Get your camera out. Just do it. {Clinton IN photographer}

I've been spending some time lately looking through our scrapbooks and photobooks and, surprisingly, my absolute favorite of them all is our family album from 2008. It's surprising because 2008 was the worst year of my life. I'm talking bankruptcy and foreclosure bad. I don't usually talk about that because it's so personal, but I want you to understand how bad the year was. We thought we'd live in that house forever. We (and our families) put SO much work into it. And we screwed up. So it was a really bad year. Oh, and in the middle of all that we found out I was pregnant with baby #3 (Jack). As excited as we were and as much as we love him, it still added a LOT of stress to what was already a bad year. Yes, I know many, many people have way bigger problems than money, and I know we are SO blessed to have our happy, healthy kids and a great marriage. But it was still hard to go through. Really hard. And it's still hard and we're still dealing with consequences of that even though we're in better financial shape now.

But you know what? When I look back at our photos from that year, I don't see any of that. I see love. I see joy. I see hope. Not because I  staged the photos -  most of them are snapshots. Not because I only chose the happy photos for the book - they're ALL in there. I took the photos and made the scrapbook because I needed something to distract me that year. I didn't think about how much I'd appreciate it later. I just needed something to do. I'm SO glad I did. Looking at them now helps me remember what's really's not where we live (and I really needed that little reminder last week), it's not how much money we have or don't have, it's not about the places we go. It's all about love and finding joy in the little moments. It's about giving our kids happy memories. It's about teaching them about God (by our words AND our actions). It's about sticking together no matter what.

If I had decided that the year was so bad I didn't want to remember it, if I had put the camera away to wait to "happier times", then I wouldn't have these photos. I wouldn't have the reminder to find joy in each other and in God and not in our circumstances. Without those photos, I might remember 2008 as "the year I lost everything" instead of "the year I learned so much." 

The point of this post is NOT to tell you that you need to schedule a family photo shoot ASAP or you'll regret it for the rest of your life. I'd LOVE to hear from you if you'd like to (click here to contact me) but that's not the point of this post. The point is this: TAKE PICTURES!!!! If you have a camera, get it out and just do it! If you don't have one, get one, or even use your phone - it's better than nothing! Learn to use it. Drive your kids crazy with the thing. Bribe them if you have to. Just do it! Even if you're having a bad day, or week, or year. Just do it.

You don't have to have a big expensive camera to take great shots of your kids. Yes, I use a professional camera for sessions and sometimes around the house too, but this year I bought a little point and shoot (a Nikon p300) and I love it! I take it everywhere and it saves me from lugging the big one around all the time and worrying about losing or breaking my work camera. So get a camera and learn to use it well. There are TONS of websites out there if you're interested in learning more, or check out my momtography blog series for some tips.

There is one thing I regret about our photos from that year: there are very few photos of me. Since I'm always the one taking the pictures, I'm rarely in them. I'm trying to get better about handing off the camera sometimes!

If you're convinced that you need more photos but need a little jump start, think about scheduling a photo session. You can read all about them here. But even if you never schedule a session, please remember to get your camera out! Even if the photos are not perfect, you'll still love them!