Photographs are everywhere. Almost everyone carries a camera in their pocket these days, but we rarely slow down to think about why we want pictures all the time. Given the convenience of the cell phone, we often will snap pictures without even thinking about why – let alone remembering to print the important ones.
If we take the effort to record our lives we should be considering who, what, when, where, and why. By focusing on the reasons for our photographs, we are far more likely to end up satisfied with our albums and unburdened by having too many images that we don’t really care that much about.
When & Why
I am not going to go into the who, what, and when, because those are the details that you have to define in your own life. But, the parts that we can all relate to are the “when” and “why” questions.
When We Take Photos
- Commemorations – like family gatherings or reunions, annual family portraits, holidays
- Ceremonies – like weddings, graduations, awards, baptisms
- Important Events – birthday parties, competitions, “firsts” and “lasts”
- Humorous Circumstances – moments you want to remember
- Emotionally Charged Moments – family activities or traditions, anticipated surprises
- “Just Because” Moments – cute moments, sleeping kids, before & after’s, kids playing, beautiful scenes, vacation attractions, things to remember
We take photos of the moments we want to remember, or feel like we need to remember. Photographs allow us to capture the people we love before the moment is lost, our children age, or we lose our loved ones to time or distance.
Why We Take Photographs
Simply put, it’s love. Love is our greatest motivator. Strong emotions compel us to action, especially when we want to celebrate and remember. But, there are a lot of memorable moments that we often overlook. If we think about the people we love, and we remember them for the particular quirks, characteristics, or unique features that most define them in our memories – how often do we have photographs of those details? Maybe we associate specific people with specific memories, places, or activities, but do we stop to capture those moments? I know I personally don’t have photographs of some of the most defining moments of my childhood – not defining for importance necessarily, but defining because they make up so much of my childhood.
I spent a ton of time staying with my cousins at my grandparent’s house throughout my childhood. All three of us had working parents, so most of our early years were spent playing together in the woods, the garage, and on the balcony at my grandparents house. I have no pictures of these moments, and I am forced to rely on my memories to hold onto them. The dance parties, hide and seek games, reading the children’s encyclopedias on rainy days, dressing up and pretending we were passengers on a ship, building a house in the woods, picking wild berries so grandma could make wine… these are some of the most precious memories of my childhood and there’s no record of them. Our photo albums are flooded with posed family pictures at the holiday’s, table settings, decorations, awkward pictures of people eating thanksgiving dinner all together, but none of the quiet, everyday, normal moments that made up the narrative of my life.
Redefining Family Photography
If you can’t already tell, capturing genuine, unposed, meaningful moments is what lights me up. I am passionate about jumping into the story and seeing all of the beautiful, quiet moments unfold. There are plenty of occasions for photos, but I’m here to tell you that the most valuable photographs you may ever own are the ones that mean something only to you. The photos that remind you of your life and stir up the big feelings like love, nostalgia, and longing. We all have those few photos – or we all should! – that transport us to a different time and place that meant something to us. I have been lucky enough to have a good camera for my son’s entire life, and I have not been shy about making sure to record the meaning making moments for us all. From his iconic “grumpy face” to his first hair-cut, and the many phases he has gone through.
This is the gift I want to bring to my photography families. I want to help families love, honor, and value the beautiful moments of their stories. All too soon, the opportunities to capture and savor the moments will have passed, and you can’t get them back. Just one perfect capture of something “normal” is enough to stir up those deep memories.
I would rather have too many beautiful moments, than miss the ones I love the most.