Family photographer Danielle Guenther gets the struggle that is parenting.
As a mom herself, she lives and loves the daily grind. Sure, she relishes those occasional picture-perfect moments, but she also relates to those very real moments her clients experience before, during, and after she takes family photos.
It was after one such family photo shoot that she decided to capture a real moment.
The mom "just sort of laid down in complete exhaustion," Guenther told me in a phone interview. Then the dad collapsed next to the mom on the couch. Guenther thought it was funny and they came up with the idea to add a few props and take a more realistic family photo right then and there. She titled it "Parenting Is Exhausting." (Isn't that the truth?!) When she posted it to her business Facebook page, "people went crazy for it," she said. "They were relating."
And that's how her photo series "Best Case Scenario" was born.
In addition to or even in place of traditional family photos, Guenther takes staged but oh-so-real pictures for her clients. Guenther gets to know each family, and, based on their lives, she creates a moment in time for the perfectly imperfect shot.
1. Rush Hour
2. The Escape Plan
3. She Got the Bug
4. Welcome to Our World
5. Playdate (in)Sanity
6. Why Did the Parents Cross the Road?
7. Oh No...
8. Day at the Spa
9. Got Milk ... Yet?
10. Fully Loaded
11. Just Another Mouth to Feed
12. One Year Later...
13. Cleanup on Aisle 5
14. Check Please!
15. Keep Your Head in the Game
16. Loser Unpacks It All
17. Breakfast in Bed
18. Hold on a Sec
I know I could relate to more than a few of these photos, and that's what makes them so great.
Guenther loves being a photographer — and the different types of photos she takes. It's a passion that comes through in her work.
"Usually on photo shoots, parents say, 'Oh I'm sorry my kids are misbehaving,'" she told me. "It's OK! These are kids. This is what they do. It's nice to have wholesome, beautiful photos … but it's also just as refreshing to see something falling apart in front of you. This is reality."
And every parent on earth knows firsthand how real parenting can get.
"I think my favorite part about these is that social media often makes even the everyday moments seem perfect," Guenther told me. "But we know better."
She said that even though these photos capture the imperfect side of parenting, "it's also so beautiful when you photograph it. I know I don't want to forget these moments. I want to remember them — even when they're complete chaos."