I’m a family photographer, and my work often extends beyond parent and child photo sessions. I choose the best shots and edit them using a suite of digital programs, such as Lightroom and Photoshop, but I always aim to preserve the natural elements of each and every shot. I don’t alter the shape of faces or hips. I don’t add trees or change the weather.

Parents ask me to be there to capture memories at the park, by the ocean or in their backyard. Sometimes a mother asks me to change the way she looks in a group shot, asking me to wave my magic wand over her hair colour or reduce her chin size, waistline or thighs. While photogenic nirvana can certainly be achieved—and many talented digital photographers do this quite well—I only go as far as to smooth blemishes.

“The painter who feels obligated to depict his subjects as uniformly beautiful or handsome and without flaws will fall short of making art.” —Joyce Maynard

While I’m not a painter, I do identify with parenting and family writer Joyce Maynard’s words. There is beauty in the true expressions of ourselves. There is love in the moments when we get lost in our child’s smile. Funny-looking clouds, laugh lines and double chins are all a part of the beauty and love that exists in every single family shot. I don’t want to fix, alter or move the realness in the timeless looks that my lens captures.

Lightroom and Photoshop have become invaluable digital photography tools for many picture takers. These programs help recover blown-out skies, reduce camera-shake blur and adjust white balance. Some may work beyond adjustments to colour, focus and position to change shapes, change backgrounds and even change facial expressions. They move shapes and objects around or add the perfect cloud. I urge you to forget all that and simply aim lean into the photo session with an open mind, a full heart and a worry-free smile.

“People forget your flaws and imperfections if they see you’re happy.” —Sienna Miller

When you look back over family photos years from now, you won’t remember your chin, neck or belly size. You’ll remember the time you shared with your little ones. You’ll remember their laughter, their smiles and their unconditional love for you, regardless of the way you thought you looked. I encourage you to collect photos that will remind you of the special bonds you have with your spouse and your children.

Book your photo session for pics that show what matters more than a magic wand.