Heart Before Head
It’s not meant to be a game of show and tell. In the end, the photos I think we’ll treasure, year after year, are the ones that make us break into a smile, fall into laughter, tear up, and feel everything from that moment all over again. It’s tempting these days to take photos with a crowd-pleasing hat—capturing what we think we’re supposed to or what showcases perfect aesthetic—instead of simply what lights up our hearts. But when you let your heart lead your photo choices, you’ll actually take more beautiful photos. You’ll end up with a collection that has a visceral, emotive quality, because it comes from an authentic place: You.
Particulars Tell the Best Story
Sometimes when we’re on grand adventures or pulling out camera phones for parties, we wind up shooting the big scene or the big moment.
We forget that the tiny things are a huge part of conveying the story we’ll want to remember. The items you stuffed into your bags.
The gas station grocery list. The book you read instead of cleaning up. The type of apples you ate at sunrise. The dry shampoo that
turned your hair white. The morning sun streaking through the mud-splashed window before you happened upon the family of cowboys—and the
littlest boy who slowly tipped his hat when you passed and you thought how impossible this kind of life still exists.
Capture the minutiae. The particulars. The bits of details that open to the full story.
Take Notes Before You Come Back Home
We were sitting at our final campsite, drinking our last cup of instant coffee, and I knew that in a few weeks I’d be home with only a fogged remembrance of what we’d just shared. You think you’ll remember it all, right? You tell yourself you’ll print a gorgeous photo book and give it to him for your next anniversary. But what I’m learning is doing those extra little steps now is what brings me future contentment. So there at the campsite, I pulled out a notebook and we talked through the whole week, naming the mountain passes, the highs and lows, even the things we ate and jeep parts we fixed. Then we made a shared album on our phones and tallied up our favorite photos. So when we got home, I had what actually mattered—all my treasures, from prints to cow bones.
About the Author
Liz Bell Young is a writer and experience designer who wandered a half-globe before finding home. Now in Cincinnati, she's the author of "In the Wide Country of Love," publisher of Haven Magazine, and a contributor to Magnolia. Follow her life at @lizbellyoung.