Present vs. Pictures


Present vs. Pictures

Lately I’ve come across lots of posts, articles, and declarations about putting your phone down and living in the moment. Be present instead of taking a photo or video! I agree, we should not record an entire concert on our iPad, and we probably shouldn’t have our phones out snapping photos during a wedding. Other than that, I pretty much 100% disagree with this opinion.

I absolutely LOVE capturing moments of my family and my daughter.

I know I have friends on Facebook who probably shake their head every time I upload a batch of photos. Over the holiday season, from Thanksgiving into the new year, I took upwards of 700 photos and I don’t regret it one bit. I’ve never been hit by that rocking feeling that I am missing an inspiring moment because I was snapping photo. I am engaging in the moment and creating the instant memory of it. You know what I wish I had more of? Videos from my daughter as a baby. She is my one and only, and we have no plans to have anymore, so I will never again experience the newness of a little life like that. I have so few videos of that time and as much as my heart and my mind intended on remembering the little moments, it’s just not always true.

Sometime in the last several months, I watched a home video at my in-law’s house. I would venture to say that my mother-in-law feels about the same way that I do in regards to capturing memories, as she too captures lots of photos and events for our family. What I saw that day was a video of my husband as a little boy and his two sisters, dancing around with their dad singing Rocky Top (all very big Vols fans). They currently live in the same house as they did then, but everything was different. This was just a normal day, not Christmas morning or a birthday. Just a moment of fun and laughter and love, and they captured it…and then they shared it with me. I loved it; it made my heart swell watching people who I love so much dancing around 20 years ago. I guarantee you that my mother-in-law does not regret capturing that moment all those years ago now that her babies are grown with their own babies.

On my mom’s side of the family, we are big fans of slideshows. My mom and my aunt can put together some absolutely perfect slideshows that will just wreck your heart (in the best way). A walk down memory lane mashed with the perfect song, wouldn’t happen without the photo to go with it. Am I going to make a slideshow with all 700 photos that I took this holiday season? No, probably not, but some of those photos will come up. Some of them will be cherished for the rest of our life. The fewer I take, the fewer I capture. I never know if that’s going to be the last time I see a family baby crawl across the floor before they walk or if we will all get to be together next year.

My uncle is in a bad way now, and this might have been the last time I will have heard him pick a banjo with his talented fingers, or play music with my whole family. I don’t regret for a moment capturing the happiness on my husband’s face as he got pelted with a snowball. I love looking back on the happiness of family doing normal things, playing a game, talking and cooking, just being together. I relish capturing the sweetness on my daughter’s face when she opens a gift she loves or enjoying her gifts.

I do not, and I will not, regret capturing memories.

If you feel like it’s hindering you from enjoying your life, then by all means, put the camera down. But if the results bring you as much joy as the moment did, don’t let the weight of what society perceives about your choices weigh you down. Don’t assume because someone takes lots of photos and videos, that they’re doing it for show, or that they are not present in the moment. I can be, and I am, present while I take photographs to store up in my memory forever.


  1. I don’t normally comment on blogs, but your post hit a cord in me. I too read all the articles about being in the moment and it made me feel like i was taking too many photos. But I love photos. Like you, I love reliving those happy memories and letting my kids see how they used to be. I love that facebook actually has the memories tab. 6 years ago, my daughter was baptized and I had a dear friend who came and filmed the whole thing for me. She posted it and tagged me and it came across my memories. My daughter is about to turn 15 and I shared the post and tagged her and she was delighted to see herself getting baptized and it reminded her of the best decision she ever made. It served a reminder and a sweet memory for the both of us. She is my only daughter and my son is already 6 and growing up so fast. by taking pictures I feel like I get to hold onto his childhood a bit longer and then revisit it with him when he gets older. Plus, my mother in law has dementia and so those early videos of him with her are that much more special since she has trouble remembering who he is. So thank you for this post. Now, i don’t feel guilty of stepping back and taking a photo and then rejoining in the fun. I have never felt like I was missing the moment. I was there, just recording it for later.


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