Living life as a photographer has given me a unique perspective on many things, from business to art. But most of all, it’s given me a greater perspective on how to live well.
As the person tasked with preserving some of the most important moments in my clients’ lives, I’ve had the chance to seriously reflect on the impact photography has on these fleeting times in life and the people experiencing them. And as I think on it, there are three major lessons viewing life through a camera lens taught me:
Slow down and take life in
I think the first time I became acutely aware of the passing of time was the first time I got pregnant. Every month meant hitting a new milestone as my little bean became an avocado and eventually a watermelon. Each day meant something unique, and since my little ones entered into the world, I wanted to savor each second.
And I knew I couldn’t do that in a rush.
Since I became invested in learning film photography, I discovered how deliberate and special each click of the camera was. I needed to be attentive to a million things at once to capture the best version of the image in front of me, and when each press of the shutter costs (about how much does a roll of film cost divided by how many images you can take on a roll), you learn to take things more slowly.
This is a philosophy I learned to apply in my daily life. Rather than rush through each daily task, with half of my mind already on the next one, I realized that to make my life the best piece of art it could be, I needed to slow down.
Memories cannot be loved as jpegs
So you’ve invested in a fun family photo session. You’ve received pictures that made your heart pitter-patter. You’ve shared them (in all their low-res, compressed glory) on social media.
Too often, they sit on harddrives, forgotten, until the horrifying day when something goes wrong. It hurts my heart to admit it, but yes, even I who should have known better, lost valuable images of my sons when they were younger because of computer crashes and technical glitches. Sometimes those pictures can be retrieved by redownloading them from social media, but those pixelated images will never be good enough to turn into a wall canvas.
How can we ensure those precious moments aren’t held at the mercy of technology working as it should?
Remember the joy you had as a little child flipping through treasured family albums? There’s just something about savoring moments by perusing tangible albums or admiring framed photos. It seems more real — more part of your daily life — that way.
As a photographer, I’ve had the joy of delivering prints to couples and there’s something so unique and affirming about watching them delight in their beautiful pieces of art that will soon decorate their home.
Don’t let your photos stay jpegs forever. Print them out and let them shine.
Get. In. The. Photo.
When my little family began to grow, I found all the excuses in the world to stay behind the camera. I wanted to lose the baby weight. My hair wasn’t done. My makeup wasn’t on. My clothes were messed up from the kind of messy mom tasks that make you feel like you’ll never wear a stain-free shirt again.
It wasn’t until I realized that, judging from photos alone, people would think my boys has the world’s most wonderful single dad.
My family’s life was passing by right before my eyes, and I ensured moments were captured…but I wasn’t a part of any of them.
Life isn’t perfect and neither are we. There will always be a reason we shouldn’t step in front of the camera, but all of those reasons pale in comparison to one, simple fact: the people you love most WANT you in their photos. These are the family heirlooms that will mean the most for generations to come and you don’t want to be missing from them.
So forget the insecurities and all the reasons why not, and set that selfie timer or call your favorite photographer! Whatever it takes, just get in that photo!