When to put the camera down

This is an interesting topic coming from a photographer, right? Truth is, I love my job and love to take photos of my own family- especially my kids. Not just at birthdays, holidays, and fun events- but the everyday as well. It’s always been important to me to document their days. I want to look back and be able to remember their silly quirks, their personalities, how they smiled, and what they looked like at each phase of their life. However, there is definitely such a thing as taking too many pictures. Say what?!?

Yes, you heard me right. Too many. There is a balance. A balance of capturing certain moments and then putting the camera down to be present. So, when it’s one of my kid’s birthdays I snap a few of them seeing and opening their presents, a few of the table setting (we always set the table super fancy and festive for their birthdays the night before), a couple special moments throughout the day, and then we do an annual photo shoot- just for them- but not usually on their birthday. (Honestly, sometimes it’s weeks or a month or two later, and thats okay.)

I don’t take photos of every single thing, gift, moment that day. I make intentional choices about what we want to highlight and what they would probably like to look back on. I’ve been guilty of taking so many photos during special times, that I realized looking back that I wasn’t present for those moments. I’ve gotten better about not only putting my camera away for a few hours but also handing it to my husband so I can jump in a few and be in their photo albums with them!

They say the days go slow but the years go fast when you have kids, and I’ve found that to be so true. Every time one of their birthdays rolls around I utter the phrase “how has it been another year already?”

Here’s a little trick I use sometimes: Re-enact the moments. This helps me be there in the real one. As in, when my baby is blowing out her candles- I’m singing with every one else, and watching her eyes get big and excited thinking about the chocolate cake in front of her while she fills her chubby little cheeks full of air to make her wish (most likely for a real life unicorn in her backyard). Then, sometimes– I ask her to pretend to blow them out again and take a quick photo for her album.

Another thing I do for the every day is keep my camera handy. I keep it on our dining room piano so it’s out of the way but really easy to grab for when my kids are being extra cute or I want to capture a quick moment. Then, it’s right back to it’s spot until I need it again.

There are times we go on hiking trips or to family get-togethers and I leave my camera at home because I know that the lighting and location situation is not going to be ideal for awesome shots anyway and/or I’d like to and need to just be, be with my family, be with my kids, be present and enjoy.

So, my advice is whether you are a professional or a mom with an iphone- take a few, put it down, be present. Repeat as needed.

How about you? Do you tend to have it out all the time and take 30 photos of your thanksgiving table or are you the opposite maybe and don’t break it out enough?

Here are some fun random family photos where I took my camera out- shot a few and then put it back so I could be with my crew.

  1. Linda Newman says:

    Absolutely beautiful photos. I totally agree about being mindful of the moments with your family. Such a good reminder to be present! Also I love your bright, crisp photos. 😍

  2. Kim Forbes says:

    This is great advice on striking a balance when you are the photographer!

  3. Kim Wilhite says:

    I never have my camera with me! I need to learn the opposite!

  4. Courtney says:

    Such a great reminder for photographers AND non-photographers! I still can’t believe how may parents I see holding phones at a wedding ceremony — just BE PRESENT!

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