Your Life In Photos
Imagine this: 50 years from now, you’re sitting down on the living room sofa with your granddaughter. She’s 25 years old now, and she and her husband are expecting their first baby. She’s been asking about the years of memories you’ve stored up, hoping to see some photos and learn about some of the memories you’ve held so dear for decades.
So delighted to share, you tell her, “You wait here, honey—I’ve got something special to share with you.” You go into the other room, and pull out one of your most prized keepsakes: an album with beautiful photos from the last 60 years.
As you and your granddaughter sit together and pore over all these sweet, intimate memories that have been captured in such incredible detail, you feel this sense of pride and reminiscence wash over you. As she learns of all these moments that have such a deep place in your heart, you get to relive them all over again, too.
Friends—capturing the fleeting moments of your life is so important. I’ve been thinking a lot about this as my own family grows and enters a brand new season, with a growing belly and a sweet baby of our own on the way. Since it’s been on my mind and heart so much lately, I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you. Also, I’m on a bit of a ‘list’ kick, so I’m gonna break it down like that.
1) Photos allow you to vibrantly relive life’s multifaceted moments.
When you’re in a tough season in life, do you ever find yourself scrolling through old photos on your phone or albums on your Facebook page? Have you found yourself trying to reconnect with those old memories that filled you with joy when they happened? I do. Reliving these memories always points me toward hope and reminds me that life is full of up-and-down cycles—that even if I’m in a down, there will be an up to follow.
When I look back at photos of me and my husband, I always get filled with a sense of peace, joy, confidence, and excitement—knowing that we are creating a strong, beautiful life together. When we argue and don’t see eye to eye (or, like most married couples, go through an especially challenging prolonged season of hurt or disconnect), I find that looking at photos of us connects me back to “us” in such a tangible way—to all those reasons why we fell in love and chose each other. In fact, I almost always have a photo of us as my screensaver on my phone, to remind me each day that the intentional love and “choosing” never ends.
2) Photos are the legacy you leave for your children, your grandbabies, and your grandbabies’ kiddos (and so on).
Have you ever found yourself wondering what your mom and dad looked like at your age? Or, maybe what your grandparents looked like on their wedding day? Maybe you’ve been curious about how your mama looked when she was pregnant with you. Or, perhaps you’ve been dying to see that glow on your mom’s face and the pride all over your dad’s on that day that you were born and they held you for the first time.
You weren’t there in those moments, and the only way you’ll ever be able to more fully access them, is if they were captured. Just as we plant trees with the future in mind, we have the honor and responsibility of capturing life’s most precious moments, in order to share them with generations to come. I’m so thankful that my family took such care to document and have their lives documented. It’s incredible to look back and see them at all stages of their lives, as well as get to see myself and my sister during so many moments while we were growing up!
3) Having your photo captured by someone else allows you to look “in” on yourself and your life with a completely fresh perspective.
So many people are nervous when they first get in front of my camera. They’re concerned about how they’ll look, or that they don’t know how to pose or what to “do.” For some, it’s a new experience, so the nerves are just par for the course. For others, they’ve always dreaded photos because they’ve never had photos of themselves that they love! Typically, all of that initial anxiety goes away within a few moments. I believe as a photographer, a big part of my job it to help my clients feel at ease so that they can be themselves in front of the camera. When my clients get to that place where they feel safe opening up, it’s incredible the magic that happens!
It’s so easy for us to be self-critical and judge the way we look in photos. We all do it—yes, even me, the one who photographs people for a living. When we look at a photo that we’re in, the first thing we do is zoom into ourselves, and size up how we look physically. That’s our nature, right? And then we can easily start nit-picking our perceived flaws. What if we instead learned to look for the emotion in our photos—the unique and special emotion that was captured in those moments. It’s incredible, the shift that occurs, when we stop focusing so much on how we look, and instead focus on how we felt. Those photos that remind us how we felt—those are the photos we will frame and hang on the walls of our homes.
I’m a big fan of photos of all kinds! I think all types of photos are important—the unedited ones you take of each other (on a phone or a point-and-shoot camera), the filtered selfies for your social pages, the ones where you hand your phone to a stranger and pray for one decent one, and of course, the ones where you hire a professional to work their artistic magic with the super nice camera, while you simply radiate your awesomeness.
I love all of these kinds of photos and we cherish all of them at our house. And yes, as a photographer, my hubby and I make a point to hire other photographers to take photos of us, too! Because honestly, even though I’ve gotten really good at timer self-portraits with a tripod, I’m a sucker for those gorgeous professional photos that capture candid moments of us just being ourselves and being present in the moment.
I hope this encourages you to take more photos. Capture more of those fleeting moments. You can’t get them back but you can remember them in vivid detail forever. And—when you’re ready to hire someone to photograph you for those extra-special sessions, I hope you’ll think of me!
'Til next time... Shelby
"What if we instead learned to look for the emotion in our photos—the unique and special emotion that was captured in those moments. It’s incredible, the shift that occurs, when we stop focusing so much on how we look, and instead focus on how we felt. Those photos that remind us how we felt—those are the photos we will frame and hang on the walls of our homes."
*Thanks to the wildly talented Mel Innamorato, of Inna Snap Photography (based out of Port Saint Lucie, FL) for these incredible photos she took of me and Caleb.