I had just gotten home from a great night. I saw friends I hadn’t seen in years. Then it hit me: my camera was in my bag the entire time and I’d never pulled it out.
“That’s okay,” I thought, trying to console myself. “I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it as much if I had been stopping to take photos.”
As a photographer, there are too many times I’ve opted to leave my camera at home and regretted it. But do you have to choose between having pictures of a good time and getting to live it yourself? I don’t think so. I think it’s possible to strike a balance between the two.
The first step to striking that balance? Bring your camera. Even if your plans for the evening don’t seem too exciting, you never know what could happen. You won’t regret the extra weight of your camera, but you will regret not having a single photo of a great time. (And remember, you’ve always got the camera on your phone!)
Next, take pictures sparingly. Have your camera on hand for when you see a photo opportunity you can’t pass up, like when your family starts goofing around or the sun begins to set and cast soft light on your friends. Sometimes those moments are obvious — like blowing out candles or unwrapping presents — but keep an eye out for the unexpected and spontaneous too.
Also, resist the urge to turn into the paparazzi. Remember, your friends and family want to spent time with you, not your camera lens! Snap a few so you’ve got the shot, then set down your camera and join in the fun.
That ties into the next tip, which is to be present. The main focus should be on what you are doing and who you are with, not getting the best picture. If you’re an active part of the excitement, you’re not going to capture every moment. Don’t worry about it. You should primarily enjoy what you’re doing and allow your camera to be an accessory.
Finally, soak up the memories. Take mental pictures. No photograph can do justice to the reality of a moment. You’ll have pictures to help you remember, but the best images will stay in your mind.
What are your tips for taking photos without missing those awesome moments? Let us know in the comments below!