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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  1. Baby Meal Plans on

    Thanks for sharing that your house is not perfect. But it’s not that messy either. Love your photo tips.

  2. Plain Vanilla Mom on

    Oh I have the perfect picture for this. I just took it last night of our kids haha. I will have to upload it to your fb page. Maybe I’ll even write a post and join the hop. It would be a fun one!

  3. Rekha Varghese on

    Very reassuring article. So glad to know that I’m not the only one dodging the mess around my home. 🙂 Absolutely wonderful images. Precious moments.

  4. Laura Cochran on

    What a fantastic project. Sometimes I definitely need this kind of reality check when I start wondering why other people with kids can have such nice, clean houses.

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  6. Great ideas. I have included a few photos of our mess when I have shared photos. Other times I have cropped out the clutter too. 😉 I try not to let other people’s photos bother me because we don’t know what their house is really like or home much laundry they have hidden to make their house look perfect. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Alicia Stucky on

    This is the kind of post that makes me sad I don’t make time to read blogs anymore! I’d love to see this catch on and become a trend with bloggers all over. So much awesomeness.

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  9. Christina Marie Higgins on

    As a mom of three humans and three four legged babies, there is lots of clutter. This will help me to still achieve the perfect photo.

  10. Bailey Salazar on

    Did anyone else notice the perfectly chubby ankle of Lowell in the B&W through the bars? Omgggggg ???

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  14. Thinking the same thing as someone else. People’s ‘messy’ includes an unmade bed. umm wow. Your messy is WAY WAY cleaner than my ‘clean’… It’s not messy if it takes under 2 minutes to fix.. lol. It would take 2 weeks to fix mine!

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