London Family Photographer - why less is more when it comes to photographing your family
A little while ago I felt frustrated. Frustrated because I felt I was the one constantly trying to get the “perfect” image of my boys, for posterity, for birthday presents, for the family albums, and I quickly realised I’d lost my way. Because chasing “perfection” is - frankly - a mug’s game - and I’ve always known that, so what was I doing?
My Mum used to pull out the camera a handful of times a year and take a few photos each time. She wasn’t constantly chasing us around with it, and she knew when to stop, and as a result we were obliging and she filled her albums up (which was something she loved to do - it isn’t a coincidence that due to the sheer volume of photos I’ve taken this is a task that feels so gargantuan that I’ve had it on my to do list to get cracking for FIVE YEARS now - the shame as a photographer!). These days it’s so hard for us to do the same - we try to photograph every moment because we somehow feel obligated to. But good photography doesn’t come from volume - in fact, the inverse can be true - if our children never see us without a camera in our hands, the novelty definitely wears off and we don’t capture a true sense of what’s going on when you press the shutter (goofy smiles, anyone?!).
You see, when I look back at my family albums, I adore every photo in there - because they preserve early memories and take me and my family back in time. They aren’t a stream of consciousness visual of everything we ever did - there are no photos of many early milestones or perfectly composed shots on our first days of school - but what there is tells our story perfectly. And that got me thinking, the important thing is not to incessantly take photos all throughout the year, but to be present and to commit to putting albums together so that my boys are treated to the same wonderful nostalgia when they are older. What does it matter that I took thousands of photos with my iPhone / cameras if they never make it out of digital and into print?
So, lately I’ve been consciously trying to take less photos of my children. Yes, less! I know they prefer it when we head to the park without my point and shoot, to just have fun and play rather than chasing the perfect photo. I take a few photos on a handful of occasions, and I feel so much more satisfied with the results. On top of this I book a professional session with another photographer every so often, so that I can make sure the albums I still plan on putting together once a year feature yours truly. And do you know what? I’m SO HAPPY with this approach. And because I don’t have thousands to choose from, I’ve actually bought an old fashioned album which I plan to fill with the fruits of this year’s labours.
So, in conclusion - my thought of the day is that in this overcomplicated time it’s wonderfully liberating to be sparing with your snapping and to enjoy fewer, quality photos. And if, like me, you’re a Mum who doesn’t really feature in enough family photos, or if you don’t want to have the worry of taking them, make your life easier still and book in with a photographer who can take a few images in beautiful, natural light for you to treasure forever. Simple, right?!