The Importance of Documenting the Details

The details here are so important for me. His hand in his pocket- his go to pose. His blankie. The one that in a few short years he wont need anymore. His thoughtful look. This kid is always thinking. 

The details here are so important for me. His hand in his pocket- his go to pose. His blankie. The one that in a few short years he wont need anymore. His thoughtful look. This kid is always thinking. 

We have all been there. I am currently there. Two preschoolers (I still want to type toddlers), a full time job, trying to keep the house up to par, caring for my parents more and more often, and being a wife, mother and friend. I currently am running around like a fool trying to get everything done in a day. I know there are things I see everyday, that in four or five years I am going to want to be able to look back at. Things I will want to remember- the way my oldest curls his upper lip when he cries, the way my youngest puts his shoes on the wrong feet every.damned.day, the way the dog insists on sleeping under the covers with me, the way my kids light up when they see Daddy come home after work. Things that in the moment seem trivial and almost annoying, those are the details that I am going to struggle to remember as they get older and things eventually slow down.

Totally not the perfect image. But the details here are what matter to me. He was tired and he took his blankie (one of 5, as long as they are muslin fabric he doesn't care) and rubs it in and along his ear. It's his tell that he is exhausted. Since he could touch his ear that was his thing.

Totally not the perfect image. But the details here are what matter to me. He was tired and he took his blankie (one of 5, as long as they are muslin fabric he doesn't care) and rubs it in and along his ear. It's his tell that he is exhausted. Since he could touch his ear that was his thing.

Reading this and don't have kids? It's just as important to document pets too. This dog would take her tennis ball every where. She's a pup obsessed.

Reading this and don't have kids? It's just as important to document pets too. This dog would take her tennis ball every where. She's a pup obsessed.

Now, while I struggle in the busyness of my everyday life to capture these details (I am working on getting much better), I do focus on the details for my clients. That is another reason why I enjoy hour long sessions. I like to study the scene. What are you going to want to remember about this moment in time? The way your kiddo pouts? That chipped tooth they got from jumping off a swing? They way they cling to your leg when they are nervous? Their little dimple? The way they tie their shoes? All these things I want to document for you, and I encourage you to print them. The details of life are often the prettiest things. 

The way picking strawberries turned his fingers red.

The way picking strawberries turned his fingers red.

Even for the times you aren't having a session done. Take some time in your daily life, use that cellphone camera and take a shot or two of a detail you want to remember. It doesn't have to be perfect, or even frame worthy. Just take the shot. Below I have listed some tips to help for those everyday moments when you don't have a professional photographer following you around. 


  • Think about the details you love the most before hand. Why are they special to you? Do they have a trait you grandparents had? Is it a detail of your mother you remember as a child that you want to make sure you remember as an adult? It does not have to be detail shots of just the kids. Think about your parents, grandparents, any family, friends, pets... anything that is special to you. Do they do something you just know you'll want to remember forever?

The details of his eyelashes. His moody look (God is this child ever moody.) But the details you don't see are pictured to the right. A great example of why sometimes detail shots can even be effective from a further viewpoint. 

The details of his eyelashes. His moody look (God is this child ever moody.) But the details you don't see are pictured to the right. A great example of why sometimes detail shots can even be effective from a further viewpoint. 

  • Get in close. Fill the frame with the detail. Then take a step back and get a shot of the whole scene. Don't be afraid to take a few shots. You may find the close up is awesome, but you love the one that shows their messy hair, the laundry everywhere, the chaos (or quietness) that surrounds them. 
The moodiness, the messy sink. This is the shot filled with details I will want to remember when he is older. I realized pulling back and getting more of the scene gave me more of the details I would want. .Sometimes detail shots don't have to be close ups.

The moodiness, the messy sink. This is the shot filled with details I will want to remember when he is older. I realized pulling back and getting more of the scene gave me more of the details I would want. .Sometimes detail shots don't have to be close ups.


  • Try different angles. Often times with details like tying shoes, and dimples, and laughter, I have found the best angle is going to be the one you would normally see that detail from. (When they are tying their shoe, are you usually standing over them helping or across the room watching?)

  • If you are printing them, or posting them online write something to go along with it. Why did you want to remember this particular detail? If you zoomed in and its not easily identifiable who is in the picture, make sure you put that too. (Parent brain, you may forget who it was in a few years time.)

Just remember, it doesn't matter if it is something that seems insignificant to others. If it is important to you, document it. If you are booking a session with me or any photographer for that matter, and there is really something you know you want a shot of, please make it known. My goal is to give you these pieces of time for you too look at, and be able to feel something. Not just images of posed smiles. 

Details aren't just for babies and children. My favorite detail shot is the one I grabbed of my grandmother washing dishes two years ago. The details in her skin The jewelry proving she was always put together even when it was time to clean. Details are everywhere.

Details aren't just for babies and children. My favorite detail shot is the one I grabbed of my grandmother washing dishes two years ago. The details in her skin The jewelry proving she was always put together even when it was time to clean. Details are everywhere.

Please share with me what details you'd want documented. I am always looking for new ideas and would love some feedback on this. What things do you see/do/feel everyday that you think you'd want to remember in a few years? 

Comments are open below and I am looking forward to reading them.

Until next time,
Erin Berry, Photographer

Erin BerryComment