Minimalistic Approach to Photographs

Ok I may not be 100% minimalistic YET but I am moving in that direction after a few recent events. Now a days we have a camera at our fingertips and it’s both a blessing and a curse. We can now take a picture of literally every moment of our lives, but do we need to? And if we do, then what do we do with all the pictures?

A few weeks ago my parents moved into a new home and dropped off boxes of photo albums and pictures that were in my childhood bedroom. I was so excited to go through them but it ended up being completely overwhelming. I have so many albums and loose pictures I can’t even enjoy them, and this was all before digital photography!!! The good thing is that “back then” (man this is making me feel old) we had to print the pictures we took if we wanted to see them (remember ordering doubles when you dropped off your film not even knowing if you had any good pictures? Whereas now a days we take so many pictures but most of us leave them on our phones and computers and don’t actually print them. Both situations are bad. So what do we do about it?

Last week I shared my solution on my blog and in my Instagram stories (they’re saved under the highlight “forever books”. I created these ongoing photo books for my boys so that someday I can just hand them one large ORGANIZED book with important pictures and stories about their childhood. In the post last week I explained why I chose the format I chose and I am really excited about them! This week I’d like to talk about how I decided what pictures to include and how I plan on choosing what moments and events to photograph in the future.

When I was going through the photographs that my parents dropped off to me I took note of which ones were important to me. Below is a list of things that mattered to me.

• Pictures in my home or my grandparent’s homes
• Pictures that showed the time period (old TVs in the background, clothing style, interior design – think pink carpets, home telephones, etc.)
• Pictures at places I went often (McDonalds, the gym I did Gymnastics at, my elementary school, the pool club, etc.)
• Pictures with my closest friends at the time
• Pictures with my close family members
• Vacation pictures
• Pictures that showed what I looked like everyday
• Pictures in the clothes I wore daily (it’s amazing what you remember when you see them) not what I wore for a holiday or photo session once

However, I did NOT need a million pictures of each thing. Vacation pictures were great but I did not need sooooo many pictures of each vacation. Pictures with friends were great but I did not need sooooo many pictures with the same friends over and over at the same age!

Things I wish I had MORE pictures of:

• Pictures of my daily life (I swear I’m not just saying this because this is what I photograph now, this is WHY I photograph the way I do) I have too many posed pictures from my childhood and not enough of me with my bedhead and in my favorite pjs or my favorite t-shirt
• Pictures in my childhood bedroom and my favorite toys
• More pictures with my Mom and Dad, less with friends I no longer know
• Pictures of routines and traditions we had as a family. Honestly I have trouble remembering these things but I know we had them, everyone has them. If I had pictures of them I’d remember better.

Then I thought about these and went through all the pictures I had taken in 2018 and decided which ones were going in my boys’ books. I also made sure not to print too many of each thing. I do think I could have done better at this but I’m working on it. For example, I only printed 5 pictures from their birthday parties last year, the 5 things that summed up the day and the people they celebrated with. I asked myself these questions before printing a picture.

• Does it show his personality at this age?
• Does it show his favorite things – shirt, toy, stuffed animal etc.?
• Does it show what he looks like now (missing front teeth, crazy hair all the time, always a sticky mess, etc.)
• Does it show his friends?
• Does it show our family?
• Does it show their bedroom or home?
• Does it show our daily routine and/or traditions?
• Does it show what 2018 looks like?
• Is it a significant event – vacation, holiday, etc.?

Believe it or not there were A LOT of pictures that didn’t fit these categories. And I had TOO MANY pictures of one thing. I don’t need 10 pictures of them rollerblading on the same day, or even in the same summer. I don’t need a pictures of that one time they tried a dragon fruit, I don’t need a picture at every exhibit we went to at the children’s museum, and I certainly don’t need a million pictures of them at other people’s birthday parties, and the list goes on.

This post is getting long so I will try and wrap it up but I’d like to say one more important thing. Sometimes it’s hard to know what picture is the right picture in the moment, this will take practice. So for now take 20 pictures of your kids mini golfing and then choose ONE, seriously you just need one, for like the whole summer! Do you see what I mean? We have the luxury of taking as many pictures as we want and it not really costing it us a thing, except for maybe icloud storage, so take the pictures and then decide. I am one to “over shoot” as they call it in the photography world, I’m afraid of missing the right moment and I keep trying for a “better” shot, but this year I am going to work on enjoying whatever it is I’m doing and just snapping a couple pictures to remember it! Now that I have this list in my head I will be asking myself these questions before I go taking a hundred pictures of them strawberry picking, just one or two!



Hi I’m Carlee!

I'm a girlie girl turned boy Mom and I'm loving it! If I had one super power it would be to freeze time, so the closest thing I have to that is a picture or a video. One happy image or clip from my day can turn my bad mood around in seconds. I like to hang out on Instagram, that's where I share my daily life too, so come say hi!

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