How to be present and intentional in capturing moments in time through photography, and what top mistakes to avoid.
Today I got to hug my 18 year old daughter, Eden, for the first time in over a year. It was amazing to see her back home here in Fiji after all of her adventures. She flew from Fiji to Papua to finish high school last December, stayed on to teach art at the school, and then (due to vaccine and re-entry requirements), had to fly around the other side of the world via the USA in order to return home this December, completing her circumnavigation of the globe.
. . .
I still remember the day Eden was born, when she first looked at me with her tiny blue eyes. I remember the precocious 2 year old who grew up on a remote island in the South Pacific, riding a boat to and from town, looking for mermaids and dolphins. She hunted for guavas and soursops in the jungle, and any living creature she could find. I remember moving to town. . . the school years. . .the difficult middle years, crowned by the awe of seeing her grow into the talents and beauty of who God created her to be.
Since Eden grew up in Fiji, we had a lot of beautiful photo opportunities, but I love the “ordinary” everyday photos just as much as the shots captured in places of epic beauty.
If you’re like me (with a really bad memory!) it’s the photos that bring back the memories. Even looking back at my childhood, it’s the people and places that I have photos of that are best preserved in my mind and memory. I want this for my kids, too, because goodness knows they’ve had a pretty epic upbringing here in Fiji, even though it all seems normal to them now.
How can we freeze these moments? What is the magic formula?
It’s simple. Be present and intentional.
First of all, be present. Being present is an important skill to master in life. It enriches our lives and the lives of those around us.
If we’re stuck in the past, we miss out on the moment that is happening right in front of us. Conversely, if we’re always looking towards that elusive perfect moment somewhere in the future, we miss out on what the present has to give us as well.
Distractions are also constantly pulling us away from the ideal of being present in the moment. But we don’t have to let them win. Being present is a gift both to yourself and to the people you love. Put down your phone, leave your work at the desk, and focus on the moment and the people around you.
Look them in the eye. Notice what makes them unique. Appreciate what they bring to the family, or to the group. Tell them! Surround them with love. Take the plunge and be authentic, in the moment, and breathe it all in.
Now, you may be wondering how this fits in with photography! Didn’t I just tell you to put down your phone?
This is where intentionality comes in. There are two common errors:
Which one do you most relate to? The good news is that there’s a third choice:
I hope that option number three sounds appealing to you and that you will join me in this approach in photographing the memories you have with loved ones and life around you.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go spend some time with Eden. Maybe I’ll post about it later! ~ Laura