Being a Daily Mom writer means that we are writing and photographing our lives around the clock. This also means that our kids have been in front of the camera since before they were born. In fact, a few of our children may even think that our camera is part of our face. Perhaps you can relate. On the other hand, if you’ve recently gotten into photography, you may be finding that you and your kids could both use a break from the constant photo op.
Today we will explore 8 reasons you should leave your camera at home. Not only do we think you’ll be a better mom, but we also think that this break from your camera will give you better photos. Read on to discover why.
1. One Less Thing to Worry About
Let’s say that your family will be visiting the “Big City” as tourists. Besides your wallet, what could be more tempting to a theft than your brand new DSLR? You can certainly bring it along and disquise it by packing it in your diaper bag, but the truth of the matter is that travelers report stolen cameras all the time.
Avoid the drama, the financial loss, the wasted time of reporting the loss, and the uneasiness of knowing that some criminal is looking at photos of your family by leaving your camera at home. Of course, if you’re going to be away from home, don’t announce it to the world (that’s just as negligent) and be sure to lock up your fancy equipment.
2. Been There, Done That
Perhaps you live near a theme park or zoo and have season passes. One of our editors lives near Disney World. Her family has season passes and visits often. Does she bring her camera every time? No way!
3. Be Back Soon
If you’re like us, you have a tendency to look at the world a little different when you’re peaking through your viewfinder. And while the gift of photography can be a wonderful thing, it can often mean a bad case of tunnel vision. You have a tendency to hyper focus on capturing the perfect shot and forget about everything else.
Try going to a new place that you plan to visit again, and leave the camera behind (If that’s too much to ask, the next time you go away for a week, leave your camera in the hotel safe for the first day.). By leaving the camera “at home,” you’ll be able to get a better feel for the place. Use the time away from your camera to pay attention to your family, the light, the events of the day, etc. Once you’ve done that, you can return with a better idea of what to capture, where to capture it, and when the light will be ideal.
4. Not in the Mood
Photography is one of those things that can be affected by your mood. If you’re having an off day or you’re finding that your patience has reached it’s daily limit, leave the camera behind. The alternative is to bring your camera along and be disappointed with your photos. We prefer to save you the time and frustration.
5. Does Anyone Even Care?
Before you bring your camera along to the next event or family outing, ask yourself why you’re bringing it. If you are bringing it for yourself, for the family photo album, or to make sure the grandparents who live three states over can be a part of the experience via Facebook, then by all means bring it along.
If, however, you are just trying to show the world how much fun your family is having, then leave the camera behind. Social media has made us believe that everyone wants to see what we’re up to at all times. We’re not suggesting that you don’t share photos, but no one needs to see an entire album of holiday or vacation photos.
6. It’s Expected
If you’ve been into photography for any length of time, then you’ve experienced the “joy” of attending a party and being asked at the last minute to take photos. If this hasn’t happened to you yet, just wait.
At first, you’ll be flattered. You’ll jump at the opportunity to take photos every chance you can get. Then, you’ll feel a little taken advantage of. After a while, you’ll decide to just leave the camera at home so that you can honestly tell whoever is asking that you didn’t bring your camera.
We find that when it’s expected, all the joy you once felt when using your camera is drained away. You may even become a bit resentful of those who ask you to share your talent.
7. Let Someone Else be the Photographer
Not all momtographers are professional photographers. Even if you are, it doesn’t mean that you have to take professional quality photos every time you go somewhere with your family. If someone else brought their camera or you’re somewhere that offers photography as a service, ask if they’ll take a photo of your family. If you’re on vacation, consider hiring a photographer for a destination portrait session.
If you’re going on vacation and can’t bear the idea of not taking a camera along with you, but don’t want to rely on your phone, we love the idea of using a mirrorless camera. We particularly like the Sony NEX-6L/B. This is a pocket camera with professional-grade performance and the ability to change lenses. Canon and Nikon make similar models. The idea of being able to use our “big girl” camera lenses with such a small camera body is the best of both worlds!
8. Just Enjoy the Experience
For those of us who have a camera within arms reach at all times, being told to just “enjoy the moment” is easier said than done.
You (person who doesn’t get it) think that taking pictures is preventing us from “being in the moment,” but here’s the deal. If there is a beautiful moment and we’re unable to capture it with our camera, it can sometimes ruin the experience for us.
That said, it’s not always about us. If we constantly have a camera held to our face, we may be ruining the experience for our families. It’s possible that our children would rather play with us than perform for our camera, and that is worth leaving our camera at home.
From one mom to another:
I recently found myself in a situation where I wanted to bring my camera to an event, but I wasn’t sure if it’d be allowed. After much discussion with our team, I decided to leave the camera at home and enjoy the event without my camera.
As soon as I arrived at this event, I wished I had brought my camera, especially after seeing so many other parents holding DSLRs. It took a little while to get over myself, but once I realized that my photos probably would come out blurry or dark, I realized that it was way more fun to sing and dance with my daughter than to attempt to take bad photos.
With time and practice, you can get to the point where you can take photos and still be completely in the moment. Your camera will become an extension of your eye, you’ll be able to shoot in manual without much thought and your children will think it weird for you not to have your camera on you. Until then, just leave it at home and enjoy the experience.
When was the last time you went somewhere without your camera? If it’s been a while, give it a try. We promise that your relationship with your family will thrive and your photography will improve after a much needed break.
Why You Need to Disconnect to Reconnect
Photo credits: Ashley Sisk and The Art of Making a Baby