This week I was practically glued to my camera, taking almost 100 pictures a day of the kids as part of the month-long photoberfest challenge at Katie Evans Photography that I am participating in – this week’s theme was simply “kids” and I worked my DSLR butt off trying to get the perfect shot (you can still vote for your favorite picture here today).
I went into this challenge pretty cocky; being blessed with gorgeous children, a good camera and better than basic (but only just) photography skills, I figured I probably had this in the bag and submitted my first picture on Monday. It was a picture of MM enjoying a tootsie pop that afternoon on the walk home from the bus stop. A picture that still frankly takes my breath away and I thought it would be pretty popular. Cute expression, nice b&w processing, rich contrast, eyes that pop out of the picture. Maybe I’m biased though.
I got one vote. One sad, lonely vote. And it kinda took me down a peg. Is this picture not as beautiful to the rest of the world as it is to me and if so, how do I feel about that? Now, maybe this challenge is a popularity contest and not a true measure of our of skills – maybe I could have taken the most stunning picture in the world and still wouldn’t have gotten many votes. I don’t know.
But the point is, the low amount of votes was sort of a gauntlet being thrown down for me. I thought, “If that amazing picture of MM won’t render any attention, then clearly I needed to step up my game.” So I spent the rest of the week hell bent on getting a great picture but I never managed to take a picture that I considered better than the first one I submitted and thus I never entered any more pictures.
I had a few things working against me: like my very contrary morning model – a little girl much more interested in the work of play and the art of ignoring mommy than in getting her picture taken. I had messy faces that weren’t cute messy, just, “Man, how did I not notice that before?” messy. I had strange hair days, bad lighting, a camera hell bent on not focusing the second my children were being perfectly adorable at just the right moment and probably a lot of just second guessing myself in general.
And somewhere along the way, I kind of lost sight of the real purpose – that this isn’t about taking a picture worthy of winning a prize that in the long run doesn’t matter to me – but about learning to cope with all these basic truths of child photography and rolling with the punches and coming out on top with beautiful pictures of my children and beautiful memories, too.
But now that the week is over and the challenge is closed, I find myself with a week worth of pictures that I frankly love anyway. Maybe they are not perfectly composed, probably some bad lighting and messy faces are involved – but still they are pictures full of love and happiness and the most beautiful models a mother could ask for. And really, who needs votes when I have this?
The real prize: a life worth living and a family worth loving the heck out of every second.