being a memory maker & a memory keeper

As scrapbookers we have had a lot of practice over the years at memory keeping. We’ve read up on and honed our photography skills. We know how to get great catch lights in a portrait; we can edit and crop our photos; we’ve picked up great journaling techniques, and we keep track of dates. We can tell a story.

While we’re busy recording our stories, I often wonder how much of the memory making are we missing out on? How often do we put down the camera, or the notebook, and participate in making the awesome memories we are documenting? It’s something I’ve thought a lot about recently. It’s something I’m trying to change.

Here are a few tips for balancing the memory keeping with the memory making.

1) Plan to shoot some photos before or after the big event. I always have my kids dress up in their Halloween costumes before Halloween. It’s a good way to do a “trial run” and make sure the costume has come together just right, plus you can pick the setting and lighting for the photos. There’s no pressure to get anywhere and no candy to dirty-up the costumes.

This photo was taken a few days before Halloween. We were out of town for Halloween itself (we did go trick-or-treating though) and it was such a relief not to have to worry about taking photos that day. I was able to enjoy the festivities just as much as the rest of my family did. You can do the same thing for birthdays, Christmas, Easter, concerts, recitals, etc.
2) Take photos of things. Sometimes it’s hard to get good candid shots during an event or occasion. You have little or no control over the lighting and setting. Instead of stressing about capturing “perfect” photos of the people at an event, take a few shots of things that represent that event. Often it’s easier to set up good shots of things. For Easter I tried to take some fun “egg dying” shots of my kids, but then I realized I was missing out on the dying! (Plus the lighting wasn’t great.) I put down the camera and after we had finished dying the eggs I took some shots of them while they were drying. I was able to arrange them in front of a window with good lighting to get a good shot. While this photo doesn’t include my kiddos, it still reminds me of the fun time we had that day, and how my kids tried all kinds of funky new dying “techniques”.
3) Hand the camera over to someone else. My only request for Mother’s Day last year was to have my husband take some photos of me with my kids. I set up the shot, adjusted the settings for him, and then handed him the camera and told him to take a ton of photos. I’m SO glad I did! These memories are priceless for me and my kids.
These are all the photos that were taken that day. The rest of the day I enjoyed spending time with my sweet family. It was awesome. Make sure to hand the camera over to someone else sometimes so you can be in your scrapbook albums along side your loved ones.
As you strive to balance your memory making and memory keeping, please share the things you have learned with us in the comments below. I know I’d love to learn some more tips about how to strike this balance!

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