When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do on a rainy afternoon was to look through old family photo albums. Not many of us take the time anymore to print out duplicate prints and bind them up into a notebook-sized trip down memory lane, but we are still a culture of pictures.
There are milestone photos of the kids, of course. Then there’s the annual family photo and the wallet-sized school pictures.
But are you forgetting to take photos that document your relationship with your spouse or significant other too?
Just like keeping the stubs from the concert tickets you got for your birthday or the hand-painted trinket from your cruise last summer, photos with your spouse help you to remember the journey you’ve taken together. Whether you keep them in a three-ring binder or in a virtual photo bucket somewhere in the cloud, make sure you remember to point the camera lens at the two of you together.
Need some ideas for what pictures to take? Here are my top 8 photo opportunities all military couples should take advantage of:
Photos Documenting the Military Service Journey
Military service provides the security for your relationship, and quite frankly, nothing reminds me more of the reasons that made me fall in love with my husband than seeing him in uniform. My guess is I’m not the only one. So make sure you snap a photo or two of you and your spouse whenever you attend official military functions.
- Promotions. This is a big day in every service member’s career, but it is also a milestone for your life together. Plus it gives you a great visual of the uniform evolution you’ve seen together. Don’t forget to take a photo at your service member’s reenlistment ceremonies too.
- Graduations. They’ve put in the hours of work studying and training, and you’ve likely been left to manage the homefront so they can focus solely on advancement. Graduation photos are a way to celebrate a spouse’s military achievement.
- Retirement. Like the light at the end of a very long tunnel, make sure you take the time to bask in the celebration that comes with retirement from military service. They’ve done the time in uniform, but you’ve been there too. A great photo of the two of you during the ceremony or the after celebration is a must-have photo.
- Birthday Balls and Galas. It’s not often we get to call the military lifestyle glamorous, so take advantage while you can. Best part? These events often hire photographers, so all you have to do is show up and smile.
- Farewells and Homecomings. These are some of the most important photos to have, not only for posterity, but to keep close during separations. Take the time to take a photo of every goodbye and every return. In those moments when the relationship requires a little extra work or distance brings loneliness, these photos are a great reminder of how much you mean to each other.
Photos Documenting Your Relationship Journey
There are the standard must-haves like wedding and anniversary photos, but those are one day out of the year and aren’t often a true representation of your life together. Annual family photos are a great way to make sure you capture the kids as they grow (and yourselves as you age!), but they don’t capture the candid, funny and intimate moments that make the everyday so special.
- Laughing Together. There are some that say a relationship filled with laughter is one destined to last forever. Even if it’s a selfie or a quick pic taken by the passerby you snag at the park, make sure you capture a funny moment now and then.
- Hobbies. If the two of you are known to tear up the dance floor, swing a mean backhand or cook up a 7-course feast, make sure you capture you and your significant other in action. Not only will it serve as a reminder of all the things you love to do together, but it’s a great way to capture how doing those things might change or have to be modified with each duty location. Tennis in Alaska anyone? How about skiing in Texas?
- Travel. Seeing the world (or even various parts of the United States) is a huge perk of military service, so make sure you take advantage of it. And don’t forget to take your camera. While you are filling your SD card with images of castles in England, Mount Fuji, or the California coastline, don’t forget to jump into the frame with your spouse. Memories are often fleeting. A picture will help you remember how clear the sky was that day or how cold the wind was, and how amazing it felt to be there…together.