Photographing our family holiday; an exercise in managing my own expectations as a photographer and mum

We went on holiday to the beach last week. It was a trip we were all looking forward to, 5 days of continuous holiday is a rare treat for us. Without really realising it I had built up an idea in my head of how I was going to “finally” have time to photograph the children to my hearts content.  We would have the most beautiful location (a beach) and lots of wonderful light to play in which would equate to thousands of portfolio worthy images. Can you tell I had very high expectations?!

As seasoned mothers know, when you go on holiday especially to a self-catering setup, you’re not actually on holiday in the true sense of the word and what it meant pre-children. When holidaying with young children you are still doing all the same things you do at home, but you are now in an unfamiliar environment that is not baby proof, trying to manage the children from destroying everything in sight, all the while trying your best to relax and enjoy yourselves! The only difference with being on holiday is that my husband is there to help me.

Knowing all of this, you would think I would be able to manage my own expectations around how I would fit photography in with everything else. A lesson I haven’t quite mastered and that the universe continues to gently remind me of, is that in this season of my life I need to let go of ALL my expectations. I of course thought I had made progress in this area, I am nearly 4 years into this mothering game after all, 2 and a half as a photographer so you’d think by now I’d be on board with this notion. From “missed moments”, to feeling frustrated that why-can’t-we-for-once-go-to-the-beach-during-golden-hour!!!! I found myself feeling grumpy and disappointed that like usual, I was scrambling for my camera and trying to make pictures with tiny snippets of time, instead of the leisurely approach I dreamed of.

Looking through some of my images from the week I know I captured us in our essence and to the best of my ability. Juggling a 3 and half year old, a one year old and all the other parts of mothering whilst trying to capture what is happening in a beautiful and authentic way, is really hard work. I would say to anyone in this situation, bravo for taking even one single photo! I’m writing this just as much for myself as for anyone else who might be reading this thinking; oh my god me too!

Our few days at the beach reminded me to be gentle with myself, let go of any ideas I have e.g. golden hour (laughable I know), follow a spark, any spark no matter how weird, and ALWAYS always have the camera ready to grab.