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Friday, December 5, 2014

A Photographer's Prayer

I always get nervous taking pictures.  I get especially pukey-feeling charging money for pictures.   Money is such a hard, tangible thing.   Capturing meaningful pictures on the other hand is a bit like chasing fairies through a rose bush.   

I do it though, because well...someone needs to capture the reminders that life is beautiful.  Because somewhere underneath all the matching freshly pressed clothes and stiff smiles there's a real family.   With real love (and real eye rolling going on usually. ahem).  Real smirks, real laughs and some truly goofy grins.   My job freaks me out because out of the whole year, I have one little window to somehow chase those fairies and capture the essence of that family and record it on a digital electronic device in such a way that can be printed and hung in a hallway or over a mantel so that someday when that mom is scrubbing poop off the wall, she can look at the picture and remember that not every day is filled with booger smeared faces wailing about the lack of marshmallows for breakfast.

And so when I drive to a photoshoot with my rather shoddy camera bag filled with the tools I'm supposed to juggle in a mathematical yet creative way, I say a prayer ( that you won't find in any liturgy and is more along the "chicken soup for the Joel Olsteen soul" ...but is sincere nonetheless)

Lord grant me quick fingers to capture fleeting moments.
May I not necessarily see smiles, but love.
Help me to set up good staged and fake pictures so opportunities for real ones can spring out of them. 
May the dad not kill me with his dislike for dressing up. 
May the mom know she's beautiful and that the camera can't see half of the things she's worried about. 
May the children be mischievous, but not holy terrors.  Pensive but not unhappy.   
Let there be truly delicious lighting somewhere...anywhere.  
Please may my camera not spontaneously combust and the memory cards not hate me and die.  
Above all, help me freeze moments that matter, and may they bring happiness to the people who look at them. 
(and may they please please please feel like they got their money's worth)

 I always hold my breath until all the pictures are uploaded onto the computer, and I see a picture like this.  And I remember that I do really love doing this stuff.