February 18, 2007
Put it on P
ben, 10 weeks, Canon Digital Rebel XTi
As you might guess, I chose my photographer carefully for our wedding. Having gorgeous photos at the end of the day was even more important to me than flowers or cake or a live band. We were thrilled with what Rikka did and since she gave us a print of every photo she took, I was blown away that every shot was exposed correctly. I asked my oldest friend Ryan (who is a photography professor and the head of the digital photography department at the Academy of Art) how she did it.
He looked over the prints, smiled and said, "Do you really want to know?" "Yes!" I said. I had so much trouble deciphering F-stops and shutter speeds and ISO... even after several photography classes, I still couldn't seem to remember the proper way to expose things. I had instant amnesia.
"She put it on P."
"She put it on the Program setting."
"Yes. Cameras these days are so sophisticated, they are actually smarter than we are sometimes. Use your tool girl! You will likely get perfect exposures every time on P."
This was revulotionary information to me. I've had my camera on P ever since.
But more important than taking great photographs is the metaphor I found in this. Where else in my life could I just put it on P? Where in my life am I trying to do it "right" or perfectly or making things harder for myself. Where am I not simply using my tools/resources well?
One of my coaching clients really wanted to take photographs. It had been a creative dream of hers for a long time and she was really passionate about it. Every time we checked in however she had an excuse. "I had to read the manual... "I'm taking a photography class..." "I'm learning photoshop..." It seemed there was always a new way to prepare. She was always waiting for the perfect circumstances to begin.
I told her to bring her camera to work, put it on P and shoot 10 photos every day on her lunch break."I can just do that?" she asked. "I feel like I'm cheating." But really, this was simply another way that her inner critic had very cleverly kept her from achieving her dream.
Several weeks ago when Matt officially went back to work I figured I could handle watching the baby all day by myself. By the third day I was so physically and mentally exhausted that I just wanted to cry and quit. (or go back to work instead of my husband)
Then I thought... how can I put it on P?
The next day I hired someone to clean our house twice a month. (This is a luxury I've never allowed myself) Then we called the grandparents and fairy godparents and friends and booked some babysitters. I am still living in this question each day... What is one thing I can do to make this day more fun and easy? (Sometimes it's handing the baby over to the neighbor and taking a bath)
Asking for help is something I have to remind myself to do. I am always humbled by how much people want to help, especially when there is a bundle of cuteness involved.
Where in your life can you put it on P?
Posted on February 18, 2007 07:33 PM
Ok. THAT was a brilliant post, Andrea! And that photo of BEN!!!?! Omagawd, he is such a charmer!!! Ackkkk, soooo sosososo cute with that little pursed mouth and same-as-Andrea sideways look at the camera!
Set it on P, baby! Great!
This post totally was meant for me to read today! I'm trying to start a photography business, and feel so incompentent with some of the digital and technical stuff. As a hobbyist, I always shot on P and let the camera do all the work, because I was wrapped up in the composition, the emotion of the moment, etc. (I figured, why worry about all that when the camera will do it for me?) Now that I'm trying to become a professional, I feel like there's so much to learn, that I'm afraid to just try and take flight......I feel intimidated by all the stuff there is to learn, but also feel that shooting on automatic modes is like cheating, and this post really helped remind me that if shooting on P for awhile helps my confidence while I'm learning the more manual stuff, then that's okay! The whole inner critic thing you talked about hit close to home........ Thanks so much, you made my day!
Hi, a friend of mine, Sonia, just sent me here, and I am a mother of 3 boys, just discovered P last week, and what a blast!!! Let's spread the word! :-)
Hi, a friend of mine, Sonia, just sent me here, and I am a mother of 3 boys, just discovered P last week, and what a blast!!! Let's spread the word! :-)
Oh, you are a wise, wise woman. Ben is lucky to have such a mama. Thank you for this post, I am so bad about asking for help. The thing is, people want to help, so not only are you getting help, you are making them happy. I've got to remember that. I think I'm going to print this out and tape it over my desk, so I'll remember.
that child of yours has a wise little face :-)
Thank you! So many of your posts inspire me in so many ways, and I learn so much from you as well.
Great analogy! And of course your little guy is so amazing!
I have been thinking about this idea of simplifying for a few days since I first read this. I realized how much shame I create by trying to box myself in with a bunch of shoulds. When I first got married I thought all of my dinners should be made from scratch. I thought I couldn't paint or take photos unless I researched the topics (although my usual mode is to dive in and experiment). I think we mess ourselves up and create road blocks by all of the shaming and self-enforced expectations we place on ourselves. I am realizing that there is power in simply doing the best you can and being ok with what you have done, rather than judging it against a rigid list of guidelines in which you continually fall short. I think it's called - having mercy.
p.s. Ben just rocks my world. so much cuteness to be had!
i totally needed to read this.
ever since you gently grabbed my camera and put it on the P setting, as well as a higher ISO for indoors, i have had so much fun and have been full of gratitude for you and your photo coaching!!
this past weekend i met an old professional photographer at an engagement party. he's been one for about 30 years and is not all that keen on digital. he was really judgmental about me using digital out in the field. i left feeling hurt and deflated.
then i read this. the seredipity of it all.
you are an amazing photographer and i appreciate all of your wisdom and passion. i am curious if a run in with a die hard film photographer has ever been strange like this for you?
i love and miss you, my friend.
You know, I think asking for help is one half (ok, 2/3) of the equation.
The other third is ACCEPTING the help that's offered without being asked for. I am finally starting to learn that people I love offer things because they love me BACK. Not because they think it's the "right" thing to do.
Oh and Ben? That there is one cute kid y'all made.
I love this post as well.... I can relate to the budding photographer who did everything BUT take photos!
I was really hoping to hear some magical ways of using the "P" in life situations because.... that's exactly how I do it: I ask people for their stories and advice. For example, when I had to take my Class 4 driver's licence for a job, I was terrified as I had witnessed people that I worked with fail it repeatedly. I started asking them "why" they had failed and it mostly turned out to be the same mistake, failure to observe. When it was my turn to take the dreaded test, everytime I came to an intersection I would swing my head from side to side and say, "I'm looking left, I'm looking right...." I'm sure that I looked like an idiot (certainly felt like one) but I passed with flying colors!
Here is a good "P" for a slightly older child who is driving you around the bend: pretend that they belong to someone else and that you are "just the babysitter" -- it really works! It helps to take the edge off even if for only a min. or 2.
this post is so inspiring, allowing ourselves the "help" word is so stinking hard. Why? I love this and I think I am going to start putting things on P more often...
you are so rignt, people love to help (especailly when there is baby holding involved!)
cheers to you!
I can put it on P in regards to my worrying. I need to give my worries away and focus on the incredible joys I have in my life - I am so very blessed! (and so are you with that magical elf that now lives in your house!)
i think your baby is magical.
just a few thoughts, you know the quote, "ask and you shall receive", glad you found your voice for asking for help. "it takes a village to raise a child.: it appears you are doing beautifully.
I just love this picture of Ben - he looks like he is saying, "Come on, you know you wanna put it on P!"
Unfortunately, my camera seems to have no P. :) But when I get a camera that does, I will be sure to follow your advice, as your pictures as glorious. And it's amazing life advice as well.
I have to admit asking for help was really hard for me too. I was always planning, organizing, cramming too much into my life. Once I figured out I couldn't do it all I really started enjoying my time with my son.
Congratulations on taking those first steps to putting it on P.
I think when I am not worry about other people's problems and let them, themselves solve them;
And when I don't try to be perfect, I am in 'p' situation.
I just can't get over how adorable your little guy is. That's a great picture - and our camera is now on P.
I loved this post, both the writing and the ideas. I came back again to read it to remind myself to use the P more often in my life. Thanks!
For me, motherhood& creativity ment dealing with time restraints.
I am still not great with time management, but I can get a whole lot done during a nap time.
Also when I hit the freak out wall, I close my eyes and say "Be the water..."
just go with the flow. Thanks for all the inspiration!
The photos are GORGEOUS. And I have to say...I feel the same way. I don't give a hoot what my flowers look like as long or the cake or the food or whatever as Paul (my husband-to-be) and I and everyone else look wonderful.
I love this idea of putting things on P, particularly because I AGONIZE over everything and I need to realize that, for the most part, I have all the abilities I need. It has been difficult being a teacher and a wedding planner. I need to be PRESENT all places and that has been exhausting. Your words, as always, are such a comfort and a guide. Bless you and your sweet family!
Whoa! I can almost taste the colors in Ryan's photos!
I just stumbled upon your site/post. Thanks for such inspiring writing espeically as I sit here typing completely worn out as a mom of two. It was very refreshing and now I'm going to bed and tomorrow I will think more about putting my day on P. Good night!
You hit the nail on the head, girl. Loves it!
And I want to love that little baby!
(PS...this is Amy, who used to be coffee&sunshine and always wants to punch you in the face. Heh.)
So inspiring, A!
I need to start asking myself that too.... I think taking tonight off to peruse the internet and hang out with my husband is a good start. :)
hugs to ben.
I have the same camera as you. When I put it on "p" my pictures all turn out totally wonky. I have no idea how to use the camera yet (and I like your advice to take 10 pictures a day)but I thought "p" was just a setting that you can set any way you like.
What settings does your camera have on "p" that gives you perfect pictures every shot?
I love this post to pieces. Asking for help has proven to be my biggest problem. When to call it...the put in on P, as you say. There's so much food for thought here. Thanks for posting.
Has anyone else noticed that his expression is just like in your profile pic to the left? It really is. Twice already at least.
I love this post. Thank you so much.
What a gorgeous photo of your boy. I'm sure many take comfort in hearing you say how hard it is. My baby days are over but with the last one, I had to really learn to surrender to the pace. Used to racing around trying to accomplish so much, I had to take a major chill pill. I decided my goal for each day would simply be to take a shower. Anything else besides cuddling the Babe would be icing on the motherhood cupcake. Those days brought their own caravan of charms, and yes, they passed so quickly.
Excellent post, excellent advice...
excellent question (and excellent model you've birthed! he clearly understands his job at a young age...)
what a great post, Andrea.
i need to put a lot of things in my life on P. great reminder to start thinking of ways to make things easier. i think sometimes we feel that we have to go the long way around. that it's cheating or not fair to do elsewise.
(where is the P on your rebel?)
Hang in there. I think P is just the thing. Now that I'm hanging out with baby #2 it has struck me just how tough it was with baby #1 in that I remember feeling as though I was trapped sort of in a tunnel - feeling as though "oh no this is going to go on forever". With #2 - knowing each phase changes, things get figured out, it has been a lot easier. It is great that you have such a support network! Remember that having friends and family hang out with Ben does not mean you are failing as a mom - it is a relatively recent Western idea that one or two people should be able to meet all of a child's needs, not the norm in the world. Also it will help Ben recognize that the world can be a benevolent place, full of kind people who care about him, and in turn will teach him how to be caring to the extended web of children he may know when he grows up! Those commercials that say "Having a Baby Changes Everything" are true, so don't make yourself too nuts trying to make things just like they were before plus take care of the baby...just wait until he can move and there are toys and little socks everywhere! I don't think anyone looks back at their life and thinks "if only I'd kept the silverware more organized... or why were there dustbunnies under my bed in 1993?" Children are a ton of work, extremely frustrating, unbelievably messy, but I think are also the greatest joy you can have!
Hello! It's so good to see that you're not falling into the new-baby slump that seems like such a terrible eventuality these days (way to go for proving it's not!).
I have a favor -question?- to ask:
At the end of May this year, I and my best friends since sixth grade will graduate high school. I'm already researching graduation and college care packages, but as I've never been an adult before, I need help. What would you recommend as essential items to start an adult/college life?
Any advice is much appreciated.
There's this amazing homily by martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero (El Salvador) that says "We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. It enables us to do something, and to do it very, very well."
I try to live my life by that. I can do something very well in P.
Thank you again Angela for such an inspiring post. As for Ben, every picture of him makes me smile. There seems to be something special about him - could it be his mother...???
All the best x
What a great story. I started a green-cleaning business to help people put it on P.
What a terrific post.
I am putting me on P.
i've come back three times to read this. thank you. just what i needed to read.
What a concept, I love the idea of translating that to the rest of your life. I just love all the photos of Ben, what a sweetie he is. I applaud you for getting the help you need.
P is good. P is what gets new mothers through the hardest part of the first year!
Your little man looks so much like you..
you amaze me ~ that you can think clearly enough to just stop and remember to ask yourself this question in the first place and then to on top of that ...ask for the help you want?!! amazing my friend, amazing.
i can start putting my camera on P too ..is where I can start and then ...after that I just might be calling someone to clean my house!
Look at Ben's face. Then look at your face over on the left above "ABOUT" (!)
Bravo, Andrea! We live in a culture that tells moms that success as a mother means giving themselves -- and their needs -- up entirely. No wonder the rates of postpartum depression here are so high! This post is such a testament to how hard you work to know yourself ... and that's going to make you the BEST type of mother!
Andrea - Ive read for a long time now, first time commenter. Having been what you are going through now (my little man turns 5 next Saturday!) just the fact that you are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, put it on "p" and write a post like this, signals to me that you are doing so much better than you think you are!!! I read this and said, OH GOOD! She's back!!! That first month is a doozy. And I have to congratulate you - that is ONE CUTE BEN!! I'd babysit, but I'm on the East Coast!
Hang in there, it gets easier and easier and you are doing just fine!
Ditto on Ben. I swear he's gonna be famous or something...his face looks so familiar, like I've seen it before.
On the "program mode"...well, I think it's SO cool that you're coming to realize all this. As I've told you before, moms all realize many/much of the same stuff over time, which makes you part of such a unique sisterhood of understanding what it is like doing the mom thing. We should really have a secret handshake, lol.
I came to the conclusion you have a long time ago, after the birth of my first child...when I felt I was going insane from being in overdrive all the time. I LET GO. And it felt good and I didn't feel guilty and I felt RELIEVED. I've never apologized for being saying "I can't do it all no matter how much I think I can or desire it" since. You must take care of yourself in order to take care of others. I think Dr. Phil said that, lol.
Anyway, I blogged on this very subject about a year ago if you're interested
Btw, you're doing such a good job! How's Mighty Girl hangin in so far? Her little one is so adorable to. What is in that San Fran water that makes you guys produce such beautiful kids???
I'll echo everyone by saying Ben is so gosh darn cute, and beautiful! I look forward to seeing him grow up on this wonderful journal of yours.
When my son was a newborn, we hired a housecleaner and it was a lifesaver! There is so much pressure on us moms do accomplish everything perfectly, with a smile and a great figure to boot- I absolutely LOVE how you are learning to put in on P early on.....
My Canon Powershot is now on P, can't wait to see the difference.
Blessings and sleep to you, dear superhero!
I love reading your posts - even thought I have already ben through what you are experiencing right now, I never really had the guts to say it out loud - it can be overwhelming and yes it is a lot - I have never held single mother's in such high regard as my first few weeks at home after my husband went back to work.
My daughter is 18 months now and she is more of a joy every day and I love her more each second and the sleepless nights seem so long ago - and I can even work and do laundry and cook and be a Mom now.... something I once thought impossible.
Blessings to you and your men! The miracle continues!
i should read this post over and over. i have a hard time asking for help and don't really feel i have a community i can rely on to take care of my little girl. working on that...
he truly is a bundle of cuteness.
worrying less about what I can accomplish and more on enjoying motherhood. allowing a batch of cookies to be a success, and laughter and a day at the park. less about writing a book or getting or other goals that are not as important in the now (important to work on them in a less stressful time line, making them hobbies instead of jobs in my mind).
my P is worldly accomplishment- putting is behind motherhood on my list of priorities until it makes more sense to make it a bigger piece of my pie.
Perfection! I love the "P" principle. (It will be forever in my mind as this!) I too am a perfectionist waiting to be discoverd, instead of discovering. THANKYOU! you've given me permission to be perfectly not-perfect!
Once again, you've described a bit of early motherhood with perfect pitch -- and provided pithy advice as well. You rock!
You are quite fortunate to have a support system. My two are older now, but I was always alone - for just about everything. It has been very difficult with work and infact, it has seemed to have cost me my job, as I am the one to be called away from work for the kids, to stay home with the kids. You are so lucky - I'm jealous!
I have no idea, but you can bet I'm looking.
Ahhh the beautiful Ben - he always makes me smile. I find it amazing how some babies are just born so cute and with so many expressions designed to melt your heart.
But, I write this as the tears roll down my cheek.... I'm ashamed to say from self-pity. We moved to a different country 2 weeks before my son was born (he's now 11months) - away from all my family and friends. I haven't had anyone I can rely on to help me or to take my son on the tough days. The move was the right thing to do for our future, but the timing sucked!! I have to admit I'm a bit jealous of you Andrea (but also so pleased for you) that you have a great support network.
It's been hard work for my husband and I coping with a newborn alone, but we have coped and I'm so proud of us. I certainly wouldn't choose to do it again, but I think it has brought us all very close as we have no-one else to depend on except ourselves. Thankfully though we are finally starting to make new friends - no-one yet that I would leave my angel baby with, but at least we get to go out and socialise which is lovely.
You also touched a nerve - I have been guilty of being a bit of a martyr. About 3 months ago I realised I am supposed to be enjoying my son - he isn't a problem to be solved or a burden to be suffered, but a precious little person to be loved and enjoyed. So recently we have been playing lots..each day I make sure we spend some time singing, dancing, playing in the grass, going for a swim (don't worry - it's summer here!), wandering around art galleries...whatever tickles our fancy. I was having the odd pang of guilt about it as my poor hubby has to work all week. But last night he told me he is so happy that I'm happier now and that I'm much nicer to live with!
Phew...somebody stop me I'm rambling!!!
Advice taken and kept for future reference. Thank you! (And who wouldn't want to babysit that little guy. Reminds me to offer the same more often to friends with small babies.)
I love what you said about thinking of ways to make your day easier or more fun. There's something in me that feels guilty for even hearing that as if I'm "cheating"....like life is supposed to be difficult and a chore. I didn't know i even thought this. And maybe I am making things harder than they have to be because that's my expectation!
thank you for showing a different way of looking at this...a way to take life easier.
Thanks for this post, Andrea. Right now, our lives are full of change -- and therefore my life is full of stress, more than I've experienced in quite a while.
now, because of you, I'll be looking where I can put things on P.
Well, I will do this in Bullets (sorry if you hate them!)
1) I love your wedding photos, I am getting married in July, and have hired an amazing photographer (who will probably put it on 'p', but who cares!)
2) I have put lots on 'p' since I had my first baby when I was 17 (I know, I was way too young!) Jack (now almost 14) was a very difficult baby from the word go, even though I was a nursery nurse nothing was easy, it turned out he has Aspergers, so 'p' is what I do a lot of although I never had a word for it!To give you an example, I tried very hard to breast feed, in the hospital a witch of a midwife tugged my breasts around till they bled to force the issue, Jack was having none of it and screamed so much they moved him away from me to the nursery, then to the kitchen as he woke all the other babies up. When I was allowed home, my AMAZING healthvisitor, said, 'The midwife is obviously a bitch, you have mastitis and cant breast feed'. She walked out of my house drove to a supermarket and bought with her own money, some bottles, a sterilizer, and baby milk. She gave me the best peice of advice I ever had (you know, your going to get tons of it from everyone, most of it conflicts ....) She said,'Make your baby safe...' ie put him in his cot/behind a baby gate, whatever ' Then leave him crying if he is getting you down, and sit on your front door step with a cup of tea, and breathe' Its that simple, she taught me not to feel guilt, and to do things the way which made my coping the easiest, and to put things on 'P'.
I have never looked back, and I now have two boys who are happy, and creative individuals who smile a lot and love me, just like your children do.
Hope this helps.
This is such a great set of lessons. I have the same camera that you have, and turns out it's been broken the whole time I've had it--P doesn't work, because the light sensor is off, which means that everything has been underexposed! But it's on its way to be fixed even as I type. And then I will set it, too, to P.
Ben is beautiful.
I don't know but he lost the newborny look!! He's adorable.
Thanks so much for this post.
As an amateur photographer, I find myself feeling guilty about using the "P"--your post will help me get over that. 10 photos a day a lunch. P or no P. I can do that.
As a mom and business professional, I do need to allow myself to "put it on P" a lot more often than I currently do. Thanks for helping bring this idea to life in a meaningful way.
Finally, Ben is simply beautiful. Congratulations on your lovely little boy.
As the illustrious Joe Buissink says...its "P for Professional ! "
I'm learning to put it on P on the job: admitting when I feel overwhelmed or cannot figure something out on my own. My coworkers have risen to the occasion and helped me a lot, ever since I started going this!
I'm going to remember the message of this post for quite some time. Thank you for the gentle reminder.
What a wonderful reminder. Thank you!
I also rarely comment, but it must be said: your child is beautiful. He's one of the most adorable babies I've ever seen.
Also, THANK YOU. I really needed to hear this today. I'm a second semester college senior, and I'm trying to balance an internship, three classes, a job, and a thesis -- all while trying to figure out what the hell I'm going to do with an English major. This really helped me realize that there are some areas of my life that don't need as much focus as others - and most of all, I need to make time for the things that keep me from feeling overwhelmed.
i don't usually comment, but i really have to emphasize that your child is THE singular most beautiful baby i have ever seen. he is truly a little angel, and he has such personality. your entry about mommy guilt made me think about how i worry about not thinking my (far future) baby is cute...cause you know some babies just aren't.
but my god, is ben adorable. (don't let it get to his head.)
Superhero's don't have to do everything themselves!
Glad to hear you are involving people to help you.
Cleaning a house is such a pain in the neck. I have been thinking for months I would like a cleaner and wonder is it just laziness! If I ever have a child, it is the first thing I plan to do. (Actually, I will do it when I am four or five months pregnant, because who wants to clean a loo with a bump in the way! :-)
Ben is so cute. He is a little smiler!
great camera advice.
but can i just say this
child has the best expression
for such a wee one. seriously.
i drool over every shot you
put up here. of course, as
a mother, i know you swoon
everytime you hear this. but
to be able to see it everyday
is the blessing
This is exactly what I needed to hear today -- thank you. It's amazing how much more you can get done and how much happier you are when you cast aside the need to be a perfect superwoman and just DO IT!
Oh my god....this is the most intelligent, rational, thing I've heard in a loonng time! Really, how much do we over-complicate our lives? And being a lover of photography myself, I've always felt a little bad about using the "p" setting. I would tell myself "one day I will shoot like a real photographer and learn about shutter speeds, f stops, etc. Even though I love my photographs and people tell me how wonderful they are, I always felt like a bit of a cheat. I wonder how many other areas of my life I can apply the concept to. "Put it on P"...that's gonna be my mantra for the week!