Stop taking pictures of your kids!

I think when photos took a lot more work and cost a lot more time and money to process, we took just the right amount of pictures. But ever since digital became the thing, it’s amazing to see how many pictures parents take of their kids.

At home on the couch, in the car, combing their hair, on the toilet. Some people even have their motor drive clicking away as their own baby is popping out.  “But honey, she looks so cute with that gash on her forehead from the playground.” And on and on.  It’s even grown worse with videotaping and flip videos.  Parents, grandparents, caregivers: please slow down.

Of course you want to take pictures and kids love cameras, especially when someone they love is behind it.  Why not start with “firsts?” First pictures with mommy. First night sleeping. Firsts with aunts, uncles, brother, sisters. And milestones, like first days at school or holidays yada yada.

I see so many people spend time documenting these moments of their children that that they aren’t really sharing the moment with them.  It’s kind of like writing a journal.  Would you write the journal while you’re in the middle of assembling a toy car with them or would you wait until you’re done?

Kids only have one childhood. And you have one shot at parenthood per child. As a kids photographer, I have a bunch of shots of my son. But the best pictures I have of my son are in my  iPhoto library that is my mind. I think in the long run, my son will feel the same way. Now step away from the computer and go do something with your child. And leave the camera behind.

Enjoy in moderation~Mike

10 Responses to “Stop taking pictures of your kids!”

  1. Elvis Says:

    I hope puppy pictures don’t count in this equation LOL


  2. Christine Bucan Says:

    Loved your post. I never photograph anything. Never film anything. I just enjoy being in the moment. But I don’t have that tape of my daughter in her first play, singing her first solo… It might be nice to have when I’m 70. I think I’ll get the cameras out…maybe you can come and film for me!!

  3. Alisha Vera Says:

    But you never know when those rare pics of kids in neck braces, kids sticking their tongue’s out and kids making funny faces might come in handy either … Hint well taken though. Always aiming to inspire ~

  4. Allison Nazarian Says:

    I love that my fave photographer now has this blog. W00t!
    Thanks for the awesome tips MLM.
    xo ~ Alli

  5. Dori Says:

    Mike – You’re right. Over-photographing is pretty intense. But being on the other end of the spectrum is worse.

    I grew up without having someone document moments I wish they did. Some birthdays, family gatherings, and even those things like childhood sporting events. I remember them, kinda, but sometimes I wish there were photographs to capture the memory, because they will show me things I didn’t remember…

    I get what you’re saying. I’ve seen pictures of kids just sitting there. Literally. Pages and pages of facebook photo albums of someone’s kid just sitting there. Sometimes drool and sometimes not. And it’s annoying. Kids are awesome. We’re on the same mentality level. But use a filter. No one wants to see 137 photos of your kid sitting there.

    A lot of people have found happy mediums, where they know what is too much, but they still have enough to make sharing those moments worthwhile. I missed out on that in my childhood.

    Oh and P.S. Owen: *I’m* 24. *hint*hint*

  6. Matthew mmWine Horbund Says:

    I’m indeed the person who snaps 100 photos in 30 minutes at every event I go to. Over the past 3 years, I’ve taken over 5,000 photos of Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, New Years, sporting events, etc.

    While I agree that perhaps we all go a little overboard using technology, I think it’s very important to document the events. Nothing excites me more than going over the photos we took with the family. And each year, I sift through those thousands of shots to select 50-100, put them to music, and made a video for the family. There’s never a dry eye in the house, and i’m participating in my family in a big way by doing that.

    And if you don’t think i’m fully engaged in my son’s basketball while I video tape it, listen to my screaming and yelling when he gets a rebound or makes a shot!

  7. Joel Says:

    I’m reminded of George Carlin’s rant about this very subject. “Doesn’t anybody just stop and look at things anymore? Take them in or maybe even…remember them?” And that was back in ’96.

    At the same time, I also think that we benefit from digital technology because it allows us to take many shots and choose from the best ones. I flip through old photo albums and wish I’d had more quality pics instead of only what a roll of film allowed me.

    The problem is, of course, the people taking the pictures – They have no idea how to take a quality photo and then upload 6,000 jpegs to Facebook. So yes, moderation is key.

  8. Owen O'Malley Says:

    I agree to a point. Being a parent who captured lots of video of my son I tried to be a part of the video as I captured it. Talking to him in the video.

    Some of my most favorite video moments were taping my son’s high school football games. He was the quarterback and we would go home and watch the video after each game. The disadvantage of videoing the games…I only got to watch it on the screen of my camera.

    My son is 24 now and this past weekend we visited him in Tampa. He had a flag football game…I shot video and we went home and watched it. Just like old times.

  9. @pbarbanes Says:

    Mike – An acting teacher once said this to a friend of mine after he did a scene in class (The teacher was Greek, had an interesting accent, so add your own idea of what that might sound like when you say this in your head, because that’s probably what he sounded like. Think Omar Sharif meets Deepak Chopra): “I’m ambeebalent. I like you…and I don’t like you.”

    I’m ambivalent about this topic of yours. Because I go everywhere loaded up with cameras, especially where my daughter is involved. I take my Flip AND my little Canon not-so-sure shot with me. Sometimes I have the Flip recording while I’m shooting stills with the Canon. Crazy, I know. She really calls me Papa Razzi. It’s not good.

    And my family sort of EXPECTS me now to be the documentarian. If we’re at an event, and I don’t take photos or videos, it’s like the event never happened – because there’s no other record. It’s a burden. A curse. A cross I carry.

    My worry is not that I’ll have too many pictures of my daughter (I know I do) or won’t be involved with her “in the moment” because I’m too busy capturing every darn second. My real worry is that people will look back on her over-documented life, and say “Where was her dad? What did HE look like?” LOL

    Hey, was my Comment as many words as your post? : )

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