Take Photos While You Can

baby sitting on bike trail holding a fern leaf
It’s been quite a while since I’ve taken the time to write a blog post, but something has happened recently that made me take a step back and think about life a little bit.  A friend of mine passed away recently.  He was a good man.  He cared about his family and took care of them.  Calling his passing a tragedy would be an understatement, especially considering the circumstances of how it happened and the future his family now faces without him.

So, maybe you’re wondering why I have a picture of a baby preceeding that paragraph.  Well, that’s my son (which you’d realize if you’ve even skimmed by blog).  His name is Jaxson, and he’s my baby boy.  I love that little guy more than just about anything.

My friend’s passing has made me realize just how important my son is, how important my wife is, and how important all of my friends are.  We have no guarantees in this life.  None.  Sure, the sun will rise every day in the east and set in the west, but you’re not guaranteed to see it.  You’re not even guaranteed another breath.

 mother and baby son sitting on a dock

So what does this have to do with anything?  Well, when someone in your life passes, at least with me, it makes me evaluate things.  It first makes me realize just how much I love my family and those close to me.  Then it makes me think about how I treat all of those people and would I do anything differently if I know they would be gone tomorrow.

I would take more pictures.

You might be saying right now, “Of course, you’re a photographer, why wouldn’t you take more pictures?”  I actually can’t stand some pictures.  Specifically, I hate it when people want to gather around and take the exact same photo (“stand together and smile”) in front of different locations.  It drives me nuts.  So nuts that I tend to make situations awkward when my wife and I go on vacations with other couples and I get visibly upset about taking yet – ANOTHER – photo that basically swaps out backgrounds.  My wife gets angry at me and I get pouty.  It’s pretty pathetic on my part.

mother and baby sitting next to creek while baby chews on hat

But, when something like this happens, and someone in your life passes away, you go back to the photos you took and you go back through all the memories those photos bring back.  It’s like having a part of them with you, making sure you never forget times past or have memories start to get muddy due to the passing of time.  My wife tried to convey that message to me in the past, but it didn’t resonate.  It sure is now.

This blog post might also seem a bit self serving since *I* am a photographer and this is what I do for a living.  Of course I want you to take more photos because you’re going to want to get them done by a photographer.  Well, that’s not it at all, not by a long shot.

See, getting family photos, senior portraits, wedding photos, etc. done by a professional photographer is great.  You get beautiful images that you’re going to keep as family heirlooms for years to come.  But I’d be kidding myself if I thought I could capture YOUR LIFE in a photo session.  It’s simply not going to happen.

YOUR LIFE is captured each and every day, catching all of the special moments that occur that make you appreciate living every day.

The photos I’ve included in this post so far are images that, literally, my family and I took without any preplanning.  We went somewhere, for some reason, saw a cool spot, and took a photo or two.  That’s it.

But, you’d don’t even have to be out and about.  It can be photos you take right in your own home, like these pictures:

baby looks into mirro with warped reflection

a baby boy and a baby girl cuddle next to each other on a blanket

a baby lying on a blanket with his hands interlocked

Are these photos award-winning, Pulitzer images?  No.  They’re not.  But they are special to me and they capture the personality of my son, whom I love, and I will look back on these photos and remember the fun times I’ve had with him.

What’s your next objection?  You don’t have a “nice” camera?  First, you don’t need a nice camera. You need *a* camera.  Second, if you have a phone, you probably already have one.  To prove my point, here are two of my favorite photos:

a baby puts his foot his mouth and sucks on his toes

mother and baby son lay on a bed taking a nap

The first photo was taken when my son first started sucking on his toes.  I think it’s irresistably adorable (along with everything else he does).  I look at it and it just brings warmness to my heart.

The second photo was taken when I came back home one day and found my wife and son taking a nap.  I remember just standing and watching them for a moment, breathing it in.  It was beautiful.  It’s a scene I’ll never forget and I’ll always cherish it.

And I took it with my cell phone.

So, do yourself a favor: grab a camera, ANY camera, and get together with your family, friends, whoever you care about, and go out to a park.  Play around, take some photos of one another, have a good time.  Document it.  Remember it.  One day, you might not have them around anymore, and you’ll be glad you have them.

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