I’m going to challenge you here with some truth.

I just saw the most ghastly family photo. I won’t go further than that, but it was obvious that this was some cheap drive-by type place that doesn’t bother putting out either a good product or good art.

Maybe it was one of those quickie church directory things and as such it was convenient. But that’s actually where I’m going with this.

Because this same person put a lot of thought, and money, and effort, into her wedding.

And yet all the time, when we talk about family photos, people find a reason not to invest.

Values. Value. We use it interchangeably with money. And it’s totally true. We put our money on what we value.

We put our money on the wedding, instead of the union, the relationship. We put our money on the ceremony instead of the family. We value pomp and circumstance, and not the day to day appreciation of the connections that make our lives meaningful.

Why did I stop photographing weddings?

You want to know, really? It’s disheartening. We want a big show, photos to share on Facebook, to impress our friends, to be “you’re getting married!” Most of my friends elope now, or have small weddings, and who can blame them? I’ve got to say I think they’re coming from the right place on this.

We live in a society that will have a huge ceremony celebrating a relationship, but catch that couple out at dinner two weeks later and they are both on their phones not talking seeking connection outside the relationship. We have a big deal surrounding the event that supposedly starts the family, then we don’t take pride in the little details of life that truly make a loving family environment.

When I photograph you my tools are connection, joy, love, appreciation. Come back to your relationship, I say. Look into your spouse’s eyes again. See that little smile that made your heart leap the first time you saw it. Watch the lowered eyelashes instead of watching your TV. Put down the video game and feel the clasp of a hand held in yours.

Look at your children’s faces, their tiny hands, their chubby baby cheeks, their pouty baby lips. Listen to what they are trying to tell you.

Now, do you want a photo of them squirming and squinting for the camera while you hold them still and the photographer grumbles because he’s not getting to his next clients fast enough? Because cheap means he has to stack up someone else 20 minutes behind you? Is this really what represents your family?

Is this the memory you want?

I’m not going to tell you what to answer. It’s up to you to decide.

What do you value?