It’s trendy now to produce lots of sighs and eye-rolls during conversations about the prevalence of technology. The cool kids take Iphone fasts, Facebook breaks, and social media sabbaticals.
These things are good and healthy. It’s smart to assess one’s use of time in any capacity.But this blog post is not another attempt to hammer on today’s technology. It’s a celebration, rather, of photography, digital pictures and the endless possibilities they open to us.
I’ll be the first to admit that I love taking pictures. Dozens, hundreds, even thousands of pictures. I love capturing moments, meals, smiles, and places. Sometimes I edit a photo on the spot. Sometimes I Instagram. Sometimes I just keep the photos to cull through, edit, and reminisce over at a later time.
So, without further rambling, allow me to present a list of 10 Reasons to Take Lots of Pictures:
1. Strengthen photo skills.
Practice makes perfect. I love looking through old photos and knowing that my photography has improved over time. Maybe you don’t even necessarily know what is better. But as you take pictures and look at them and throw them out and take some more, you become more selective of lighting, backdrop, scenery, exposure, and subject matter. And your pictures get better!
2. Be a more satisfied photo editor.
More actually is better in this instance. The more photos you take, the more you have to cull through and select from. This is a good thing when you’re editing, looking for certain angles, or trying to find the shot with that one perfect bit of subject matter. As I was editing our wedding photos for various projects, I was so grateful that I had so many to choose from. One of my primary regrets after many events is that there aren’t more pictures to choose from (“Is that really the only shot we have of Aunt Susie?”).
3. Appreciate the little things.
Everyday photography is a chance to stop and smell the roses. Quite literally. I am so much more observant of my surroundings since I started taking lots of pictures. I notice particularly striking color combinations, beautiful table arrangements, unique angles on architecture, and small pockets of beauty that I never noticed before. The constant search for beauty reminds us that we are surrounded by it, if we will only stop and notice.
4. Appreciate the present.
By the same token, my constant iPhone photography has also encouraged me to appreciate the little moments that would have otherwise come and gone and disappeared forever. I remember simple dates with Mark early in our relationship, fun weekends with my younger brothers, girl time with friends who now live across the country, recipe experiments with my mom . . . the list goes on and on. I’m so grateful for my bank of fun memories and I’m reminded to capture the little moments as they happen so that I can remember them years from now.
5. Make the ordinary special.
A picture has the power to take an ordinary moment and mark it as special, to brand it forever as “That day when . . .”. Pictures tell, in visuals, the stories that build our lives and when we take pictures, we remind ourselves that nothing is ordinary and no one is boring, that we are telling a story with our lives all of the time.
6. Remind us what we love.
Businessmen, politicians, doctors, and soldiers keep pictures of their families on their desks, on their dashboards, or in their wallets to remind themselves of what is important to them, to remind themselves of the ones they love. When I see pictures of my husband or family or friends, I’m reminded of my priorities. The act of taking pictures, of marking people or occasion as important, reminds me to pause and remember what really inspires me in life.
On top of making me a better photographer and photo editor, taking pictures has opened the door to learning so much about lighting, photography, and technology. The field of digital photography is the intersection of so much – photography, technology, marketing, communication, art – there’s so much room for learning and growing in new directions. What’s not to love?
8. Save time.
Really. You can save time just by taking lots of pictures. This is a more practical purpose, but I use my Iphone to take pictures of colors, samples, products, and ingredients frequently.
When we were painting our house, I would take a picture of the paint can or caulk tube before heading to Home Depot so that I knew exactly what to pick up. This habit saves me from being left stranded without a pen and paper or from losing my list!
9. Appreciate change.
Pictures also help us appreciate change. Anyone who has a terrible picture of themselves between ages 12 and 21 knows this. It’s nice to know that the braces or the bangs or the questionable t-shirts were actually a passing phase and are a now thing of the past. I love the change evident in the pictures of me and my college girlfriends for instance.
We aren’t insecure riotous freshmen anymore . . . now we’re teachers and professionals and moms and wives and friends that have been through a lot more than a few tests together. But if we hadn’t taken so many pictures during college, we never would be able to appreciate the change that we can see.
Our ability to remember is inherent to our humanity. Humans have remembered their own lives and the stories of their cultures for millennia. Ancient civilizations relied on stories passed down through songs or poetry or pictographs or tapestries.
Remembering our stories is one of the things that helps make life more than just a conglomeration of numbers and instincts and biology. We feel and love and cry and connect and mourn and celebrate. And we remember. And even if the picture is just a dumb little Instagram shot, pictures help us do that.
So don’t feel guilty abut taking those pictures. You are capturing beauty and helping others to remember it.
“There is such a place as fairyland – but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. . . . Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. . . . The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.” – L.M. Montgomery