Family Friday | The Challenges to Documenting Life


As wedding and portrait photographers, we make our living documenting milestone events and moments in the lives of others.  Being able to capture these special moments for people is amazing.  As photographers, we strive to not just tell people where to stand and how to pose, but to capture how they are as a person, as a couple, as a family.  I think these photos, with the real smiles, real expressions, and real moments are the ones that tell the story.  These photos will tell future generations who we really were.  What we were about.  What and who we loved. How we lived and what mattered to us most.

But I must confess that for the past few years we have gotten away from documenting our own family’s life in a meaningful and intentional way.  I realized we never take out the “real” camera unless it’s for work.  It’s just so easy to take  a snap shot with our iphones!  Am I right?  I was also finding that with our pro camera in hand, we missed out on a lot of the fun and I worried about keeping the camera protected too, especially if we were outdoors like at the beach.  So, a year or so ago we purchased a nice high end digital rangefinder camera that is small and convenient, so we’ve been using that for all our trips and leaving our pro cameras at home. And although I love the convenience and ease of the smaller camera, I feel like something is missing.  There is something about my professional DSLR camera that I can’t capture using the smaller camera.

The other challenge I have with documenting our family life is that photos rarely live outside of a screen anymore.  With sharing on my personal Instagramfacebook, my lifestyle blog, or here on Family Friday, I’m not getting photos printed.  The reason I fell in love with photography in the first place was because I loved being in a darkroom back in high school.  I loved the excitement and that feeling I would get when I developed a photograph.  It was magical being able to capture a moment in time and then actually make it come alive again on paper.  Oh the smell of a darkroom….I also remember being a little kid and getting so excited when we’d drop off a roll of film to be developed.   I’d wait impatiently for 3 days for my mom to drive us back to the store to pick up our photos.  Then I’d eagerly flip through them, careful not to get any fingerprints on them, of course!  Or as I got older, making scrapbooks with my sister or putting the pictures in those small “brag books”.  Remember those? I still have mine.  I want that for my kids.  I want them to be able to sit down and open a book and look through the photos and remember all the fun we had on a certain vacation, hiking our favorite trails, or just hanging out on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

After giving this much thought, I’ve come up with a plan.  Because, come on, if you know me, you know there is always a plan!  First of all, I’ve got to be realistic.  I know that I won’t carry my pro camera everywhere. Like I said earlier, I don’t want to miss out on all the fun or be worried about the camera getting damaged while we’re out and about.  So, there will still be lots of documenting with our point and shoot and my iphone on instagram.  So, I’m excited to check out Chat Books.  They are small 6×6 60 page books where every photo you share to Instagram creates a page in your book series.  The best part is that you can easily remove photos and add captions before printing them to create a perfect book each time.  You can even filter by hashtag.  Brilliant! Because come on, I post a lot of photos of food and running that probably don’t need to be printed each time.  The best part is that each book is only $6 and they also offer subscription plans.  I can’t wait to try them out and let you know how they are!

My days of scrapbooking are over.  Who has time for that?!? But, I do love the digital photo books from My Publisher.  I made one for our 2013 summer vacation and the kiddos love looking through it!   I know I said I had a plan, but I’m honestly not sure how I want to go about these books, just yet.  Ideally, I would love to make books for each season of the year or at least from each of our family vacations. Any ideas? How do you organize and print your family photos? Please share ideas in the comments!  Sharing is caring 😉

Lastly, like I said, I know I won’t take my pro camera with me everywhere we go.  But, I will make it a point to take it on some vacations and periodically on hikes or just afternoons at the park.  I want to document, not just the special occasions, but pieces of everyday life too.  Because it’s the everyday adventures and shenanigans that make up our life.  It’s the forts made out of sheets in Elysee’s room, the cool kendama tricks Diego does daily, the family game nights, the bbq’s with friends.  It’s these moments that make up our life.  It’s these moments that are worth documenting. It is these seemingly ordinary moments that make life extraordinary.

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