Thursday, 2 March 2017

Why I'm Taking Fewer Photos Of My Family


Since 2017, I've had a goal in mind - to take fewer pictures of my family.

Yes, I know...this isn't really the kind of goal that parents usually set. Infact usually, it's the opposite - I'm always hearing about how people want to take more photos of their kids, more photos of them together as a family, more photos of them in on the action with the kids (admittedly, this is something I want to do more of but let me finish...)

So why would I want to take less?

After all, we have a huge collection of lovely family photographs from the last four years - enough to fill probably a hundred photo albums. Every major moment, birthday, holiday, every day out - all captured in some lovely images that we will treasure forever.

So why would I ever want to take less?

Trust me, I have my reasons.

I've mentioned before on my blog about how my perfectionism can get in the way of things, and how I have annoyed myself (and my family!) in my endless pursuit of lovely photos...because the thing is, I  love taking pictures. I love looking back at them, I love completing a photo project, I love having family moments to share on social media and my blog, and I love the idea that I'm creating lots of memories for the children to look back on when they're all grown up...and I want to learn more about my camera and how to use it properly. It's an interest of mine and one that I am keen to explore.

But what I don't want is for my desire to have these moments for us to look back on to get in the way of actually living and experiencing that moment - and not just for me as the one behind the camera, but for the kids too.

Let me tell you about something that happened recently.

A few weeks ago, when we were on holiday in Disneyland Paris, my partner accidentally dropped my camera. And it broke.

Just an accident, these things happen - and sure it's probably normal to be a bit annoyed at him for being so clumsy (not least of all because it was the second time he'd done it in as many weeks and we'd only just had it back from being repaired the last time!) but what I don't think is normal, is the LEVEL of panic I felt at that moment.

I didn't just cry...I almost hyperventilated, I had to hide in a little hidden corner of Disneyland whilst all the happy families walked past me as I sobbed, and basically got myself into a complete state.

Over a camera.

Because at that moment, I was heartbroken at the thought that I wouldn't be able to capture these memories of our lovely time in Disneyland.

How would the kids ever be able to look back and remember what a lovely time we'd had?

How would I be able to look back on it during a bad day and remember how much fun that time was?

How would I be able to show my friends how great it was there, and all of the fun things we'd done?

But there was nothing I could do. The camera was broken, and that was that.

It wasn't until my partner, in an attempt to console me, reminded me that I could still take photos on my iPhone that I eventually started to calm down.

But by that time, luckily, the realisation had already hit me - that it wasn't right to be THAT invested in getting photographs. And that even if we couldn't take any, it didn't stop us from experiencing the magic of Disney and having the most wonderful time anyway...

That the kids would be able to look back and remember it the old fashioned way...using just their memories and our reminiscing chats about it as they get older.

That WE would be able to look back at it in the same way...without the use of photos.

No our memories wouldn't be as crystal clear as a nice high res photograph, but maybe...just maybe they'd be a little bit more authentic. Because we wouldn't only be remembering the glossy, edited, perfectly posed smiles but also the reality that went along with them - like how seconds after we met Jack Sparrow on our first day Noah had burst into floods of tears and refused to look in his direction again. Or how poor Gepetto had to spend such a long time talking to chatterbox Tyne at Cafe Mickey that Goofy ended up bringing a chair over for him.

The Disneyland episode has stayed with me since we got home, and I've become so much more conscious of how often I have the urge to pull out the camera and take photos of the boys at various points during the day. Of how often I grab my phone to record something for Instagram stories.  Of just how present in their lives my various recording tools are.

And I feel as though its happening too often...for my liking at least.

As a blogger, it's difficult to find the right balance between private family time where there are no cameras involved and moments to share publically.

Infact it's something that seems to have infiltrated the lives of most children, even those whose parents are not bloggers - everywhere I go there are kids being asked to stop playing for a moment to smile for Mummy, to turn their attention away from the lion they're watching at the zoo and turn to look at the camera instead.

And sure, it's a normal part of childhood to have that happen occasionally - all parents want photos of their kids particularly on hard earned days out or holidays that they've spent a lot on, we all want the memories to keep forever.

But I don't want my childrens overriding memory of me as a mother to be that I always had a camera in their faces, that I was always interrupting their fun to get a nice picture...that I was always pausing our family day out to set up my tripod and get a family shot.

Yes family photos are priceless, yes I want to have some to treasure - but I want to start being more aware of how often these photos are taken and I want to stop forcing them to happen at a certain time or day because I "need them" for a blog post.

My eldest child is almost 4 and he is very intelligent, he knows his own mind and what he wants - and for the past few months at least he has told me in no uncertain terms that he hates having his photo taken, and that he doesn't want me to take my camera when we go out for the day.

So obviously my photo-taking isn't only an issue in my own mind, it's something that he HAS noticed and that is already bothering him.

And I feel like that's something I can't ignore.

I'm not saying I'm going to stop taking photos altogether, that would be crazy - I want to have them to look back on, I want shots of us as a family, of course I do - but I don't want getting a photograph to always be so much at the forefront of my mind as it is right now.

January was the first time in two years that I didn't take part in the Me & Mine Photo project ...previously I'd always made sure, no matter what, that we went out and got a nice photo specifically for that photo project...even Jon knew when the monthly date was and that we HAD to have the photo by then.

But last month...I decided to skip it....and do you know what happened? Nothing!

The world kept spinning, the blog kept ticking over, and we carried on being a family - just one who didn't have a photo from January!! It wasn't a big deal. It was all in my head. Of course I knew it was, but I needed to stop joining in to prove it to myself. To show myself that it really didn't matter how often we get these or any other photos.

These things should be done for fun...they shouldn't be something that gets in the way of a day out or something that I stress out over.

When the mood strikes us and the kids are happy to have a photo taken, then fine...we'll take one (And it will be one or two, not them waiting around while I take 20 or 30 different shots incase they don't turn out how I want them to!)

If a month or 2 months or 3 months passes without one...that's fine too.

The world will not stop. And thats what I needed to realise.

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26 comments

  1. As long as you are feeling better it really does not matter, I am sure you have some amazing pictures of Sailors first birthday. Don't feel like you have to post pictures for us we love your family no matter what. Instagram stories show the real you and we love you.

    Charlotte x

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  2. Such a good post, sometimes I try not to take photos & just enjoy the moment! xx

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    1. Thanks Kerry! It's hard to do but I am trying really hard to do it more! x

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  3. I understand why you feel this way! For me it is the opposite as I have so little pictures of myself with my daughter, and even less pictures of our family so I am planning to do that more this year. It is tricky sometimes though to balance taking pictures with just enjoying the moment!

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    1. Thanks Sanna, it is such a difficult balance to get right and so easy to become almost obsessive about the photo taking x

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  4. Oh, I can so relate to this post! I actually live 20 minutes from Disneyland (in CA, USA) and I take my 3 year old there quite a bit. The BEST DAY EVER was the day that I forgot my iPhone in the car! Why was it the best day ever? Because I didn't stop every second to "capture a memory" -- but instead, I was simply enjoying my time with my little guy. I didn't take videos every second, didn't take a photo ever second (not to mention the fact that I had no social media access so that kept me in the moment as well) -- but yes, I find that I spend so much time behind the camera lens and not enough time just "being present" in the moment. #bestandworstweek

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    1. Oh wow, see I would almost love for that to happen just to see how much difference it made to the experience to not get a photo for just one special day like that! Infact I'm tempted to try a day on our next visit where we have zero recording devices with us, just to try it! The thought actually makes me nervous haha!
      (On another note, I am insanely jealous that you live that close to Disneyland!) xx

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  5. I totally get this! I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to 99% of my life but I am when it comes to photos and it can often be to my detriment. We've started leaving our camera at home on special days out, events etc and just saving picture taking for weekend walks or indoors normality. It helps because you really are just so much more in the moment on the days that you have memories to treasure. xx

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    1. That is such a good idea Abbie, I'm definitely going to start leaving at home on days out xx

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  6. I always remember having a day out in York with my Mum and she was so sad that the film got exposed and she lost all our photos. She was so sad but I still remember that lovely day. This is a great post and has made me think a bit too. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst xx

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    1. Ah really! It's lovely to hear that you still remember the day so well, that's definitely something I'll be keeping in mind! xx

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  7. I can totally relate to this. In the summer we went to France for the month and I was doing some filming too and I dropped and smashed my camera and have a massive crying session and toddler like tantrum about wasting all this opportunity. Of course I got my act together (and bought a stand in!) but I, like you, do really want to take much candid shots of us enjoying life rather than worrying about the perfect faces. x #SharingtheBlogLove

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    1. Ahh well it makes me feel a bit better that its not just me who threw a tantrum though lol! It's so hard to do isn't it, but so important too I think xx

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  8. Oh I can relate to this lovely. Sometimes I worry that I am too preoccupied trying to get pictures instead of actually enjoying the experience. I now aim to spend 5 minutes taking pictures as soon as we arrive somewhere and then the camera goes away so I can just enjoy it. #sharingthebloglove
    www.memeandharri.com

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  9. I take too many too. I do photo a day for Project 365, although a lot of those are random thing wanted him to have that choice when he's older. However, when we cleared out my mum's house after she died, we just chucked out a lot of albums. They were her memories not ours and it felt like a waste, and sad doing it. So I'm trying to streamline the ones I keep even if not the amount I take.

    N also moans about having his photo taken. So I have to make sure I ask him when I can take one or he'll pick up the camera anyway. It's definitely a fine line #sharingthebloglove

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  10. What a brilliant post and yeah I get why you'd be upset I think I would been same. But I agree sometimes it's just being in the moment and enjoying for what it is xxx

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  11. That balance is such a difficult one to strike. I know I'd have been devastated too if my camera had broken on such an important trip, and when the children are so little too. But I know my Dad always felt like this about our holidays (particularly to Disney actually) - that he was stuck behind the video camera and missed out on enjoying the moment. I try to make sure I put my camera away for at least part of a big day out to make sure I enjoy it properly, but I'm probably guilty of hanging back with my camera too often. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  12. I can totally see why you would have been upset, I think any parent would have been to capture those moments on a special trip. I've made more effort to step away from the camera more. To get more natural shots of the girls, when they are not aware of the camera. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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  13. I don't take as many as I used to. It is important to make the memories to remember and not get caught up living your life through a lens, so to speak. I take enough to kee a progress of how much Little Man is growing and it's enough. #sharingthebloglove

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  14. This is such a great post. All of my photos are taken in my phone and while I keep considering investing in a good camera at the back of my mind I have this worry that it will take over and take some enjoyment out of our days out. I try my hardest just to take photos of the kids as they are. If they happen to be by something cool I'll ask for them to turn for a photo but make it a quick one so they can back to exploring and having fun. It's definitely a hard balance to strike. My 2 year old loves having her picture taken and my 8 yr old son is ok with it to an extent too. He likes having them to look back on but is very choosey about what I'm allowed to put on social media which is fair enough. That's why if you check my Instagram feed a lot of the time it looks like I only have one kid!
    #SharingtheBlogLove

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  15. I really relate to this, not just for taking photos but for the need I have (addiction, practically) to check my phone almost constantly for messages etc. I find I feel so much better and more engaged as a mum when I put my phone in the changing bag rather than my pocket, because I can't simply pull it out so easily so I tend to forget about it! #sharingthebloglove

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  16. I can totally relate to this. I take so many photos of my family, and not just since I started blogging. I have a terrible memory, so I feel that I can't just rely on memories alone to help me remember important times. It is refreshing though to sometimes not be taking photos or video. On our last holiday my husband said a few times "Aren't you taking a photo of this?" or "I'm surprised you're not videoing this", but it actually felt good to just be drinking it in and not looking at it through a lens (or screen). I hope you found the same, and continue to find a happy balance. #SharingtheBlogLove

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  17. Great post. I don't take that many photos of my kids (I have my reasons too). Some times I just think, let's live in the moment and enjoy the moment, sometimes pursuing those photos just get in the way of having a good time. Also, my kids are getting older and are getting a bit fed up of the picture chase! #SharingtheBlogLove

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  18. Great post - I feel the same, i hate how many photos i feel i need to take for my blog/social media. It's just taking over my life. It's why I've written about why i'm not sure if instagram is for me... i want to have memories for memories sake, not because I've got a laptop or phone full of photos x #SharingtheBlogLove

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  19. Great post- great points. I too am trying to enjoy the moment more and put the camera down. I was finding that I was taking too many photos to even look at at one time! I would have to scroll through so many just to find the highlights of the event. Memories for memories sake, not for photos- great advice!

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