Finding joy in imperfection…

I started a photography business for one reason. I thought it would bring me joy, & in doing so I thought I was saving myself from mothering.

I didn’t have any expectations for where this would take me. The creative process, the growth behind the lens, the business, but most significantly the pieces inside of me that would be rearranged and challenged to stay the same or transcend.

I’m convinced there’s really no easy way to mother. Especially in today’s world where we are all so figuratively connected while simultaneously so resoundingly alone.

I’ve never felt so alone while completely surrounded by people as I have since becoming a mother.


This is where Sally Rudy Photography was born.

A bid for connection before I even really knew it. It’s hard to put into words where it went from there, but it involves a couple years of late nights binging on courses, editing, too much caffeine, not enough movement, the list goes on…

Over time there were breakthroughs & I was happy with my growth, but I wasn’t *there* yet. I though if I could just learn to consistently get the ‘right’ angle, if I could just find the right words or energy to make people look really happy & in love, if I could just learn to communicate how to choose the perfect wardrobe for photos…

The ‘if only’ statements persisted & I was forced to confront this frustration. I realized a few things…

  • My ‘if only’ statements really focused on a lot of things I didn’t have control over & a lot of assumptions I was making about what I thought my clients wanted/felt/saw in their images.
  • I was projecting some body image beliefs/ideas/insecurities onto people, maybe some of them shared these feelings with me but maybe they didn’t & how was I to know?
  • I’m a terrible hype woman. I’ve never been particularly silly or goofy, I’ve never enjoyed the spotlight, I’ve never found fart jokes funny (I haven’t tested this, but I suspect being able to tell a good fart joke is probably key to perfecting children’s portraits). If relevancy of my shitty hype woman skills isn’t clear, let me just say that when you’re trying to curate joyful, tender & loving moments in the middle of a glowing sunset with clients who don’t know you and almost inevitably one of them (minimum) isn’t excited to be there having hype woman skills seems like it would be a huge asset.
  • I deeply connect with people who are real. Tell me that you’re in the shit with parenting, tell me that you love your family deeply but admit they’re just as dysfunctional as the next.

None of this is to say there’s something wrong with wanting magical portraits where you and yours look & feel amazing while basking in the glowing sunset.

If these images are what makes you feel complete and fulfilled, I see you & I get that.

Beautiful portraits make me feel happy on the inside too & they have their place in our lives.

However, what I have learned about myself is that the pressure to facilitate these images is a pressure that causes my inner recovering perfectionist/people pleaser/empathic self to struggle.

I don’t want to affirm one view of what makes a family beautiful.
All families do not have to look carefree, thin & like they are oozing happiness every moment to be “beautiful.”
In fact, that would be so boring.

Some of us are never carefree. Some of us are happy inside but solemn outside. Some of us aren’t a size 3 and never have been, some of us wish we were & some us could give a fuck less about that. I don’t want to create images that make everybody feel or look the same.

I never did.

I just fell into the trap, whether it’s capitalism, marketing, the patriarchy or the whole kit & caboodle – the message sent (received?) says to be desirable we should all be glowing, happy & small.

To be fair I didn’t do this all alone & I’m not the only one feeling it.

So many of my clients ask if I can just photoshop that out or if I can only photograph from above or if I can use the camera to take 10 years off.

If you’re reading this and you’ve had these thoughts or voiced these words, know that you’re not alone. It’s very much the norm & it’s totally okay. I get it.


It took me a while to sort out that how I receive these requests is my own responsibility & then I began to process why these requests caused me such conflict.

It’s a combination of things (because what isn’t if we’re honest?).

The perfectionist/people pleaser in me wants to create images that you love. I’m immediately gripped by this fear that I won’t do it well enough when I hear these doubts voiced. The rebel in me feels frustrated because I just want us to love ourselves as we are. Complete with a grass stain on our child’s knee, with a crease at the corners of our eyes, with a couple extra inches around our waist/thigh/arm.

We have only so much time here & I already regret how much time I have spent worrying about if I was doing it well enough or the right way according to the world. What if I continue down the path? How many more regrets will I gather along the way?

So over here 2022 is yet another year of soul searching (with more finding than in the past thankfully). Of letting go of things that aren’t serving me any longer. Of accepting that I am (we are) enough. Of doing more of what makes me happy.

A year of leaning into the things that feel right in order to find myself.

If any of this resonates with you & you want to share, I’d love to hear from you.
You can reach me over here.

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©2022 Sally Rudy photography | privacy policy | terms & conditions | template DESIGN BY THE BUFFALO COLLECTIVE | template Customization by octavia elease designs

©2022 Sally Rudy photography | privacy policy |
terms & conditions | template DESIGN BY THE BUFFALO COLLECTIVE | template Customization by octavia elease designs