As I sat there, the Friday after Thanksgiving watching the wife and kid decorating the tree, I started to think about what the holidays are really like for a photographer. These really stood out to me and I never really noticed it until now.
It's hard to turn the photographer side off
When your profession is to capture moments, it's difficult to not be constantly thinking of how you would cover any event you're at. Seeing poor or crooked cell phone pictures gets me but I had to realize that it's not what this is all about. I had to be able to separate what I would deliver for work and what people take on their phones. I many cases, its not really about the picture, the quality or anything like that. It's just the memories.
Holiday lighting is amazing
String lights, Christmas trees, soft lighting and all sorts of other varied sources make for amazing conditions. For most it can be challenging lighting to work with but it's an opportunity for creativity. I love how the changes can be so drastic with even a small turn in any direction.
Resist the urge to document everything
As photographers, we're already on one side of the camera. Especially being a wedding and event photographer, the ratio of photos of us to other people is staggering. It's ok to just leave the camera at home. It's ok to be a guest and people have no idea that photography is your thing. I use times like these to be able to experience that stress free life that my clients and guests get to in regards to a camera being around. That said, you'll often get handed a phone from someone and be expected to work magic as soon as people find out you're a professional photographer.
You need to take time to "just be"
Working hard is good. Overworking yourself is not. Even though I work year round and shoot a fairly wide variety, I always make sure that I take time for my family and myself. A year end reflection, I think about all of the clients and friends I've made along with the opportunities to come.