Slice Of Perfect In Our Messy Reality- A Photography Challenge

“How do you keep your house so clean?”

I get this a lot, which is highly laughable. While I would say we have managed to keep ourselves from reaching hoarder status (except for the months directly following having a baby), we certainly don’t live in a pristine house, or a house as clean as many of my pictures would lead you to believe.


It’s not that I’m trying to deceive you. I’ll be the first to admit to anyone who remarks how clean my house looks that either a. the housekeeper was just here or b. there’s a pile of laundry to my left, and a sink full of dishes to my right. I just happened to crop them out of the picture.

But I get that part of this blogging, sharing, social media life thing can lead to feelings of inadequacy when comparing ourselves to others. I certainly find myself looking at beautifully decorated homes with perfectly organized spaces with pangs of jealousy.


I like to think, though, that they also are just showing a little slice of perfect amongst their messy reality. I’d put money on the fact that this is what nearly everyone does. And there’s nothing wrong with that! As much as I try to document real life whenever possible, I also want some pictures that make me forget what it’s like to live amongst chaos… and fruit snack wrappers.

So for every picture as sweet and clean as this…


There’s usually a bigger picture like this…


If you haven’t quite mastered how to take little slice of perfect pics amongst your messy reality, here are a few tips for you:


Let’s start with our cluttered playroom. It’s not a HUGE mess, but it’s not very pretty from this angle, either.


The very first thing you need to do is get as much (preferably natural) light in there. Open up all the curtains. Heck, even open up an exterior door if you can.

Also, if you’re shooting with a DSLR and are comfortable with manual mode, up your ISO and open up your aperture until you get good exposure. The following pics were taken with 3200-6400 ISO and a 2.5 aperture. (I used the noise reduction slider in Lightroom to eliminate some of the grain caused by the high ISO.)

This will 1. help you get more light into your picture and 2. help blur out the background, making the surrounding mess less noticeable.

IMG_1518Of course, there is also a lot to be said for the strategic crop.



And change up your perspective. If all your mess is on the floor, shoot up and away from it.


If your subject is in front of cluttered bookshelves, shoot over the top of him.


Isolate small pieces of the visual story.



A good black & white conversion can always help unify a picture with a lot going on in it.


All of these tips can be applied to mobile photo editing, as well. Use apps like Snapseed to increase the brightness and convert pictures to black & white. (I’ll do a Snapseed editing tutorial if y’all would like.)


Now, I want you to join in on this fun. I want to see BOTH your little #SliceOfPerfect AND your #MessyReality. There are a few ways to join in. If you have a blog and want to blog about this, you can link up below. If you’re on Facebook, you can post your pictures to my page (be sure to tag them #SliceOfPerfect or #MessyReality). If you’re on Instagram, share them with the hashtags #SliceOfPerfect and #MessyReality. You can either make a collage of both, or share them separately.

I’m @BabyRabies on Instagram.
My Facebook page is


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