family activities, when you come home from church one week and just look at how nicely dressed everyone is and know it deserves a picture… Yet all of these events are deserving of great photography.

My goal is to teach others to DIY for the events that you CAN, as well as encourage others to admit your limitations for the times you CAN’T.

Confession #5. I need to admit my own limitations. I can’t do it all.

There seems to be a pattern here of something I need to work on! 🙂  I love this blog, and want it to be a place of inspiration and education to creative minded people.  I have realized, that it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to give it the consistency that it needs.  Therefore, I am happy to begin to share the load!

Lindsey will be a weekly contributor for our Midweek Motivator series for encouraging creativity…


There will be an additional new contributor each week for a new series called “One and a Thousand” that I will be starting this week as well.  Who will be the contributor?  It could be YOU 😉  More to come later!

Any of you photographers out there figured out a way to make DIY a success? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

13 Responses

  1. Newborns are hard!!! No doubt!! Especially when you are overtired and it’s Yours!! I found it was easier to take pictures of my babies the more I had. By the time I had Eli (#3) I knew what to expect more and so I was more relaxed and able to go with the flow. Does that make sense at all?? 🙂

  2. My good friend has been a photographer for years and she gets around the DIY problem by trading with other photographer friends. She’ll do their family, and they’ll do hers.

    1. Oooh. I love me a good trade. This is how I’ve gotten my family pictures as well. But I’d still be happy to pay a fabulous professional if I loved their work and style enough.

  3. All I can say is AMEN! No but really you’ll find after awhile you’ll get into a groove that allows you to be creative too. Once he gets older. And I bet you’ll even find time/energy just to play around with shoots with him and you’ll really love it. But I think for sure for getting shots of you and your family…take the stress of yourself and get someone you trust to do that for you. I see photographers exchange photo shoots all of the time. 🙂

  4. I always love your posts they are so motivational! So… congrats on following that goal of yours. I had to laugh at this one in particular because I have tried all of these things as well, with the exception of trying to take a picture with a remote control. 🙂 I have thought many times “I just need to hire someone to take some pictures I actually like” but then we run into the both being students issue and living on that “student budget” so…. needless to say a good family picture will not be in our near future. 🙂 lol That’s ok. 🙂

    Your little man is adorable!! Congratulations again!

  5. I love how honest you are, Brooke. You are so inspiring! Thank you for this post. I feel completely lost now that I have my new fancy camera. I don’t even know where to start. You boost my confidence that I CAN do it. I just need to keep on working.

  6. As a professional photographer, I haven’t been able to hand over the job of photographing my family to someone else yet. I did it one time & my girls (2 of them at the time) totally freaked out. They do so much better with the self timer thing. I think I’m too particular to hand over the job. I do photograph babies but I’ll admit, it’s the hardest job EVER to photograph your own baby. Maybe one day I’ll give in & hire YOU to photograph my family!

  7. Helga! We’ll have to have your family come model for one of my classes! (Its not a full blown session by any means, and most of the time I’m helping my students to get great shots…BUT…I do give all the images that I DO take to whomever comes to model! We’ll need a family to model with in the next few months when its a bit warmer for the little ones!

  8. Hey Julie! Any time! I’d love to photograph your family! It is hard to hand the job over to someone else! I know many photographers that trade with one another. I think that is great BUT… for me to trade I must really really LOVE their style and work. Its not about just having someone else push the shutter release button, its about vision. Thats why I would also be willing to PAY someone else. It would be based on who the photographer was, not just they are also a professional. Everyone is so different in their style and approach, and I’m really particular about the look I’m going for–especially for my own family! Good luck to you! I’m super impressed that the timer method works for you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *