Erika Ray Photography » blog

I’m not a good Picture Taker

I’m not good at it.  I never have been which is why I’m still surprised that I call myself a photographer.  My mom always took pictures.

Get together.  Squeeze in.  Look here.  Come on.  Come on!  One or two.  Fuzzy pickles!!  Dammit, smile.  Mom’s got stinky feet!  Stand here.  Love each other.

I grew up hearing these phrases float through family events.  Once I left for college, I have few pictures of those years.  I didn’t take pictures.  It’s probably a good thing.  Some of those nights are memorable in my head, but would be embarrassing if actually documented.  Once Cooper popped out,  I took a few more.  But I really had to force myself to take pictures.  I thought I’d be a horrible mom if I didn’t take photos of my newborn.  How was I going to remember this if I didn’t take pictures?  Still.  Not good at it.  My mom was over a lot in his early months. She picked up my slack.  And it became easier to photograph him once he started smiling more and crying less.

And then Becks came along.  Shortly before his birth I really wanted the Nikon D40.  I was taking more pictures of Cooper.  Cooper was almost three and his “Cute” moments were piling up.  And since he was moving faster without direction, my Point ‘n Shoot was missing moments.  The D40 was  a cheaper DSLR and that helped with the guilt.  What’s a non-picture taker doing with an expensive camera?  But I wanted it so bad.  Something had already started to stir and I just didn’t know it yet.  Within a few snaps, I felt it.  This was it.  I needed it to remember our everyday lives.  And I continue to use it for the mundane moments which fill our lives.  Parties, holidays, big occasions and Picture-Taking moments are still my weakness.  I just don’t do it.  There’s something about being in the moment as opposed to snapping those moments.  You aren’t there if you’re worrying about composition and exposure.  And those are two worries which can’t be switched off just because you’re on vacation.  However, I do love a good birthday candle blow-out session.  I might start staging those moments prior to the actual wish making.  Don’t be surprised.

Getting ready for Vegas I knew I wouldn’t use my camera.  I don’t use my camera that way.  I never have.  The first day, I took three photos (below).  No kidding, three.   But I do feel guilty about not using my camera when most people would be filling memory cards full of photos.  So the next day, I tossed it in my purse to eliminate any guilt inducing feelings.  But I continued to take boring photos.  Photos of stickers, trash, tree lines, etc.  I did snap a few photos of landmarks, but not many.  I won’t forget the fountains.  I won’t forget the casinos.  Mark kept saying, “Take a picture of that.  Oh and that!  Get me over here.”  We take pictures for different reasons.  I take them for the stuff I will forget.  The little things that happen once in a while.  The things that will soon be covered up with more forgetful little things.  The images you can’t find on a postcard or a brochure.

I’m not a good picture taker.  I’m a boring picture taker.  I’m a good photographer.  And that’s the way I want it.

 

p.s.  Lots of pictures also mean a substantial time editing.  And believe me after my month, I’d like to spend as little time in front of Photoshop as possible.  That edit time played a huge factor in my lack of Vegas pictures.  But I doubt I would have taken much more than my final 60 photos in four days.  And 15 of those are pure blurry crap brought on by the shark tank.  Mark wanted those…

 

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