Learn from 10 Celebrity Photographers in this FREE video! Watch Now >>

A Life Outside of Photography? | Jean Smith

We're so happy to have Celebrity Photographer, Jean Smith, share this tutorial with us:


"You are so lucky...you must have so many pictures of your kids!"

If I only had a dime for all of the times I have heard that. Unfortunately, I have to answer with something like, "You know the plumber that always has a leaky faucet? Well...it's kind of the same thing with me."

I love my kids. I ADORE my kids. But, I will admit that I got to the point that I rarely, if ever, photographed them. I am so not proud of this fact and actually wish I took weekly or monthly professional photos of them. But photographing clients, hanging with kids, homework, dinner, cleaning, editing, emailing, kids sports and activities, and everything else that has to fit somewhere into my day, leaves my camera as being the last thing I think about at home.

If you're like me, you want more photographs of your kids! You don't want to look back with regret and hate yourself for not capturing their sweet childhood! You want to plaster your walls and scrapbooks with images of your children and family! But, how does a photographer mom or dad find the time, energy, and desire to pick up the camera and photograph their children or family happenings on a regular basis?

For me, I have found three things that have worked brilliantly...

1. Set a goal. I made a goal to pull out my camera one day a week and take a few images of family goings-on.  My baby on the bed in the morning. My 12-year-old reading a book. A note Travis wrote to me. It doesn't have to be a formal shoot, just something you see that you will want to remember. It only takes me 5-15 minutes and I am making a record of our life.

2. iPhone. Any camera is better than no camera. My phone is always with me, so I make a conscious effort to take videos and snapshots of my kids or cute things they have done (since it is not convenient to carry around a big ol' SLR camera). If it weren't for my phone, we would have zero home videos. Poor video camera collecting dust in my closet.

3. Day in the Life. The major thing that has saved me from photographer-mom-super-guilt is taking one day out of the year for each child. This day is ALL about them. They choose things they love to do, we plan a mom/son date, and we photograph everything. It warms my heart in so many ways to look back at an entire day in the life of each of my children every year and remember them as they were at that time in their life. 90% of the day is taken photojournalistic style, but I do take a small portion and take a few good portrait shots of them as well. You can see examples of one year's worth of Day in the Life shots of my boys HERE.

No matter how much time you spend in your hobby or career as a photographer, you still have a life outside of photography. You may have kids, you may not. You may have pets, you may not. Regardless of what your life entails, that life needs to be documented. So, stop the guilt, make some goals, and start photographing your life :)

Jean Smith is a portrait, wedding, and commercial photographer in New Hudson, Michigan. She has a super rad husband (also a photographer) and four awesome little boys who keep life fun and VERY busy! To see more of her photography, visit her websiteblog or follow her on Facebook.

Want Jean of Jean Smith Photography to critique your images? Sign up for a Chic Peek HERE!



3 responses on A Life Outside of Photography? | Jean Smith

  1. Good information! My husband gives me grief because I used to write in a journal for my twin girls when they were born daily. The older they got, the less and less i wrote in their journals. It became so rare so I decide to create an email address for them so i could try to capture special moments, whether it’s a funny story, something funny they said, a cute picture of them or just to say how much i love them. Like you said, I always have my phone so i always try to send them something every so often so they at least have that to look back at as they get older.

  2. Great post! I love the day in the life idea. I take my girls out for a “session” around their birthday every year, but nothing like this. Can’t wait to do a day in the life with them this summer!

Leave a Reply