If you follow me at all on Facebook or Twitter you probably know that I attended the WPPI conference last week in Las Vegas.  For those that don’t know, WPPI is a conference and trade show for wedding and portrait photographers.  It is about a week long and has some of the best photographers in the world there to teach various seminars ranging from technical skills to just plain old motivation.  I learned alot this year and cannot wait to put it all into practice.  Above all, there was one class that really stood out for me and had the most impact.  This was the motivational seminar conducted by the wonderful Mary from Justin & Mary.

I was deeply moved by the class on a personal and professional level.  There was talk of what is really important in life and making a difference in the world.  A reminder of the importance of what photographers do for people and not to take that for granted.

You never know when the last time you are going to see somebody you care about is going to be.  Pictures are one way to capture a person’s essence and likeness to remember for always.

Even before I was a professional photographer I always carried around a camera with me.  I would take pictures of everyone who was important in my life, family and friends.  Some of the people I took photos of were people I barely knew.  I always enjoy going back through these photographs and remembering all of these people who helped shape my life even if in a tiny way and were part of my journey.  Some of them I may not even remember if it weren’t for the photographs I have.  Even with how obsessive I was about all of this, there is one person who’s photograph I am missing.  When I was a teenager I had an older brother who passed away.  I didn’t really take any pictures of him for some reason, I had 1 picture of him at the age he was when I last saw him.  I would carry that picture around with me in a photo album full of all my best friends when I would go out of town as a way to bring my friends and close ones with me.  Our car got broken into on a trip and that photo album was stolen with the only current picture I had of my brother.  Of course I still have pictures of him when he was young, but none close to the age he was when he died.  Its been like 15 years since then and I can’t remember what he looked like in his last few years of life.  I often wish there was a way I could get another photograph, but there isn’t   You really just never know when a picture you take might be somebody’s last.  Just the other day I was looking through my wedding photos and cherishing all the photos of family members that traveled from New Jersey to attend the wedding.  I recently found out that my grandmother is pretty sick and probably wont be around much longer and I am so thankful that I have these pictures of her from my wedding day.

I am not saying everyone should become obsessive about taking pictures of all of their friends and family all the time, but I am saying that we are not always guaranteed more time with anyone.  Make sure that you do set aside some time to have your pictures taken, whether it be with your personal camera at home or with a professional photographer.  Don’t wait around until you lose weight or everything is perfect.  Just do it and you will be so glad you did.

Photographs are such an important thing to have and as a photographer I feel responsible in reminding people of that.