How to Find Time to Photograph Your Family... When You're a Photographer

When I began this journey of professional photography it all started with my kids. My 3rd child had just been born and I wanted to learn everything I could get my hands on so that I could have professional quality photos of all of those beautiful “mommy” moments. I wanted to use the art of photography to remember those little details forever!


Fast forward 3 years (and another child) and I seriously struggle with prioritizing my own family’s photos. Between 4 kids, clean eating, homeschooling, my husband finishing his degree and a photography business sometimes, I struggle with finding the energy to do something that isn’t part of the “necessities” of life. My family is the whole reason I started this journey and documenting our life through photography is still really important to me but it is really hard to “feel” like taking photos when I am up to my eyeballs in client work.

Last year I decided that I needed to stop making excuses. It was time to take action!

1) Join a community project. I signed up to be a part of My 4 Hens Project 52. I went in to the project deciding that all of my images would be of my family (no client photos). This would insure that I was getting at least 1 image per week of someone in my family. I will be honest, it isn’t easy to stick with it some weeks but I LOVE what it is giving me and I can’t wait to get them all printed in a book at the end of the year!

2) Commit to a personal project. This one kind of fell in to my lap (literally). My youngest was born in August and I have made it a point to do a “mini session” every month until she turns 1. This could really be anything you want it to be though. The point of it is to find something you love and then take photos of it on a regular basis. ;-)

3) Make a schedule. It will get hard to “stick with it”. This image was taken at just such a time. It was for the weekly theme {little}. This image melts me every time I see it. This little boy idolizes his daddy and if I hadn’t scheduled it in and made myself do it… Lets just say, I am glad I did ;-)

4) Eliminate the rules. One of the beautiful things this process has given me is that I am shooting for ME! If I like it there are no rules I must follow because I am trying to keep a “consistent style” with what is represented on my website. It has allowed me to grow, try new things and just be able to love what I like even if it breaks a rule or two.

5) Compromise Sometimes when your snot nosed, dirty-faced little boy wants to kiss his daddy it can actually work out. Just go with it ;-)

6) Use whatever it takes to get the shot and that means cell phones! I know… They just don’t stand up to “real” photos with the “big camera” but there is something to be said for being in the moment. I just can’t be “present” when I have a huge black camera in front of my face.  I read somewhere once that a good photographer can take a good photo with any camera. I want to enjoy these moments with my family and I have decided that if it means that some of my photos are taken with my cell phone  that is ok.

Last but not least… Make sure you edit them. I am getting better about this but I still have a lot of work to do in this area. If all you do is take them and then transfer the files to a folder on your 2 terabyte hard drive you might as well just save the hard drive space. These images are of MY family and I must make them a priority or they will just get lost in the files…

Photography is a personal passion of mine but that doesn’t mean it is always easy. Life gets in the way of passion and desire an awful lot in my world, and sometimes I have to prioritize and make the important things happen!


Jenni McCarty is a wife, mom of four, l'il bit granola, jean-wearer, iced coffee drinker, home schooler, more than just a little obsessed with photography, frustrated organizer (see “mom of four”) yet ironically logical, Pinterest addict and Facebook follower, sufferer of ADCD (attention deficit crafters disorder), displaced Alaskan. She opened Jenni M Photography in 2012 and really enjoys blogging about her personal family adventures whenever she has time. 

How do you make time to photograph your family? Leave a comment below I would love to hear it!

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