Quit Apologizing for Taking Pictures

quit apologizing for taking pictures

My mom has always been the picture taker in our family. She’s always said she would grab her photo albums before running out the house if it was on fire.  Through the years, we’ve suffered through a million pictures on holidays, birthdays, and gatherings – laughing when she would forget to remove the cap off the lens, reluctantly bunching together when she makes us take another group shot. She frames recent ones, puts them in albums chronologically, and has a handful in her purse at all times to show off to friends and strangers. Meanwhile, my dad bulks at the process, protesting by looking away or putting his hand up.

I love taking pictures too, although I’m simply horrible at getting them printed. I love that I have snippets of our live documented through photos, and I love scrolling through hundreds of them on my phone and smiling about the recent memories we’ve shared.

Sometimes, I’m reluctant to take the picture.  I don’t want to interrupt the moment.  I don’t want to put forth the energy to get everyone to cooperate.  I don’t want to bother a stranger to take it.  And then I’m critical of myself looking at the photo afterwards.

“Sorry, Guys. Just take a picture real quick. Smile and it will be over.”

“I’m so sorry, but can I bother you to take our picture real quick?”

This week I stood in a line that stretch for yards and yards, to say goodbye to a beautiful 10 year old boy named, Ethan.  I watched these pictures of his life scroll across the screen. Newborn pictures. Sports pictures. Professional pictures. Pumpkin carving pictures. Family-life pictures. Vacation pictures. Silly pictures. They weren’t all perfect pictures, but they were so full of life. They captured joy. They captured family. They captured love.

I don’t think my friend Erin, regrets taking one of those pictures or getting any of them taken of her sweet son who left this earth just one week ago. I don’t think she made the funeral arrangements wishing she didn’t have so many pictures that captured his life so well. No picture was a waste of time.

So let’s stop apologizing for taking pictures, let’s start cooperating a little better when someone wants to take ours, and let’s stop being critical of the little things that we find imperfect about a picture.

Capture life. Capture memories. Capture love.

10 thoughts on "Quit Apologizing for Taking Pictures"

  1. Allyson says:

    Loved this post Jen!

  2. Susan McCurdy says:

    I have been praying for your friend. Yes, it’s worth it to have pictures. As a mom with some grown one and some middle one…I do regret not making the effort to take more pictures of those in the middle. It seemed to get lost in the middle of life. So, keep it up. You won’t regret it.

    I need to do a better job at keeping them in order though!

  3. Malissa B says:

    Wow- so true! I was felling the exact same way myself this week! Actually, I pulled out my tripod and set the timer and let the camera take photos of my children and I while we home schooled so that I could be in the picture, too.

  4. So glad you posted your thoughts on my favorite activity. I can get my photo albums out and relive all the past 52 years. I hope your readers will be encouraged to take pictures often and I might add be sure to put dates with each one. I am sure your friend will find much comfort and joy in having the pictures of her son. very thankful she has the Lord to help her through the difficult days ahead.

  5. Lafayette Grandma says:

    I’m glad I have a beautiful daughter-in-law who takes lots of pictures. She makes up for what I forget to take. I love everyone and look at them over and over. Keep it up and thanks Janet for installing this in her.

  6. Crystal says:

    I’m the photographer in our family. So we have a million pictures of everyone in every possible combo….and about 3 of me. 🙂

    So sorry about your friend.

  7. I am tearing up reading this, so overwhelmingly sad for Ethan’s family and friends. And you are absolutely right, we will never regret taking a single photo. I remember attending the funeral of a teacher from my kids’ school, and the photo montage only having a handful of pictures of her. She was always the one taking the photos, but never had anyone take photos of her with her family. That moment inspired me to never say “No thanks!” when someone asked me to be in a photo. We owe it to everyone who loves us.

  8. Stephanie says:

    Thank you SO much for this post — I am guilty of what you said; looking at the pictures and being critical of the outcome or just not stopping to take them at all. Thank you for these reminders. PS you write beautifully, if you wrote a book we would all buy it.

  9. Theresa says:

    Great post Jen! My dad was one that really did not like photos being taken of him, but I always did…no matter how they turned out. He passed away while serving our country three years ago and to this day….I love looking at photos of him. Serious ones, silly ones, and ones he outright did not want taken.

    I take many photos of my family and simply for the reason above in your post, I will not regret it. Thanks for writing this!

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