10 Photos You Need to be Taking

Being a photographer, I'm a bit of a camera/photo fiend. Our computer runs slowly because of the 1000's of images clogging it up. Whoops! We're makin' memories, folks! Let's buy more memory! Right, dear?

My little muse is a wiry-haired, sassy 3-year-old. Days after she was born, I had already taken hundreds of photos. Hundreds. Same shot, but at a different angle 497835937 times. Overkill, but hey, I'll never get those moments back. Gotta document that sneeze face in 18 different angles. So, while I am glad that I have an entire album of Maddie at 3 days old laying in the same position for an hour, those aren't the ones that are going on the wall.

This wall is my favorite spot in my entire house. I love it. I spent countless hours collecting, organizing, ordering prints, & arranging this beauty. I'm obsessed.

I've read it multiple times now, but children who grow up in a home where their photos are displayed tend to feel more loved & confident. Let's face it: this kid has confidence in spades. Job done. Time for a nap.

And now for the list. This list is what I think are the best, most important photos you do not want to miss out on. Take them and display them. Don't just let them sit on your SD card or your hard drive. Print them, canvas those b's. Get them out & display them for everyone to see. Unless they ugly...then...we get it.

1. Family Photo. Every. Damn. Year. I say this with great passion, emphasis, enthusiasm, seriousness. This is a huge priority for me. About a year ago, I photographed a couple whose son had been killed in a car accident a few years prior. From the time this mom had married her husband to the time her son was killed, seven years had passed. They didn't have a single family photo with all of them in it. It devastated me. I decided that day that it would not happen. We would take one afternoon once a year, & document our family. No matter what stupid haircut I get, or how many teeth the kids will be missing, or how sweaty & disheveled we may look - this will happen.

2. Kid Portrait. The sad & cool thing about kids is that they are constantly changing. Sad because they hit these stages where they are so amazing & wonderful. Cool because you hit a stage where you are pretty sure that they were switched at birth because YOUR child would never act like that. If you can only do one portrait a year, make it your kid-specific. Who is he right now? What does he love? Take him down to the creek in rain boots & have him catch frogs. Dress your little girl in her favorite princess dress & have her run down Main Street with her wand & tiara. Capture your kid for who they are.

3. Pets. We have this Puggle. His name used to be Fedor (fay-door). He has since been emasculated by Maddie, & named FiFi. FiFi is the stupidest, most brain dead dog I have ever met, and yet, he's ours, so we love him. One of the worst memories I have as a kid was when I was in the 7th grade & looking absolutely hideous with bush man eyebrows, fuzzy hair & crooked teeth. We had mandatory family Christmas photos where we dressed in puff paint sweatshirts & reindeer antlers holding our pets. Every year ended in tears. It was guaranteed. Looking back, I still remember the agony, the yelling, the crying, but I'm so glad to have a hideous picture of myself holding all of our dirty animals because they have all since gone to heaven, some of them to hell. Document your family interacting with your pets. Pets don't last long (especially the fish that we had), so make sure you take the time to capture you & your kidlets playing & loving on the furry ones. You'll be glad you did.

4. Extended Family. Maybe they are near, hopefully they are far. We all have them. Like zits. We all have 'em, but they can be unsightly. We all know that we are the most normal compared to all the other family members. We all believe we aren't as insane as our sister, or as whacked out as Uncle Jack. Whether your family is insane or semi-normal, document it. Take one day out of each year, round all the family members together & take some group photos. Do a series. Funnies, serious ones, and happy ones. I took a group photo of a large family (large in number, not in size) a couple of months ago. I was asked to situate certain people on the outskirts in case they needed to be cropped out of said photo at a later date. #thinkingahead We are never promised tomorrow, so it is important that we have everyone all together. Set aside your drama for an hour, and get a photo. It'll be passed down through the generations & people will love looking at how ugly their ancestors were.

5. You & your honey. We have so many dorky pictures of Josh & I growing up. We seemed to love photos of ourselves. We have them in spades. #narcissists Now we are hit & miss. And I miss it. We have some really great photos from our pubescent stage, but not so much of the now. I need to get better. We change so much. I want our kids to look back on photos of us and make fun of the weird outfits we wore...like I do with photos of my grandparents.

6. Birthdays. How many photos of your birthday parties do your parents have? A ton, right? Well, we do. Up until we started to get a little fugly in junior high. Pictures started to become few & far between. Thanks for the confidence boost, Mother. Even when we started to look less hideous in high school, there are fewer pictures. No, we don't tend to have the My Little Pony in the backyard parties, but still, document it. If it's a birthday dinner out or an outing to a bowling alley, photograph it. You only turn __ once. Document it. And maybe, you too, will leave out the junior high birthdays. Your kids will thank you for it.

7. F*R*I*E*N*D*S. The theme song immediately started playing in my head. Friends are the best. You choose your friends. You're stuck with your family. Go out, have fun, make memories & take pictures! One of the things that adore about my BFF Kylie is that girlfriend ain't afraid to ask some stranger to take a group photo of us in front of Noodles & Co. I'm always slightly embarrassed, but then, I look back & I'm grateful that she doesn't have Stranger Danger. We have some really darling photos because her mother never taught her to never speak to strangers. 

8. Holidays. Do you know what I miss about my childhood Christmases? Christmas in the tin can. This the loving name that we called the trailer home my grandparents lived in. Maybe I should have known better as a young one, but I loved it. The 16 of us all squeezed into that MoHo every Christmas Eve, with presents covering the living room/dining room/kitchen/bathroom. The vast amount of presents was obscene, but it was like heaven to a little kid. We crammed in, ate Mexican food (just like our ancestors of yesteryear) & then ripped open hundreds of Christmas packages each year. It was a flurry of activity with paper flying everywhere, and everyone yelling across the living room/dining room/kitchen/bathroom. You never knew if it was a "thank you" or an "F you," but you knew they both meant love. We have tons of these photos...somewhere. Pictures of all us throughout the years, changing, growing, developing (thanks to my Aunt Cindy for my first bra at Christmas in front of everyone). And now we have these with Maddie. The sleepy, blonde baby toddling out with big, ol' eyes as she looks to see what Santa brought her. The gasp she makes when she opens a new baby doll. I'd like to say I'll remember it all, but I won't. So, I snap away.

9. Pregnancy. Yes, I know. You're groaning, but this is one of the coolest things we get to experience as women. You freakin' grow a baby. #superpowers And this needs to be documented. It is one of the most spiritual experiences coupled with one of the sweatiest. You feel fat, bloated, sweaty, swollen, moody, emotional, & cranky. Isn't it glorious? Take the selfies. That's what iPhones are for anyway. And for the love! Hire a photographer (I happen to know one...), & get some beautiful photos taken of you (& your hubs) at the heftiest most beautiful stage in your pregnancy. It's an easy way to get dolled up & feel pretty when you feel like a 2-ton beached whale.

10. Everything in between. In today's world, we all carry cameras in our purses & pockets. Most of our lives are now documented in our phones, & then onto social media. There is no excuse anymore. You aren't lugging around a big, fat camera, film, a tripod, etc. You have a 5oz camera in your pocket. Use it. Get some candid shots of you & your kids. Document your food, for crying out loud. Some of Josh's best photos are his Instagram photos of his carne asadas. Some of my favorite photos in Maddie's photo books are in the Instagram collages I create from the random photos I take of her throughout our days. 

I hope you learned SOMETHING from this post. The bottom line is: take pictures. You will be so glad you did. Even when your kids are at their ugliest. You'll be glad. Or use them as blackmail one day. Then, you'll really be glad you took them. 


1 comment

  1. You are so brave! The Christmas card is killing me. I need to dig up my 5th grade photos. I am pretty sure I wore my flute ear rings....


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