When to Put the Camera Away
Capturing Everyday Moments:
Knowing When to Take Pictures and When to Put the Camera Away
If you love pictures as much as I do, you have probably been known to have a camera glued to your hand a time or two in the past. At special events and family get-togethers, you are the one wandering around telling everyone to smile and shooting hundreds of images to memorialize your time together.
Chances are, you’re rarely in those images yourself, but you don’t mind that so much. You just like having these pictures of those important moments, and you like being the resident photographer among your friends and family. You like being the one who can provide all of them with the images they are going to cherish as much as you do.
And besides, you always have some new Facebook album you want to fill up with pictures!
Your friends and family probably adore you for this trait. Many have even likely joked that they wouldn’t have any pictures at all if it wasn’t for you. So for the most part, everyone is happy with this arrangement – you get to function as the amateur photographer of the group and they get to reap the benefits of your budding artistry.
The problem? Over time, the more you embrace your role as group photographer, the less likely you are to be a part of those moments yourself.
We don’t necessarily realize it’s happening, but living through these events with a camera situated between us and those we care about most can sometimes prevent us from living in the moment. It can inhibit connections and genuine interactions that would otherwise exist. When you are so focused on capturing the images of those times spent together, you sometimes cease living in the middle of those moments yourself.
So at some point, you have to force yourself to put the camera away and engage.
In a perfect world, you would have a professional photographer following you around at all times, ready to document those instances that mean the most to you. But in reality, that isn’t going to happen. Nor should it. Because even if it was someone else taking the pictures, forever having someone around telling you to look at the camera and smile would likely keep you from the intimate interactions that otherwise happen in day to day life.
And it is through those interactions that the most special memories are made.
So take your pictures. Absolutely. Bring the camera along to those important events and set out to document them. But give yourself a time limit. Promise to put the camera away after a half an hour, or an hour at the most. Shoot the pictures you are looking for, and keep an eye out for moments that are worth capturing, but then – pack the camera away and work on creating actual memories for yourself.
You don’t want to become the person your nieces and nephews can only identify with a camera in front of your face. You don’t want to become known as someone who keeps themselves on the outskirts of every get-together, more focused on taking pictures than on engaging. Even if you are a professional photog, in your daily life, you want to have interactions that don’t revolve around the camera.
It will always be there. Even after you tuck it away, if something incredible comes up that you just have to photograph, the camera can be pulled back out. But those human interactions that are so important for our souls? They can’t be replicated. And those memories can’t be recreated.
Everything in moderation. If you’re passionate about pictures, by all means, take as many as you please. But remember to put the camera down every once in a while and enjoy the company of those around you as well.
Even better, hire a professional on occasion so that you, too, can have your chance in front of the camera alongside everyone else.