I am one of those kinds of people who love to reminisce. In fact, if you've received a product from me you may have noticed the word "reminisce" in my packaging materials. I moved around a lot as a kid and I think that may be why. There was a lot of "last moments" for me in my life and I've held on to some things to help me to remember them: the wallpaper from my childhood room lines the inside of my dresser, I have a red rock I picked up in Mongolia on my last day on a short-term mission, letters from my Jr. High youth kids given to me on my last day as the intern at our church sit in a special box in my bedroom. I also have some of my favorite "firsts": my daughter's hospital anklet the first day I became a mom, the first poem my husband wrote me, a photo of my first car {my beloved yellow bug, Rusty} hang in my office. These things speak to me of days gone by and live as reminders that life is fleeting and to enjoy the moment you are in. As a photographer, I believe that my job is to not only provide excellent artistic photos for my clients but to capture those special reminders that will help them remember their lives. I love it when one of my clients cherishes not only the perfectly executed posed shot but the one I caught when they were just being themselves. My focus when I am shooting is to catch that moment in a photograph to help them remember the time they are in. Sometimes, though, I think photographers can become "out-of-focus." Instead of focusing on what they are giving, they become focused on what they are getting. Whether it's how many amazing reviews they receive, how many facebook likes, how many blog features or how many clients they can book in a month, they are forgetting their focus: people's lives. I know I can easily get out-of-focus when I'm surfing around on photographers sites and I'm paying attention to how many likes they have or how many comments they receive on their blog posts instead of just enjoying the photos of people's lives they've posted. Getting out-of-focus is actually pretty horrible for me because I start to panic and think that I need to be booking seven days a week or that I need to do some sort of crazy scheme to get more facebook likes or I start to devalue my work and think about just giving up. It's times like that when I look at this photo of my Grandma:

This was the last picture I ever took of her. She suffered a stroke and passed away in 2009. I come from a blended family and through all of that and all of the moving around we did my grandma was one of my "constants" in my life. My sister and I spent countless weekends at her house and she spoiled us rotten. I knew that whatever may be going on in my life, my grandma loved me. I love this picture because she is waving at me. She is looking at me with those loving eyes of hers. I love it because it's one of the only things I have left to remind me of her. This is the picture I will show my grandchildren when I tell them the story of her life. This picture is why I hold a camera. It's the reason I get up and do this job every day. I want all of my clients to never forget that last wave goodbye or that first kiss or that giggly smile or those chubby toes. We are catching their lives, photographers. What an honor.

As you begin 2012, I encourage you to stay focused. Remember why you hold that camera. Remember your photos will probably be on the slideshow at their weddings or funerals and what a privilege that is. There's a reason why we're the ones behind the camera: the focus is not about us.

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