Posted in Elf 4 Health, Family

The Importance of taking pictures

Today’s challenge for Elf 4 Health is to share our expertise.  I wracked my brain and could not come up with anything.  I mean, I take pictures, but I’m not an expert.  I know about aperture and shutter speed.  I’ve manually set the camera, but I am not an expert.

I teach all day long, but you could call me a Jack of all trades but a master of none.  There is nothing that I teach that stands out that I could say I’m an expert at.  I write Individualized Education Plans, some of which have been great, but I don’t think anyone would want to read about IEPs and how to write them.  Plus, the laws constantly change, so what I teach you today could be different tomorrow.

Then yesterday, my family’s world changed when we lost my father-in-law.  He was a great guy who played Santa every year.  He will always be Santa in my heart.  As the family sat around last night, I gave my mother-in-law and sister-in-law their presents which were photo books from our big vacation in July/August.  There were pictures of the whole family together in a happier time.  Memories were shared.

It was decided that my expertise is taking lots of pictures.  It drives people nuts, but in times like these, those pictures are a good remembrance of the person.

So why should you take pictures?

1.  It documents important events in your life.

Last Christmas, Hubby started planning for the whole family to go down to Charleston, SC, for a family vacation.  We knew that my father-in-law’s health was not the best, so we wanted these memories of everyone at the beach for one last time.  I probably took around 4,000 pictures of the different places we visited.  Some pictures are scenery and sunrises/sunsets, but others are pictures of family members.  One of my favorite pictures is of my father-in-law sitting on the condo’s balcony.  He looks like Wilson from Home Improvement, with the bars of the railing covering his face, and you can only see his hat.  Another picture I took was on our last night of the trip.  It is a picture of my mother-in-law and him kissing.  The second picture is my mother-in-law looking at me while he’s still looking at her, wanting another kiss.  That picture shows me what true love is.

1 (271)-001
1 (272)-001

2.  You never know what is going to happen in life.  

It’s great to have pictures of people who have impacted your life.  Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

3.  To document your family history.  

I love looking at pictures of family members who lived before I was born.  The boys get to see their great-grandparents, who lived and died before they were born.  They hear stories about their great-grandfather, who flew in a bomber during World War II.  We have pictures of him wearing his bomber jacket 50 years after he last flew.  The boys know about him and what kind of person he was.

4.  For moments like these


Those special moments happen once in a lifetime.  My father-in-law played Santa for 40-plus years.  He was at our local mall for many years and now played Santa for parties.  My father-in-law seemed rough at the edges, but he was truly Santa once he put his Santa suit on.  It was magical.  This picture was taken at our town’s tree lighting last year.  My father-in-law did not know the boys were standing there.  Even though it looks staged, this picture was candid and is one of my favorite pictures of them with Santa.

My words of advice, though, are:

1.  Don’t worry about capturing everything you miss out on experiences in life.

2.  Don’t take pictures, and never look at them again.

3.  Sometimes, the best pictures are not staged pictures where everyone says cheese.  The best pictures are candid ones.  Our wall is covered with those candid shots that turned out the best.  They looked staged but were not.  I just captured the picture at that right moment.

4.  Share the memories with those you love and care about.

When I made the memory book, I left out writing any captions except for one page.  I did that so people could share the memories and our family history.

9 thoughts on “The Importance of taking pictures

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my grandfather last April. The pictures we have of him and the farm are wonderful. I have had many of them printed and hanging in my house. Seeing his smile makes me light up- so glad we have pictures to remind us of our loved ones.

  2. So sorry for your loss Traci. Your family is in our thoughts, It’s tough, but especially during the holiday season.

    I completely agree with you about taking pictures and looking thru them. One of the best pieces of unsolicited advice was “Take pictures of the everyday, ordinary things…. Take pictures of your kids in the shopping cart when they’re little. It may not seem like much. But, you’ll never get that moment back.” Looking back that person was SO right.

  3. Nicky – I agree about taking pictures of ordinary things. On Thanksgiving, I took pictures of the family at the dinner table. My father-in-law was still in the kitchen finishing up getting the dinner ready. I took several pictures of him in the kitchen. He was known for his cooking so I’m so happy to have those pictures.
    I also have pictures of the boys in shopping carts and just being kids.
    Another piece of advice from me is not to forget to get into pictures. Your children and family members need to remember you. During our last vacation, I took a lot of pictures of me with the family.

  4. So sorry for your loss but I think it’s absolutely amazing you’ve been able to see the beauty in this talent/love you have for taking photos. I’m sure those books mean more now than you ever anticipated. Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time ❤

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss! Totally not the same but this year I’ve lost my favorite aunt and my fur companion of 20 years. I’m really grateful for pictures (and videos!) of both of them to keep happy memories fresh. 🙂

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