Snapshot vs. Photograph

Yesterday, as Timmy was leaving for school, he called up to me, working at my desk, and said, “Mom, Come look at the sky.” I’m a sucker for a good sky view. Timmy’s was a stunning mix of pink and orange and indigo. One of the most beautiful sunrises of the year.

I then did what most adults do these days, you guessed it, I grabbed my phone, snapped a picture, and then went back to work. As I sat back down at my desk, something didn’t feel right. The mechanical way I caught a glimpse of the sunrise and took a quick snapshot was like it was just another thing on my to-do list.

Saw sunrise. √
Took a photo I’ll never look at again. √

Sure, I could say that I “saw” the sunrise, but I hadn’t really experienced it. So, I stepped away from my computer and spent 10 minutes watching the sunrise. That was by far THE best thing I could have done for my work day. I observed the layers of clouds. I paid attention to their pace as they drifted across the sky. I just watched.

How often do we pass something of beauty, look at it, check it off our list as having “seen” it, and then move on to the next pretty thing to look at? Snap. Next.

There is a difference between a snapshot and a photograph. Most of what we look at today, especially in the age of Instagram and Facebook, are snapshots. They show you how pretty something is. But, to “see” how beautiful something is, requires experiencing it.

Wedding photography falls into this trap. We go to a wedding with preconceived shot lists. And, we check them off, the same way we check off seeing the sunset.

The next time you see something pretty, put your camera down, just for a second. Observe, look, breathe, and take in the moment. Then pick up your camera and show us what you experienced. You might end up with almost the exact same photo. But one will come from a place of “pretty” and the other will come from a place of “beauty.” One will remind you of what it looked like, and the other will remind you of what it felt like.

Love, Erika

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