As the school year comes to an end, it seems there is an abundance of school programs and celebrations. Recently, my kids had their Spring Show where each class sang a David Bowie song. Because we have three kids, 3 years and under, we showed up at the last second and sat in the back where our 1 year old could run around. We were so excited for their first big production! And it was big! The entire school (through 6th grade) had a part in the show.
I knew I wanted to record this moment for the scrapbooks, plus be able to send video of the moment to their grandparents, so, putting my husband in charge of corralling kids during the show, I brought out my camera–equipped with a 200mm lens so that I could zoom in and capture their cute little class, even from the back of the crowd–and snapped pictures. During my children’s songs, I recorded video and tried to pay attention to the concert. I even snapped a few photos of their little sister playing during the concert. When they were done, I got the cutest pictures of their excitement as they came back to sit with us.
On the way home, my husband mentioned that he’d had an awful experience. Me trying to take pictures and video kind of ruined it for him. He was unable to enjoy the show. This really broke my heart because that was not my intention. But once we were home, we watched the videos over and over again and laughed at how cute they were.
So, how do you find a balance between still enjoying the moment as it happens and having the photos and videos that you can cherish forever?
Think about why you are taking the picture.
Is it to capture every moment of your child’s life? If you are looking for a bit more balance, you may want to just take enough pictures to scrapbook a two page layout that captures the moment, in which case all you really need is 5 to 9 pictures of an event.
The trick? Take your handful of pictures and put the camera down. Enjoy the moment…and make sure that your significant other can enjoy it too!
5 to 9 pictures:
1. Right out of the gate, snap the important pictures that you will be sad you didn’t have.
We just went to the zoo on a 90 degree day. I made sure we got the group photos out of the way at the very beginning. I knew by the end of the 3 hr walk around the zoo we would be red and sweaty and I not everyone would be willing to be in the photo at the end.
2. Who was there that you will want to remember?
Grandma & Grandpa? Special friends and other family members? Looking back, my mom took a picture of EVERY single present as I opened it. Every single one. Which means there are a lot of pictures of me opening presents. Now I find myself wishing I could see who was there to support me.
3. Is there a specific event you want to remember?
Blowing out the birthday cake, a picture of the concert as it happens? Keep the camera close by, but not in hand. If an adorable moment pops up you can grab the camera and then put it right back down.
4. Be in the photo!
You are the most important person in your child’s life. Be in the photo! My sister and I were looking for pictures of my mom for her funeral. We went through several of her 20 albums without finding a single picture of her. It was heartbreaking. She was self conscious and didn’t want to be in the photo. Looking back, I want her in the photo and loved her no matter what! Ever since having this experience, I throw my insecurities away and make sure I get in on the photos!
5. Why do you scrapbook?
My purpose in scrapbooking is to document our lives and make a record to look back on for us now and our posterity in the future. So I think about what I wish I could know about my ancestors. I want to see how they lived and who they were. I love the little stories and pictures of their personalities. My grandpa would stick his tongue out to the side when he was concentrating. I love that my daughter has inherited that. She is only 20 months old, but when she’s concentrating on opening a book or climbing on the couch, she sticks her tongue out too! I love discovering these connections to the past. I want to document these things for them and their descendants to enjoy in the future.
In the end, the moral of this story is that, although preserving the special moments in your life is important, so is truly living it! So find ways to balance out both. You (and your husband!) will be grateful that you did.
Do you struggle with this in your own life? Do you have anything to add that worked for you? Please share in the comments section!