I love shooting urban landscapes and cool stuff from well designed interiors and buildings. You see these kinds of pictures here all the time. But these photos pale in comparison to the my most important photos — the ones you’ll never see on my blog.
Consider this. Everything public, these days, has been shot by someone already and probably by many other people. Getting that glorious image of the Golden Gate Bridge might be nice but it’s nothing groundbreaking. That beautiful landscape you captured, merely a trophy like a hunter shooting that prized buck.
You see, my most important photographs are the ones of my family and loved ones. And I’m betting it’s the same with you. Capturing my rapidly growing kids, my gracefully aging parents, my wife and occasionally myself is more important than anything else I shoot.
The family photos, while of limited interest, are intensely important. No one else is going to capture these scenes and preserve memories like you and I. And unlike most things in life, these photographs grow in value as time passes. Last year, I gave my parents a digital picture frame filled with photos of all the kids, the grandkids and even some scans from their wedding. It was their 50th wedding anniversary present. My mom, who tends to be technology adverse, spent 40 minutes transfixed and re-living a world that is long gone. She smiled and laughed, carefully reviewing the slideshow of 100s of moments, frozen in time. All the years of frustration she felt, when my dad constantly snapped family photos, was forgotten that night.
I constantly shoot pictures, especially of the kids. They are old enough now that they resist. But I persist. I like shooting photos of them in the everyday, mundane places. Places most people don’t consider like the inside of a Target or the local supermarket. Sure, having the Disneyland castle as a backdrop is a necessary tourist pic. But I equally love the casual and unscripted photo of the boys clowning around in the freezer aisle. Use a moderate wide-angle lens (like a 28mm) and you get fun leading lines down the shopping aisles, which also nicely frames kids. Simple, easy, unique photos and totally priceless.
If you have a smartphone, use it. They are great for those candid shots. But I aim higher. I want better image quality and maybe you do too. There are no do-overs in life. You shoot with a low-quality camera and you are stuck with those low-quality images for the rest of your life. The mirrorless cameras that I love so much, work great for travel of course, but they work even better for family candids. DSLR quality but small and unobtrusive. I can shoot inside stores and not alarm any overly concerned employees. They are portable enough that I bring my mirrorless camera everywhere, ready to capture the next priceless moment.