It's Christmas morning! Our daughter is ready to burst into the living room and see her stocking overflowing and presents covering the floor from the moment her big blue eyes pop open. But I now find myself doing the torturous thing my mother did to my sister & me growing up. I make her wait. I know what you are thinking. How terrible could I be? But it's a routine that I have acquired-a tradition, you could say.
Turn on Christmas Music.
And let Mommy get the camera.
The camera: the technology that captures all those special moments so they can be printed out on paper, put into a photo book, hung on the walls, or shared on social media to be relived as often as you would like with as many people as you'd like.
The funny thing is, when I am behind the camera, I put on my game face. Searching for the perfect lighting. Getting my settings on point so the pictures will be clear and crisp. Moving the clutter out of shot. All this is a great sign of my work ethic, but am I really enjoying that Christmas morning glow on my daughter's face with a camera in front of mine?
This Christmas morning I found myself in the living room floor telling my daughter she couldn't leave her bedroom until my camera was ready. I took a picture, checked it, and it wasn't bright enough. Did another, still not perfect. I then looked at my husband & said, "I'm not doing this." I was spending the first ten minutes of Christmas morning working (which I don't like to call it). I put my camera down and released the burden. Our daughter came busting out of her room with the biggest smile on her face and her cute Christmas pajamas from Christmas Eve. I was there & present in the moment. I saw her face with my own two eyes, not from the preview button on my camera. I watched her in real time open each and every present with the most joy on her face. Sure, we snapped a few photos on our iPhones, but nothing that required me to feel pressured. They are perfect for the group text to grandparents and small prints. But they required such little time and effort in such a special moment.
From this moment on, I have decided to put my camera away during family functions. I want to be in the moment & see the happiness on my daughter's face when she opens her favorite gift. Watch her score that basket with nothing obstructing my view. See her sing on stage at her talent show without checking my ISO.
From my perspective, it is better to feel in the moment than feel pressured to take the perfect photograph with your own family.
That's what your photographer is for.. ;-)