Against Perfection: A Manifesto

March 17, 2019

against perfection


As a photographer, one of the things I come up against the most is the pervasive feeling amongst families that they need to wait for the ‘perfect’ time for photos… This ‘perfection’ usually falls under one or more of three categories:

PERFECT APPEARANCE (“I need to wait until my hair grows / I lose my baby weight / I can afford some nice new clothes”)

PERFECT HOME (“I need to wait until we have a bigger house / we have stylish new furniture / we can get rid of that crap old wallpaper”)

PERFECT FAMILY (“I need to wait until my son stops having so many tantrums / my daughter’s ‘DIY’ fringe grows out / they stop picking their noses all the time”)


against perfection


The problem with all of this? It all rides on the assumption that perfection = beauty.

The good news? This is absolute bollocks. Perfection is boring.

In today’s social media-obsessed, airbrushed and heavily filtered society, there is so much focus on aesthetics, ‘ideals’ and the superficial. We’re bombarded with everyone else’s polished versions of themselves, their homes and special occasions.

We’re led to believe that beauty lies in flawless skin, sleek hair, perfect bodies, polished pouts, ‘best angles’, spotless fashionable clothes, immaculate houses, designer furniture or stylish rooms straight out of Pinterest or Instagram.

But to me, this is all as mind-numbingly dull as flicking through a catalogue.

In the nicest possible way, I honestly don’t care what you look like, what clothes you’re wearing, or what your house looks like.


against perfection



It goes without saying that I’ll make sure you look radiant like the absolute dudes that you are (horrendously unflattering photos are no more my bag than yours, don’t worry!)

But my priority is not how you look, it’s how you FEEL. I don’t believe beauty lies in perfection, I believe it lies in emotion and connection.

I see true beauty in obscene, mouth-wide-open belly laughs, wild hair from breezy walks and tickling frenzies, screwed up faces from too-hard squeezes, muddy knees, sticky fingers, hand-me-downs, paint smears, laughter lines, daft costumes, snotty noses, messy dens and real, lived-in family homes full of life, energy and laughter.

I’m anti filter, anti perfection…. I stand for the beauty of family life and love in all its messy, comical, adventure-filled, heart-bursting glory.


against perfection


In this selfie-obsessed world, so many people don’t realise that the times when you really look your most beautiful are not when you’re gazing alluringly into a mirror or camera lens. It’s during moments of genuine connection with your loved ones – the way you look at your children, the way they look at you, the way you reach out to each other, the way you hold each other, the joy you give each other.

THAT is where the true beauty lies, THAT is when you shine and light up the most, THAT is ‘perfection’. It’s such a shame that so many parents never get to really see themselves like this.

Don’t underestimate how much it’ll mean to both you and your children to be able to look back on the beauty of this love and joy between you in the years ahead.


against perfection



Don’t let your anxiety about ‘perfection’ lead you to miss out on getting in those precious pictures with your children. As much as it might feel like it does right now, none of the superficial stuff actually matters. If you wait for the ‘perfect’ time and place, you’ll miss out on remembering how your family is now, totally perfect exactly as it is.

So embrace the life, the body, the home, the family you have right now, as ‘imperfect’ as any of it might be. In 20 years time, you’ll not care less about any of the ‘imperfections’, or you might even surprise yourself by looking back fondly and wistfully on it all. And the rest? You’ll treasure it all beyond belief.

THESE are the best days, THIS is the good stuff. Stop looking past it and celebrate being right here in the messy, imperfect, chaotic, magical thick of it. The best and most beautiful things in life are here, right under your nose, right now.

Anna 🙂


against perfection



Please feel free to download my family photography e-brochure if you think you’d like me to come and capture a bit of your own family’s magic 🙂

family photographer manchester




A little pdf I put together containing some simple techniques to get better photos of your kids – these are applicable no matter what camera you’re using, phone, DSLR, compact, anything 🙂


spring family shoot



If you liked this article you might also like:

Get Better Results with your Camera Phone: 10 Top Tips

What Age is it Best to Photograph my Baby or Child?

Finding Time To Connect With Your Kids

Staying Sane as a Working Parent: 10 Top Tips

Is My Home Ready for a Photo Shoot?

5 Reasons I Love Family Photography

My Top 10 Productivity Tips

I also love chatting with other folk on social media and I’d love to see you on there – you can find me hanging out mainly on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

Take care folks and enjoy those lovely families of yours!

Anna 🙂

1 Comment

  1. Christopher James Hall

    Such a great article. It is so true that the best photographs and the ones that show that most emotional connection are the ones which are natural. I feel the it is important that in years to come people can look back on a photo and say, “I remember when she X did that” and not “that was the day we had the photographer”.


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