"We don't NEED to keep ruining our experiences in life just to remember them."
Don't get me wrong, I love and know the importance of taking photos and capturing the moment and the story; but there is a huge difference between capturing a story and losing the meaning when photography & video gets in the way.
It's all too often at weddings I see all the guests and the family of the bride and groom whipping out their cell phones to take photos of the lovely couple, the decor, and everything else going on. Typically as the bride is coming down the aisle there is always, always, like all the time... at least four to five people watching through their cell phones this incredible life event happen... and why? So they can get a blurry image to post on facebook to keep their memory in tact. But this isn't just a phenomenon to weddings, in our own personal lives, everyday, the first thing we do when something incredible or important or life changing is happening is turn to our phones. We want to document everything as if "if we don't document it, don't photograph it, don't capture a video of it, then it somehow didn't happen and it's meaningless." In reality, its the opposite, not experiencing life as it is happening and always turning to our devices, even to our professional cameras <like me> when your child is starting to walk, is losing that memory for YOU.
//Notice all the cell phones glued to everyone's face while gorgeous Joanna and her father come down the aisle//
It's happening, it's in the moment, I'm talking about your life, whether you capture it or not, it's going to happen and it's going to be over after it does.... but this new thing called Mindfulness is all about living in the present, which doesn't involve living behind your phone. It's unfair for us to subject our lives to the documentation of our life as a way of keeping the past or preserving our memories, whether we like it or not, our children are going to grow up... our wedding day is going to be one day and be over, and our vacation is over in a week (or sometimes two).
We don't NEED to keep ruining our experiences in life just to capture them.
I always feel the need to bring my professional camera everywhere, to document everything... but I'm starting to just enjoy more time with my kids. Because my photos of them won't bring back their childhood anyway.
I feel like it can be worse for those of us who are in the photography industry to have this pressure to capture these moments all the time, with our professional camera or video equipment. If we don't then we missed out on capturing and documenting everything for our kids to look back on. But it's really not helping me any with enjoying my kids childhood when I'm constantly thinking about how I can make sure that I have a good camera on me at ALL times to document every moment so that LATER ON I can enjoy them and reminisce. Think about that.... taking all these photographs and video so that LATER ON I can look back on it and remember it. But what are you really remembering? Nothing but sitting behind your camera, staring at a screen of something happening before your eyes.
And this my friends, is why hiring a professional photographer at certain parts of the year, every year, is so important. It's important because it allows you to enjoy your lives while another professional can capture certain moments, snapshots in time, or big events like your wedding, without ruining your experience. Shameless photographer plug.
Regardless of how I preach it, I suffer from CPW.... oh that's my acronym for Chronic Photography Withdrawal.... I'll be sitting with my kids and enjoying the moments, the playtime, and all of a sudden have this urge to take my phone out to take photos of everything rather than playing with them. I think it's normal, but at the same time I think with how big social media is present in all of our lives its worse because we also now have this need to share everything and make everyone think our lives are rainbows and sunshine lovely perfect everyday.... and mainly because we are trying to convince ourselves of that... but that's another blogpost for another time.
What I'm trying to say and get out in words is that we need to all allow ourselves to let go of our need to capture everything thorugh the lens of a camera a little more and enjoy the experiences with our family, friends, and ourselves a little more mindfully. Mindfulness is such an amazing concept because it's all about being present and in the moment. Some ways that you can try to keep mindful when an experience is happening that you feel like you NEED to document rather than enjoy (but you KNOW you should just enjoy them) is to:::
>remind yourself that the "best camera is your eyes"... someone told me that once when I was complaining about not having my camera during a huge exciting moment of a retreat when I was in Mexico this past year. I was all upset that I didn't bring my camera to one of the trips that we took and I was reminded by someone to "not forget that the best camera is always your own eyes". Capturing the moments in my memories is so important and looking back I can remember so many times that I took these photographs of my children walking for the first time and crawling but I can't remember in my mind them actually happening because I was so hyperfocused on the "documentation" part. So just always remember to use your mind as the best way to document things.
>breathe and ground yourself. While on vacation this past Christmas I remember being at the beach with my kids and I brought my GoPro, my cell phone, and my waterproof camera. Why? Because I fully intended on sitting at the beach and just taking photos of them playing with my husband. After about 20 minutes of doing this, I started to look around the beach and think about all the other families, who were doing exactly the same thing as me... and when I saw my husband playing and laughing with the boys I realized how lost I was in the moment. Instead of taking photos I put the camera down and did some grounding techniques. I focused on my senses and allowed myself to find myself at the beach, enjoying the sand between my toes and everywhere to be honest, and listened to the sound of the water and my kids yelling and playing.... then I not only put the camera down, but away, and I "allowed" myself to join my kids to play. And it was awesome.
This post wasn't about complaining about wedding guests or crying about how I feel like I missed out on important milestones because I was so busy trying to capture them, but it's about letting you know, who is reading this, that it's okay to enjoy the moment without documenting every part about it. It's okay even if you're a professional photographer to put your camera down and enjoy your life, because it's happening and it's going to be over.
//Meghan and Travis were bridal clients of mine and had me photograph a lifestyle newborn session for her December 2016. She told me she wanted the photos to be "real" and unposed.
Reach out to a local photographer in your area and build a relationship with them, they can help document your life "at the appropriate times" with milestone & lifestyle photography sessions so that you don't miss out on the memories to preserve and you allow your self to experience them as well.... Another shameless photographer plug but hey I offer lifestyle sessions and they're AMAZING! Anyway, hope this helped someone! It helped me to get it out!