Know When to Leave the Camera At Home
My wife and I got into a short discussion yesterday, but I feel that I got a lot out of it. I am one of those guys that carries my camera around with me most of the time (aren't we all)? I think for the most part, my family and friends don't really mind. I don't drag it out for an evening out, but I often have it with me around family gatherings (as my candid/portrait gallery will attest). But I need to remind myself sometimes when I should just leave it at home.
Yesterday, for example, was my daughter's baptism. Like all other family events, everyone ended up back at my mother-in-law's house and the kids would once again be together again. Whenever the kids are together, I often find a lot of opportunities for some great photos. But before we got off to the church, my wife asked me if I was bringing my camera. I didn't catch the special phrasing at first, but after a short discussion, it was implied that maybe it wouldn't be a good idea to bring the camera. As I said, it was a very brief discussion and it wasn't at all heated, but let's look at the situation for a moment.
It was my daughter's baptism. So even though we were at my mother-in-law's house, my wife and I were essentially the hosts of the party. I will admit, photography can be a distraction – it maybe pulls me away from interacting with some people. So in all fairness, etiquette would dictate that I should not be distracted at my own party. My job would be to make sure I spend a little time with everyone and to make sure that everyone is comfortable. If I am doing that job well, there isn't much room for photo opportunities. So, why risk offending anyone (especially my wife)? That is a time where the camera stays at home. And to think that the thought didn't cross my mind until my wife brought it up.
There are any number of similar situations where the camera does not have a place. You may have a need or a desire to remember the event, but the time is much more appropriate for a point-and-shoot camera as opposed to your semi-professional camera. If you're unsure, ask the opinion of your significant other or close family member. They'll tell you whether they think you should leave the camera at home. Just remember to be considerate of others.