““What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.”
My husband is the BEST, but he is not a photographer. Thankfully, he supports my photography addiction with sincere enthusiasm. When we travel, he not only tolerates, but encourages my obsession with the things I find interesting. When I lust for the latest gadget, or give in to my equipment urges, he shares my excitement. When I park myself in front of my computer for hours-on-end, only occasionally nodding in response to his attempts to communicate with me, he tolerates my inattention. SO, after 18 years of happy marriage, here are my Seven Simple Suggestions for Staying Happily Married to a Non-Photographer.
1. PRESERVE A MEMORY
Years ago I discovered the pleasure of creating Coffee Table Books from my photography. Somehow the things I photograph, and especially those that find a home in my books, are that much more memorable. It’s given both of us great pleasure to go through the books and relive special moments, and they are a great tools for sharing our experiences with friends and family. It’s easier to tolerate any annoyance related to photography when you know the trip’s memory will be enhanced by it.
2. TRAVEL WITH FRIENDS
I’ve often thought about doing a destination photography workshop, but since my husband doesn’t shoot and we both prefer to travel together, that doesn’t work for us. So we’ve found an excellent alternative. My closest friend is a wonderful photographer and her husband and mine are the best of pals. So our husbands find interesting ways to entertain themselves while we go off and shoot to our hearts’ content. Once in Dubrovnik for example, she and I returned from shooting cobblestone alleys at sunset only to find the boys happily sipping their coffees in an outdoor cafe deep in the middle of a game of gin. If you choose the right traveling companions, everyone is happier.
3. GIVE IT A REST
Sometimes it’s more important to spend time with your spouse than it is to finish that last bit of your blog (excuse me, need to take a break here!) or edit that last batch of photos, or peruse the web for yet another really interesting story about how to “Get the Shot”. It will all still be there when you’re ready to get back to it.
4. BE FLEXIBLE
OK, there are times when flexibility doesn’t work. But honestly, unless it’s a really special occurrence, isn’t it better to reschedule if your spouse really wants to go see a movie or go out to dinner just when you were planning to go out to shoot? It’s usually something you can rearrange so that you can both be happy if you work at it. And if not, think about asking your spouse to come along and give you a hand, and be sure to tell him/her what’s different about that particular time. Then find something important for them to do. There’s always something, right?!
5. GET OUT EARLY
This one is the hardest for me, in fact it’s a bit of “do as I say, not as I do”. My husband is a very early riser, and I am definitely not. However, we all know that some of the best light happens right around daybreak or sunset so it’s when we should be out there anyway. Difficult as it may be, the least disruptive time to shoot is very early in the morning when your spouse is perfectly happy to read the paper and drink his coffee alone. And really, how hard is it to be back before the second cup?!
6. SHARE YOUR STRENGTHS
My husband has a very good eye. After years of watching me work, he decided he’d like to learn more about photography. So, after a few instructive sessions, we armed him with my spare camera body and one of my lenses, and headed out for his first “lesson”. He really enjoyed the outing and has been out several times since. The challenge of helping him while trying to shoot for myself is offset by the pleasure of the shared interest. And who knows, this may be just the ticket for justifying some additional equipment! We’ll see how it works out in the long run but so far so good.
7. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS
When all else fails, ask forgiveness….and mean it! It’s a small price to pay for something this important.
Anybody out there with other ideas, please feel free to send them my way via the comments field below. Thanks for visiting and happy shooting 🙂
NOTE: All photos taken in Botswana and South Africa with Nikon D/50, 70-200 mm Nikkor lens
- Elephants Never Forget: 120mm, ISO 640, f/4.8, 1/125
- Happy Herd: 120mm, ISO 200, f/4.8, 1/1250
- Restful Watching: 200mm, ISO 800, f/4.8, 1/320
- Mirrored Flexibility: 120mm, ISO 400, f/4.8, 1/500
- The Early Bird Gets the Worm: 1.5 tc @340mm, ISO 320, f/4.8, 1/500
- The Strong Survive: 1.5 tc @340mm, ISO 400, f/4.8, 1/640
- Excuse Me!: @ 200 mm, ISO 400, f/4, 1/1000