Lifestyles of the Real and Ordinary: Moving Past "Picture-Perfect"

We asked one of my favorite people, Charlotte Gardunia, to tell us why Lifestyle sessions are so important to her. Here it is in her own words! 

Photos and post by: Charlotte Gardunia. Visit her site at

"Oh, my house isn't pretty enough for pictures," explained a client, as we discussed options for newborn portraits.

And I crumbled.  

This mother-to-be was a beautiful soul, with fantastic relationships and a full, exciting life. And yet she judged her home as being unworthy to be included in her own memories.

A couple of years ago I scanned and digitized my parents old pictures. As I looked through picture after picture, do you want to know what I became obsessed with? Everything except the people. It was the rooms of my childhood home that captured my attention. What the walls looked like before we remodeled. The messes on the counter tops. Toys on the floor. My mother's clothes. So many memories came flooding back as I studied those pictures.

We always had nice, professional portraits that hung on the walls year after year. But suddenly, 20+ years later, it was all those tiny, unintentionally documented, background details that meant everything to me.

Our life- my childhood- was not magazine worthy. But it was real. It was mine. And it was beautiful to me.

My dear friends, do you realize how much of what you see on social media is manufactured? How much of it is not real? Do not fall into the trap of thinking your life is unworthy.

Make sure you remember more than just the sprinkles and cherries-on-top of your life. More than the perfectly posed family portrait. More than the trip to Disneyland. More than the Gap Kids-styled first day of school.  Don't fall into the trap of manufacturing all of your memories.

Lifestyle photography is about documenting the whole cupcake. The sweet, the sticky, and the crumbly messes, too. The everyday, ordinary tasks and routines that form the foundation of your life are worth remembering. Please believe that.

In a way we are all lifestyle photographers, and I want to challenge you to reach a little further. Document more of the everyday and background details this year, in all their flawed glory. Your kids will thank you some day.

But I also challenge you to consider swapping your traditional family portrait session this year for a professional lifestyle photography session. Why?  So that YOU can be part of your own story. Selfies are great but, by definition, are at least partially manufactured. Letting a professional handle the camera will allow you to be fully present and engaged in experiencing life with your family. 

You'll thank yourself some day.