I take far too many pictures. Everywhere I go, my camera phone goes, too. Just in case. You never know when you might need to whip it out and snap ten pictures in quick succession, documenting the moment.
It’s gotten to the point where I can hardly look at a beautiful thing without snapping its picture.
Sometimes that urge to capture the moment ends up getting in the way of living in the moment. Am I viewing life too often through the lens of my camera?
I don’t think I’m the only one in our society who’s gotten a little picture-happy. Go to any national park and you’ll see what I mean! I was struck by this when my husband and I were camping across the United States two summers ago. We stood at the rim of the Grand Canyon to watch the sun set, and witnessed thousands of gallons of water erupting at Yellowstone. And all around me, almost everyone was looking at these awesome scenes through the screen of their smartphone or tablet!
Yes, I get that people want to commemorate their visit. But far too often I’d see someone pause at an overlook, camera at the ready, snap a dozen pictures, and then move on immediately, face still buried in their phone as they reviewed all the shots they just took.
Did they ever stop to drink it all in? To open up all their senses to the scene, instead of just what their eyes could find through the zoom?
Sometimes it’s a difficult, deliberate act to stash your camera and experience the moment filter free.
But do it.
I’m definitely not against picture taking per say. I love taking pictures of Little Dude to show his grandparents, and I love using my pictures for this blog, as you can see! But I’m discovering that taking less pictures makes me more intentional. I enjoy the immediacy it pushes me to feel; the fact that I have to soak it up because the moment is fleeting. I love exploring simplicity, in my home and in my routines and goals. Right now, for me, simple living looks like taking less pictures. (And here’s someone else who agrees we should take fewer photos but make more memories!)
From now on, I want to do things a little differently when it comes to picture taking. Here are my four resolutions:
How to Stop Taking Pictures and Enjoy the Moment
1. Capture memories in other ways
Snapping a picture isn’t the only way to preserve a memory, and perhaps not even the best way! I want to journal more, using words to show a picture. I also want to keep memories alive by recounting them orally. I already do this with Eric and my siblings, as we remember together and swap stories about things we did in the past. Talking like this seals the memory in our minds, preserving the vibrancy of the mental picture.
2. Leave my camera phone behind sometimes, on purpose
Yes, I might miss some great photo opps. But living distraction-free in the moment is worth it! Sometimes I feel like having a camera with me is a burden. I “have” to take pictures with it because it’s in my pocket!
3. Treat digital pictures like film
When I do have my camera with me, I want to be a little more “old-fashioned” about my picture-taking. Way back in the 90s we had to be selective about the pictures we took because we had a finite amount of film in the camera! Remember that? Instead of quick-snapping a bunch of pictures of the same thing, I want to take a minute to intentionally line up a good shot, take just one or two photos, and then slip my phone back in my pocket and be happy with what I’ve got.
4. Curate my picture collection
Another downside to being able to take dozens of photos on a digital camera is that you end up with a lot of pictures to sort through! Too often my pictures end up sitting in folders, taking up my computer’s memory rather than expanding my own. I’d like to start making my pictures more accessible by deleting the excess or botched shots right away, and then labeling and organizing the remainder.
Do you ever feel like you’re taking too many pictures? Does picture-taking ever feel like a burden to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
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