When I was a little girl I loved being in front of the camera. From the time I was a toddler I knew how to strike a serious pose with ankles crossed, head tilted ever so slightly to the side and hands delicately placed on my knees. Ridiculous and hilarious and pretty darn true to my personality today, #notshy. I love looking back at these pictures and the rare family home video showing what life was like, what my family was up to and just how red -errrr strawberry blonde – my hair actually was. Today I, like so many other mamas, have filled my phone with hundreds (thousands?) of images documenting every precious moment of my little guy’s life in hopes of giving him the same memories to look back on. But is it too much? In the quest to capture his childhood am I losing the ability to be present in the moment and experience the joy or silly moment with him?
It’s a fair question. Most people have their phones within reach at every moment of the day. It has never been more convenient to capture the moments, special and mundane, and share with your community. I love this and enjoy that I feel like I am keeping up with my friends and their growing families even though hectic schedules prevent us from getting together as much as we would like. But it has caused me to reflect on what exactly I’m trying to accomplish. In an effort to not miss a thing, I think there’s a chance I’m missing THE THING, which is experiencing the moment with my little man. And if I’m always documenting the moment, I’m behind the lens, and will my child even know I was there? I feel a bit selfish admitting that last one but THIS blog post really spoke to me and damn it moms want to be in photos loving on their kids too. Will your kid want thousands of images of themselves playing at the park pointing at a duck or would they rather have one perfectly imperfect photo with their mama smooshing their chipmunk cheeks with peanut butter smeared all over their face?
Bottom line here is I don’t have a right answer on how to approach this and it is most definitely different for everyone. But my heart tells me that getting special moments on film doesn’t mean capturing EVERY moment on film. I took a photography class last year from ultra MILF, hilarious friend and genius artist Whitney McGuire (do yourself a favor and check her out HERE) and she shared a lot of wisdom on her approach to photography with her kiddos that gave me a guiding light. A few takeaways that spoke to me…
1. Set my phone down and pick up my nice camera. Learn how to use it…in other words don’t just point and shoot.
2. Keep your nice camera out and within reach wherever you tend to spend time in your house, when the time/lighting is right grab it for 3-5 minutes to take a million pictures and then set it back down. Go through and keep the few that are great and delete the rest.
3. Real moments feel so much better than posed. Let kids play!
I think the bottom line here is creating special childhoods for our kids and having them be able to reflect on those memories with joy doesn’t require a picture to prove it happened. As families grow and lives become more hectic give yourself grace to be in it – experiencing the moment – even though your camera may not have captured it. Trust that your memories will remain sweet for a lifetime, and in all likelihood you will still have a million photos to share as well.
Pictures above are from a family trip we took to the San Juan Islands to celebrate my father in laws birthday last fall. It was my first time playing with my real camera on manual. Lots to learn but inspired to try to get better.