The Spirit of Photography | Erin Joyce Photography

We all are very familiar with losing the spirit of Christmas. I feel like we lose it when the childhood magic fades. And then, for me, it came back full force with children.

Photographers, have you ever lost the spirit of photography? Remember the magic when you first picked up your camera? When you were bright eyed and eager to learn everything there was to learn? When your business was brand new and each new inquiry gave you a stomach flip and more opportunity to learn and grow?

And then you get all of the equipment. You fall into a routine and you feel a plateau in your spirit.

I think this happened to me this year. Anyone who follows me, especially personally, knows that I have documented my family’s life in every detail. My camera has always been with me. Trips to the grocery store, anywhere in the house, driving to a friends… no matter where I was, the camera was there and had it on my hip so not to lose a single moment. This year, I was okay to leave my camera at home… a lot.

When shooting weddings, I’ve created this story of having less freedom to just take the shot. I needed to create the perfect light, no clutter, perfect pose, direction, backdrop and so on. I became so inclined to control every element around me that I lost the freedom in my creativity and I’m only just realizing it now.

We moved homes back in September. Our house is a complete construction zone. No kitchen, every doorway draped off, ugly paint colors, ugly carpet and wallpaper and finishes. This house is a very run down house from 1987. While there are so many beautiful pockets of light, I’m so turned off by the color casting and background noise that I’ve let my camera sit. Of course, having a busy fall wedding season is another variable in that sometimes we photographers simply need a break!

But in this break, I think I lost my spirit in photography. The reason I ever picked up my camera in the first place was to document life. To feel alive and free… not trapped by the limitations of color casting and backdrops. I picked up my camera in spite of these things. To document our story and others. To remember how our children were at 4 and 5 years old. To remember how our dog sat by the window when the room used to look the way it did, to remember where we were in this exact time in life.

I’ve been leaving my camera home a lot. I have been having equipment issues (5D Mark iv users, do you hear me?!), I’ve been feeling a lack of creativity and feeling uninspired.

Here’s the thing though, I don’t need to create something perfect every time I take a picture. That is NOT why I ever picked up my camera.

When we arrived at my mother in laws for the annual cookie making today I had a twinge of thinking “darn, I should have brought my camera.” But pushed it aside reminding myself that I kind of need a break. And then I saw how big our kids were. That there were no toddlers in the room and I was hardly needed to assist in the cookie decorating. It hit me like a ton of bricks… the thing I already know and is my freaking tag line for my business. “The days are long, but the years are short.”

I immediately called my husband and asked him to get my camera. I FaceTimed him to walk him through which camera to grab, how to put a memory card in, how to check the battery and get my lens and bring it over. And I’m so glad I did.

Their little faces as they scrunch their noses as they rolled. Their concentration as they put far too much icing on. How the girls went one way and the boys went the other to play their games when decorating lost their interest. How they danced with Gigi in the living room. How they all had this day. Because one day they will be teenagers. They won’t want to come decorate cookies. The boys will go do boy things with Papa and the dads. The girls will sit on the couch on their phones rolling their eyes as all of us mamas stand in the kitchen talking about “remember when they were little and enjoyed this?”

And I want to remember. More than just in my mind, but I want to SEE it. I want to feel the moment. Even with the tungsten lights, the orange color casting and zero natural light. The imperfect compositions and missed focuses, I want to remember them exactly how they are on this day.

And so I end the day remembering the Spirit of Photography and why I ever picked up the camera in the first place.