In 2021, I set out on a “365” journey hoping to improve my craft while simultaneously documenting the slow and murky “re-entry” to post-ish-pandemic life. For those who might not be familiar, it’s a photography project in which the goal is to take a photo each day for an entire year (ideally using your “big girl camera"). While I have yet to compile everything into an album commemorating that journey (#photographerproblems), I did complete the project - and I did improve my technical abilities in a huge way that year. 

Buuuuut I’m also pretty sure I completely burned out my then-four-year-old from wanting anything to do with being photographed, despite my best efforts to document as opposed to demand. I also set a precedent for my husband to be less-than-impressed with the inevitable mid-adventure “pauses” that involved us hanging back to capture a moment and/or wait for the right light. I am so glad I did that project that year. And I am so glad I don’t plan to take it on again anytime soon. What ended up happening was a mismatch: something that was, in my mind, a very intentional project and exercise in mindfulness, became a source of tension for the rest of my family. I can't be the only 365-er who has grappled with this.

Like everything in navigating this brave new world of the current attention economy, the name of the game is staying embodied and channeling your energy where it’s best spent supporting you and/or your most important humans. With cameras in our pockets at virtually all times, it’s no surprise that the internal struggle of whether to enjoy a fully-present moment with your kiddos or document it to preserve it forever is constantly resurfacing in our time together. And, as with most things, the two don’t need to be mutually exclusive. It’s not either/or; it can be both/and. Keep reading for a few tips for staying intentional about documenting your important memories while also creating space for yourself to stay grounded in the moment.

Here are 7 tips to help you balance the joy of the moment with your desire to preserve your memories in photos:

1. See Through Their Eyes: Mindful Parenting in Every Frame

Think about the situation from your child’s perspective. Ensure the camera doesn’t overshadow the connection they feel with you. When they look to you for connection, are you allowing them to make eye contact and exchange energy with you without a device in your hand?

2. Pre-Event Planning: Mindfulness Before the Shutter Clicks

Before an event or activity, think of the top 3 photos you'll want when it’s all said and done. For example, at your child’s dance recital: you might want a photo of them in their costume before the recital, one photo of them on stage, and a photo with you at the selfie station after the event with your kiddo holding some flowers. Focus on getting those photos, and bench the camera for the rest so you can fully engage in the moment.


What do you intend to do with the photos once they’re captured? Are they purely intended to live on your camera roll, or do you plan to put them in an album or on your wall? If the lighting sucks or there are tons of distractions, these photos probably won’t be among the ones you’ll want to print. In this case, resist the urge to document so you can direct that energy toward your humans.

4. Quality Over Quantity: Mindful Image Selection

Focus on a few high-quality images rather than an abundance of ones that will ultimately land in your digital trash bin (or worse, take up precious space on your phone).

5. Delegate Photographer Duties: Share the Love

Share the responsibility of being the go-to “family photographer.” Rotate roles so everyone gets a chance to be fully present without the camera.


Designate intervals during outings or activities where you intentionally put the camera away. Fully engage with your kids without the distraction of trying to capture every moment. (Bonus: you’re modeling this behavior for your kids – so if they’re too young for their own devices now, you can put your money where your mouth is once their old enough for their own phones.)


Before snapping away, ask yourself: Will I truly enjoy looking back at these photos? Consider the enjoyment factor before mindlessly racing to document every moment. (Fireworks videos, I’m looking at you.)

Remember, friend: it's not about capturing every second, but preserving the moments that truly matter. With a little intention, self-discipline, and self-awareness, you can cultivate a balance that allows you to capture those must-have moments and be fully present with your beautiful family. I invite you to keep these tips in mind as you head into the new year.

Cheers to new memories,


A photo of Miranda appears "taped" next to her contact information