We live in an age that demands daily documentation. Did the sun actually rise if we didn’t take a picture? And I’m a photographer, so of course I am a guilty participant! But this comes at a cost.

One of the things I love most about taking photographs is the mindfulness it brings: when I shoot I’m totally focused on the moment; my mind is fully immersed in my settings and the composition. However, I’m focused on photographing and that is the moment for me, not experiencing whatever is happening with my family.

This means that I’ve had to learn balance about when to bring the camera out, and when to be okay with some cell phone shots–or even no shots at all.

And sometimes I wish I had a “good” picture of my son eating his first s’more, riding away on his bike, or splashing in the pool. But I’m happier I got to actually participate in the moment and be part of his memories of the day.

The truth is, though, it doesn’t have to be an either or equation. Put your smart phone away for an hour two and just play. Just enjoy your time with your family. I’ll be there doing the snapping, so you can be in the memories and keep them.

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