As women, as mothers, as photographers it’s just the card we’ve been dealt. We are often the ones behind the camera. We’re the ones that see the tiny moments every 5 seconds unfolding that deserve capturing. We’re the ones that want to document the days of our children that we know will be gone tomorrow. And, most likely we’re the ones that know how to use the camera.
Yet, there will be a time when we will sit down and will pour over old photos. We’ll laugh at the captured temper-tantrum, cry over the momentous events and sigh over the freshly bloomed flowers we caught one late, Spring afternoon. Will we – in the piles of memories – find ourselves? Will our kids know what their days and moments looked like with us? At future weddings and even funerals will slideshows include photos of us (not just photos we’ve taken)? At our 50th wedding anniversary will we be able to laugh at all the fun looks we went through as a married couple?
It boils down to this: BEING IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS BEING BEHIND IT.
Your children will thank you. Your friends and family will thank you. You will thank you.
So, what are some ways you can work at making sure this happens?
1. ONCE A WEEK
Make it a goal to get into at least 1 photo a week. This can happen by handing someone else the camera, setting it on a timer or investing in a wireless remote.
2. DON’T BE OBSESSED WITH PERFECTION
This is two-fold. 1. Who cares what you look like in the photos? Don’t you want to be remembered for who you were even fresh out of bed, not just dolled up? Absolutely! Make-up or no make-up, you are perfect just the way you are. 2. The photo taken of you does not have to be contest-worthy. Don’t feel as if it needs to be taken with your DSLR (if you even own one). Use your camera phone or your point and shoot. Don’t worry about editing it pretty and posting it to your family blog. Just smile and archive it.
3. TAKE PHOTOS FOR NO GOOD REASON
It’s 6 p.m., you’re eating dinner with the family – it’s the same thing you do every night. But wait. It won’t be the same thing you do every night forever. Take a photo. There’s nothing big happening, but at the same time there is. It’s family dinner. On a Tuesday night. 2010. Everyone’s happy and Jimmy has funny bangs because he cut his own hair. Your flowers are in bloom. The sun is setting low. It’s an average day today. It will not be an average picture tomorrow. Promise.
4. TEACH SOMEONE HOW TO USE YOUR CAMERA
And, then go out for no good reason and get a few good photos of you and your kids. Or you and your girlfriends. Have your husband or friend take a picture of you riding your bike, sewing, sleeping. Whatever it is! Just capture it. I promise these are the types of photos you will love most later on.
5. INVEST IN PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS
Last Fall I realized that I have very few photos of me. Honestly, it made me really sad. I don’t feel for one second that I’m in my prime, but I am. I’m young and happy and I have my hair and teeth. And, something else really important. I have a really creazy-wonderful relationship with the man of my dreams. It’s just him and me and our crazy dog. One day (soon we hope) we’re going to wake up to a house full of kids and will not be able to remember what these days we’re living were like.
Once I made this realization I quickly scheduled a photo shoot with a professional photographer here in town. I made sure to find someone whom I adored artistically (he shoots only medium-format film) and who I knew would give us final photographs we would love to frame within our home.
Since I’m a professional photographer myself we were able to barter services and I was given the rights to the images. But, had we not made that agreement I would have paid *good* money for the images. I don’t just see pictures. I see 7-years of incredible memories and love and life and laughter, tears and travels and a team. We are a team. These pictures remind me of that every single day.
Since then I made a book of our favorite 12 images and on the other 8 pages put notes of things that describe our lives today. Inside jokes and random bits, movies we love, countries we’ve traveled to. Feelings on infertility and our desires to build a family. I know this book has now become a family heirloom. And, it has spurred me on to do it again this Fall.
Every year I want to pay for quality photographs so that I can continue to create “memory” books. With me in them.
Creative Mamas, I invite you to see yourself for who you are. You are a child, daughter, sister, friend, wife, mother. You deserve to be preserved. Take those steps to be remembered for centuries to come. Your family will be grateful.