For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a camera in my hand.
Whether it was my dinosaur-aged Polaroid, my point-and-shoot, my DSLR, or my iPhone, I’ve put in more lens time than I have post-three-kids-kegel exercises. (And, believe me, I do them A LOT.) From even before my girls were born, I’ve never downplayed the importance of capturing moments on film, to cherish for a lifetime. To this day, I still sit regularly with my parents and look back at their sepia-toned, vintage photos while listening to the elaborate stories that surround them, and it warms my heart to strengthen our bond as a family through memories.
(Today’s version of “vintage” photos, when our children look back on them someday)
That’s what photos are to me. A bond. A frozen moment in time with an infinite shelf-life of conversation.
While that might seem like the obvious reason that anyone takes a photo, here are 7 more reasons you should grab that camera and snap away:
1. Photos make you talk. In a world where spoken conversation is slowly being replaced by digital chat, it’s important to find reasons to TALK. With that thing that comes out of your voice box. Even if it’s to say to your mother, “Why did you ever let me leave the house with a man’s TIE on for the first day of school?”
2. Photos make you laugh. When my 4 year-old busts out with a mismatched outfit and a flailing “fashion pose” or my 1 year-old boasts bed hair that rivals Don King’s or even my 3 year-old bursts out doing, well, anything, I don’t hesitate to take the shot. I know they’ll enjoy laughing about it someday and I look forward to reliving those moments with them. I also look forward to showing all of their boyfriends so that it will maybe save my husband from having to padlock our front door.
3. Photos change perspective. My husband has battled with his weight over the last few years and while he knew he had to take control of it, he didn’t really KNOW until he happened to glance at some pictures of himself. When he saw them, it struck a chord. Suddenly, our conversation went from what he looked like, physically, to the dread of what could happen years from now if he didn’t stay healthy, having three young children to care for. It was a wake-up call and a jumpstart to a complete lifestyle change. All sparked from a photo.
4. Photos give you history. Once you look back at your parent’s and grandparent’s photos, you’ll know where your daughter or son got their blue eyes, or why your baby has those curls or where your child’s stunningly good looks came from (in the case of my children, this was made clear by my glowing high school senior portrait).
(You see it, too. I know.)
5. Photos keep you connected. My oldest daughter loves to draw. It’s what she does in all of her spare time. I would even go as far to say that she might really be an artist someday (no, I swear, she will). Today, she finished a drawing of “a skeleton arm” that could only be said to resemble something that should never be spoken about in the Internet space, and immediately said, “send it to daddy!” who is away on business. I texted the photo to him with a funny caption and he quickly replied that it made his day. No matter where anyone is, a photo can instantly connect you (and urge you to teach your child how to draw a skeleton arm that won’t need censorship when using it in a blog post).
6. Photos decorate your house, office, gifts, and possibly, your children. Aside from the fact that it is now more affordable than ever to decorate your walls with framed photos or canvases (thank you, Groupon), you can also have your photos printed into gift wrap, memorabilia, and just about anything you can get your hands on. Each year, for my girls’ birthdays, I find a photo from the prior year and print it out onto iron-on transfer paper, and then iron it onto a tee-shirt. That shirt gets worn for the event and then immediately shadowboxed, along with a picture of her in it, and hung on the wall in her bedroom. Photos can truly decorate all aspects of your life.
(A shirt I made for my oldest daughter when the next in line turned 1. They all get in on the birthday shirt action.)
7. Photos make a great girls’ night out. My long-time girlfriends and I get together at least once a month for a much-needed girls’ night. We drink wine, eat lots of great food, talk about our lives AND BUST OUT THE PHOTO ALBUMS. It never gets tiring to look back at the night you went to Senior prom together or organized a synchronized dance on a public beach (yes, it happened) or even the first visit to the hospital when one of you had a baby.
If I haven’t already given you reason enough, grab your camera and snap away. Sure, your kids might get annoyed with your 500th attempt at getting them all to smile together for a shot, but that’s what brownies are for. Believe me, they’ll cooperate. (And you know you just want a reason to make brownies.)