I’ve been struggling a lot lately when it comes to photographing my own family… which is an odd thing for a photographer to say, right? Let me try to explain.
I LOVE what I do. And I LOVE all the families and babies that I work with. I feel extremely fortunate that I discovered my love of photography and am now able to call this my job. And I’m so thankful that we, as a family, were in a place in our lives that has allowed me to follow my dream.
But, while I adore what I do, having photography as my career makes taking photos of MY OWN family that much harder. Because, even though I’m just hanging out with my kids and snapping photos – sometimes all I can think about is how much work I’m creating for myself while I’m snapping away. If you’re not a photographer, you might not realize that taking the photo is only the first step. Because then there’s the uploading, and the backing up, and the editing, and more editing, and the exporting, and usually also creating a post to share the images (whether on my biz FB page, my personal FB page, IG, my website, or a forum), and then there’s the feeling guilty for not having time to organize them in a book or album for everyone to enjoy, and then of course the mental energy expended worrying about whether my work is good enough, whether I’M good enough… And after all is said and done, not only does the whole process take a lot of time, but a lot of work, too (I know my fellow photogs are nodding their heads along with me).
When I was new to photography, my full-time job was as an ER nurse and I very much enjoyed working on photos at night after my kiddos went to bed – it was my down time, my me-time. Well, now that my full time job is being a photographer and it requires me to gaze into the blue glow of the computer screen all day long, pretty much the last thing I want to do at night after the kiddos go to bed is continue to stare at that screen and edit photos of my family. I’d much rather spend my me-time doing other things such as reading, watching some Netflix, or you know – having a conversation with my husband for a change 😉 .
I’ve been feeling this way a lot lately… So, when the boys and I were packing up to head to my parents’ lake house in PA this past weekend, I added my camera bag to the car and made it my goal to take at least one photo while I was there that just made me happy about photographing my kids again. And when we headed out for a walk on Sunday, I put my Lensbaby (my fun lens) on my camera and slung it over my shoulder. I didn’t put any pressure on myself or my son and I just shot for me and for my family’s memories – not caring what was in focus or the fact that since it was 4pm, the sun was bright and super harsh and I probably wouldn’t have anything amazing to share. I ended up only taking about 20 photos in that hour (a very low number for me) – 15 of which were completely out of focus and 2 that were completely overexposed. But, what I DID do was achieve my goal… I got that one photo.
And amazingly, last night – sitting on the couch with the blue glow of the computer screen on my lap, I felt happy.