Discussion: capturing the beauty of a moment?

Image via Instagram

The other day I read an article in a magazine about enjoying a moment just by yourself, for yourself. The article was encouraging us to see something beautiful with our own eyes more often, not through the viewfinder of a camera. It can be so easy to get sucked into the urge to document everything - an amazing moment you don’t want to forget or really want to share with your Instagram community. But how much do we really enjoy that moment when we always feel the need to capture everything?

I certainly feel this inner conflict of just wanting to be fully there without any distractions, and feeling the need and desire to document the beauty - all the time to be honest.
So when I went for a walk the other day I told myself not to take any photos - but I still ended up taking some. And while I was starting to feel ‘guilty’, I realised that actually it felt freeing to allow myself to capture the moment. I’m a photographer - it’s something I just can’t always resist. Sometimes it helps me to see the beauty of something even more and to really observe and engage with it.

So my take on this is to try to enjoy moments without a camera, without the need to share every single situation, but to allow myself to document a moment when I just can’t hold back that urge. Not to think about it too much, but go with what feels right in that specific moment and relax.

What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear, and open up a discussion - I’m sure it’s something that we all can relate to.


  1. I'm not a photographer, so I'm not coming from that angle, but I do enjoy taking photos (something I trying to learn to do 'properly' with a camera I've hired from uni). I often hear people scorn others for not living in the moment, and for them wanting to take the time to capture something, when they 'could just be enjoying it', but does it not say something about that moment when I chose to capture it?! I love photos, cameras, anything that allows me to remember for longer - I have a dreadful memory, truly dreadful, and have forgotten so many things, so many special moments (and the ordinary ones too) that I've lived through, and I often wish I'd had a camera by my side so I could make that choice to snap away (or not). It means a great deal to me when I'm able to.

  2. It's a great topic for discussion, as I'm a bit of a diplomat I would have to say that it is possible to do both. You could go for a walk, take your time, sit and take in the moment and then maybe snap a few carefully selected photo's to remember it by. As long as you don't spend the whole time with your eye to the lense you can still be in the moment. If you have an eye for the beauty of that moment, why not take a picture of it?

  3. I think about this a lot. For example, sometimes I don't bring my camera to a get together with my friends, but later on I regret it because there were so many great picture moments. I think it's for everyone to find their own balance between enjoying the moment en taking pictures of it. But if you're a true photographer at heart, what better way to enjoy the moment than by taking a picture of it? =) It's also a great way to be able to enjoy that specific moment later on in life.

  4. I agree with all of you. I don't think we have to go to the extreme on either side, but go with whatever feels right. Sometimes it can really help to take a photo, and as you said, it's a great way to remember later on in life. On the other hand, if you're out with friends and they're not so much into photography and capturing the moment, it can feel a little awkward. But still, I think it's important to do whatever your gut tells you to do.
    The other day I had this noise inside my head 'don't take a photo, it will ruin the moment, just enjoy it as it is, don't get out your camera' - actually those thoughts made it worse, and capturing the moment felt freeing - as I said in the post ;)
    Thank you guys for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing everyone's take on it! It's such a great way to get a conversation going. So keep sharing, please... :)

  5. I think it's possible to do both, but important to use discretion. There are times I need to consciously tell myself to set my camera down for a bit. I think this is especially important when you're around kids or anyone else who really craves your undivided attention and quality time. The thought of my niece and nephews growing up thinking I cared more about taking pictures of them, or about their appearance, than looking them in the eye, playing with them, and listening to what they have to say would sadden me. Balance is important for a photographer. It's important for anyone.

  6. I was thinking about this the other day! My boyfriend and I were watching an unbelievably beautiful sunset. I told him, "a sunset goes by quicker than you can imagine, enjoy it. Look at it because in a matter os seconds it will disappear." I could see he was suffering, like a smoker who can't smoke and really wants to. Finally, after watching how he could not really enjoy it without capturing what he saw, I had no other option but to say "go ahead... "

    It's interesting how nowadays, it seems like a moment must be captured. Shared. Even I have that little instinct, even if I'm just walking down the street and see something that grabs my attention.

  7. I wrote about something similar on my blog today too as I have been thinking about this quite a lot recently. My boyfriend doesn't understand why I like taking so many photos when we go away or out for the day in London or wherever because he says that taking photos alters the way we remember the trip i.e. when we look back on the trip we remember it through the photographs and therefore find it easier to forget the little details we didn't photograph. I kind of see what he means really but then again as Tori mentions above, photographing things is a brilliant way to document and therefore remember things which you may not otherwise do so. In terms of social media, especially Instagram, I have become more selective with what I choose to share because some moments really are too special to be disrupted with a photo. Likewise, aforementioned boyfriend recently challenged me to not photograph an excellent meal we had out the other week so that we could both just concentrate on enjoying it, rather than documenting every angle of it for blogging purposes for example. I have to say that I did enjoy it and sometimes I think that it is better to keep moments for yourself. There is so much information and so many photos out there that to reduce a really special moment to pixels on a screen, without the other sensations that come with it, can be quite dissatisfying, especially if you can't get the photo exactly how you'd like it.

    Bee x


    PS. Your blog is wonderful; keep up the good work :)

  8. This has been on my mind as well, I've decided that I would intentionally document moments in my life this year. I found that in the past year I just can't quite recall the moments that really touched my life, my memories weren't reliable. Whereas if I take a photo it brings me back to that exact moment. I think the danger is when we're so set on capturing the moment and trying to make it look "perfect" by taking multiple shots that we completely miss out on basking in its beauty.

  9. I think it depends. I've stopped taking my camera to some places that even just a year ago I would have been snapping away. I came to the realization that I wasn't able to enjoy the moment because I was focused so intently on capturing the moment. There are times when I regret that decision, but for the most part, I'm finding it freeing to be able to interact and enjoy the experience of the moment. In other instances, I'm still taking my camera but I'm giving myself parameters. I don't want my camera to be an excuse to not fully participate in what's going on around me - I don't want to be an observer/documenter of something - I want to be a part of it. And I have to work hard to step out of my comfort zone.

  10. I'm actually on the opposite side, still. I don't bring my camera along often enough and I end up forgetting these beautiful moments.