It seems like something that should be a no-brainer, something that should be just done without thinking: take that photo and post it. Add it to your bank of digital memories and you won’t regret it. In my life I have never, ever regretting taking a photo, but there have been plenty of times I regret not posting it to social media.
The last few years I have found myself not posting a photo because it’s not “perfect and pretty”. As a blogger, I have dabbled in leaning towards sharing only the aesthetically appealing photos to curate a beautiful feed…but I just can’t do it. I can’t commit to DSLR-only quality photos, it holds me back from sharing those raw, genuine moments. I was so excited when I got my Canon T6i camera upgrade for Christmas, because it has a WiFi feature, making it super easy to upload pictures from my camera to my phone. However, I find myself only wanting to take those high quality photos with my camera and often don’t use my iPhone. My iPhone is getting old (in smart phone years), and the camera is always dirty/dusty and the light has to be pretty much perfect, and the subject has to be still, to get a clear and crisp photo.
If you want to gain a big Instagram following, almost everywhere I’ve read will tell you that you must have a consistently beautiful and flowing theme to your feed. Don’t post photos of icky-looking food. Don’t post blurry photos of your kids. Don’t post photos of yourself breastfeeding. Don’t post grainy, unedited photos of anything. Edit your photos the same way so that people will recognize them and be drawn to your feed.
Unless you don’t care. And you shouldn’t.
I almost didn’t post this photo of Jonathan the other day because it’s grainy, blurry and the lighting was awful. But, I decided that no matter how the photo looked…I wanted that memory of how happy he was when he woke up from that nap. He’ll only look like this one time in his life, and now I have a way of remembering it forever.
I have had the hardest time growing my Instagram following, and I’ve just accepted and embraced it. I share what I share for me, and me alone; if people want to follow along it’s just a bonus. Some people don’t want to see photos of food. Some people don’t want to see photos of our farm. Some people don’t want to see photos about my faith. Some people don’t want too many emotional, raw posts. You truly cannot please them all, so don’t even try.
This suddenly meant so much to me, and was placed on my heart, because a mom I’ve followed off and on over the years recently lost her youngest child in a tragic accident. If I’m being honest, I have unfollowed her in the past because I felt she was so open and just shared too much of her life and it made me feel a little uncomfortable with how honest she was with her struggles (that’s on me, not her). However, now I’m in a different place in my own life, and I appreciate and thank her for her openness and honesty about her struggles and triumphs with motherhood. It’s not only about the struggles – it’s about sharing the joy and the rawness and realness of raising young children in our average, day-to-day lives. It isn’t always pretty, so why should our feeds be? She has shared pretty much every milestone of her babies growing up and has captured amazing memories to go look back on. I have hesitated doing this because I feared people wouldn’t be interested in seeing it. In hindsight? How silly of me.
In contrast, I have also followed a mom of 5 absolutely gorgeous children for as long as I can remember and I’m almost turned away by how perfect their life appears to be. “Appears” being the key word – as I know it certainly is not as perfect as the picture she paints on social media – but that’s her choice to share and curate whatever she wants on her social feeds. However, I find myself relating far more to the previous mom I talked about, vs. this seemingly “perfect” mom I’ve mentioned now.
I know far too many people that don’t want their pictures taken because they might not be happy with how they look or what they’re wearing. Take the photos of those people for them. If you are that person: be in the photos. Ask people to take photos for you. I promise that you will never regret having those memories to look back on. Photos mean the world to me. Take selfies with reckless abandon and don’t worry what people think. Sometimes taking a selfie is the only way I’ll get into a photo, especially with my kids! My kid selfies are some of my favourite photos!
The above is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. I had just started using Instagram 5 years ago with a poor quality iPod camera and absolutely zero photo editing skills in my repertoire, but I’m so glad I have this photo of an almost 2-year-old Braden at my parent’s old house, wearing my dad’s “soos”, as he called them. My dad is no longer with us, but I’ll now always have this blurry, grainy, photo of toddler Braden wearing Papa’s soos.
If the photo is important enough to you, no matter what it looks like – post it – and who cares what anyone thinks.