After spending way too much time organizing and editing the roughly 3,547 photos I’ve taken of my two-year-old daughter – so far – I realized I might have a problem. For starters, I was rapidly filling up the insane amount of space Dropbox allows me to have. Not to mention I’d just wasted an afternoon deciding which of the 23 shots of her eating a slice of watermelon in our backyard was the best one to keep. Yes, I love my daughter. Yes, I want to capture all of her adorableness and personality into photos we can look back on fondly one day. But things were getting out of hand.
It’s so incredibly easy with digital cameras and iPhones to take a million pictures a day. But maybe, just maybe, when we were stuck in the land of film, and you had to carefully choose which moments, people, and landscapes to capture, we had it the right way around. Taking photos of my daughter was literally starting to take over my life. I’m not cutting myself off cold turkey, but I am learning to put down the phone and take a step back. Here’s why I stopped taking so many darn pictures of my kid.
I’m too busy capturing the moment to enjoy it
I’ve spent so much time behind my camera or phone I’ve probably missed half the awesome stuff my daughter is doing. Not to mention, instead of playing with her, I’m actively putting myself into the role of bystander. When I leave the camera behind, I free up both my hands so I can really get into pushing her on the swings, cheer-sing her with a pretend cup of tea, and creating a sidewalk chalk masterpiece in the driveway.
Getting good shots of wriggling babies and obnoxious toddlers is hard!
Have you ever tried to get a decent photo of a child going down a slide? There’s so much pressure to capture every cute moment – and post it on Instagram – that I’ve found myself making my daughter climb back up and slide down a dozen times. Just so we can get the perfect facial expression, lighting, and focus. Why bother? Little ones are constantly moving, every second photo is blurry, and if I’m being totally honest, my daughter’s “cheese” face is somewhat horrific. It’s time to stop forcing picture perfect moments and start living them.
I don’t need 500 photos of my daughter’s second birthday
I need a picture of her with her presents, the cake, and family members. That’s it. In 20 years I know I will have no desire to look back at a 15 minute slideshow of shots including her unidentifiable friends popping balloons, the ridiculous amount of food I cooked, and seven different angles of her pouting in her party dress.
I’ve started going on walks, play dates, and to *gasp* birthday parties sans camera. I’ve entered a new world where I go a week and realize I haven’t taken a single photo. And you know what? It feels pretty good.