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What’s Your Story, Morning Glory?

Leave Your Mark and get in the picture!

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You were put here for a purpose and our time here is finite. How will you document your presence? Do you avoid the camera? Do you take the stance that you are the one who has been charged with the honor/burden of photographing all those around you? I’m here to say that you must get in the picture. Your legacy depends on it!

Getting in the picture doesn’t make the narrative a one-sided dialogue. Since every phone’s also a camera, there’s no longer any excuse for you not to include yourself in the picture. Start by thinking of how you want to be remembered. What’s your story?


If you spend your time in a passive role what does that say about your legacy? Don’t wait for someone else to direct you – put yourself in the picture! When you take an active role you leave your mark on the world and influence those around you. As a professional photographer, I’m seriously lacking in self-portraits compared to the thousands I’ve taken of my family. That’s changing because I’ve stopped avoiding the lens and have started pointing the camera my way every now and then. And after 20 + years of marriage I’ve also encouraged my family to take photos of me in our moments as well. 

“The right time is any time that one is still so lucky as to have.” Henry James

The photo on the right was of my recent trip to Hawaii. A friend and I woke up early and drove through the pre-dawn hours to see the sunrise over Mauna Kea. The sight was breathtaking! Although the wind was strong and made for a bad hair day, and the exposure is way off on the image, I’m still very happy with this picture. I want to always remember the time we scrambled down from seeing the sun appear. I have plenty of beautiful sunrise photos from that morning, but having an image that shows the sun rising in/through me, helps me relive that moment all over again!


Grab your camera or better yet use your phone

“The best camera is the one that’s with you.” Chase Jarvis

Is that a phone in your hand? No doubt it has a camera. What do you see daily? What makes you smile? What fills your cup? What do you do well or like to create? Take those photos!

You’ve started the dialogue, but still aren’t in the picture? Pick up an inexpensive phone tripod. Use the self-timer and make a photo without the “selfie extendo arm” in the shot. Sometimes that is the only thing you can do, but take the time to be mindful about how you want to be in the picture.


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You know your friends and family have smart phones and cameras too. Speak up and let them know you’d like to be in the shot. Banish the “I’m too . (tired, overweight, casual)” dialogue. You are worthy and that instant of time is only going to happen once. You will never get the moment back. The time to be in the photo is NOW! Offer to make a photo of your friend who’s also camera shy. Talk about the importance and beauty of the everyday. Look for it in each other. You’ll be surprised what you see when you start to really look.

The perfect shot isn’t always a formal self-portrait with your polished smile and styled hair. The moment might be rays of sunshine streaming in through your kitchen window while you bask in a moment of quiet sipping a cup of coffee at breakfast. What do you want to remember about your life a year, a decade, 25 years from now? Isn’t this how you live? Capture it for posterity!

Always remind yourself that you are intrinsically worthy because… “worthiness doesn’t have prerequisites.”Brené Brown

You can do it yourself, but as a professional photographer, my work includes family portraiture. Let me remind you to get in the picture. Too often, moms only ask for portraits of the kids. Sometimes I need to gently nudge my camera-shy clients to jump in. So you don’t leave yourself out, I now offer DocUment your Life sessions where we take more time to plan for story telling images of a day in your life. These types of images don’t just apply to families with small children. You know what makes your life special: your relatives, your profession, your hobbies, your causes. Now you know a professional who can help you tell your story visually.


OK, so you’ve created the raw materials for telling your life story. Let’s imagine it’s a buffet of photos that includes everything from candids of you and your bestie to that business head shot you just had done to update your professional profile. Your images are safely backed up somewhere in case you lose your phone. You did that, right?

Of course you’ve already shared some of them with your digital community. Instagram, blogs and Facebook offer the instant gratification of posting for your friends or a wider online audience. Find a platform that works for you and stick with it. At least until the next trend in social media hits tomorrow…

But what else do you do with the mountains of megabytes you’ve made? I’m personally a fan of making coffee table books. So much more than the bland photo albums you flipped through as a kid, imagine a custom-made hard cover with your beautiful story inside. Not that long ago this was the realm of big publishing companies, book agents and runs of thousands of copies. That’s fine for professional authors, but what about the rest of us?


Like so many of life’s little challenges, this problem has been solved thanks to the magic of the internet. Online desktop publishing firms like Blurb make home publishing easy and affordable, even for a single copy of a hardcopy book that rivals the quality you’d find at a book store. You’re not a professional layout designer? Blurb has many great ideas and templates to use. Simply drop in your photos and add your own words. What a great way to relive a special event, a well-earned vacation or an important milestone.

Finally go big and go home! Despite rumors to the contrary, printing photos is not dead. Your favorite digital files can easily be brought into the physical world so they can be displayed proudly in your home. Of course a professional like me would be happy to assist you in your choice of images, editing, framing, etc. But whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, you’ll walk by them daily and remind yourself just how wonderful life can be. We’re lucky to be here! And that’s all part of the story you have to tell. #todayisgift

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