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021 | For nostalgia's sake

Hey, hey, hey. Welcome to Soul’s Undressed. I’m your host, Tori Rankovich, and today you’re listening to episode 21. I’m going to be talking to you all about my perspective + my opinions on nostalgia + why I think it should matter more to you. This one is titled, “For Nostalgia’s Sake: Why Capturing Photos + Visual Memories Matters.” The quote that I chose for today is,

“This chapter feels really good.” - Unknown

The author is unknown but that is a quote that I have on my vision board + it’s actually one that I look at often. I guess you can call it a positive manifestation because it’s a statement. Regardless of how I feel the day I’m looking at it, it still says the same thing. I choose that because for me that quote reminds me of what feels good about this chapter. I think that’s also what visual memories do for us.

I don't know about you but as soon as I see a photo I am immediately brought back to that time in my memory bank. For me, it’s just such an amazing way to remember what felt good + to pair the visual memory as a photo or video with an experience that allowed you to make new memories. Regardless of what it is for you that the memory is attached, I think that for nostalgia’s sake it's up to us to document those memories as their happening + created space for those memories to take place while being documented. Whether they’re being documented by us at home or someone professionally we’ve invested in.

Before we dive into today’s episode I wanted to talk about what I interpret nostalgia as. I always like to look up the actual definition of the words just so you guys aren’t just hearing my rambles. I was not too far off on this which I really like. I might also challenge you to do it sometime. It’s really fun to me to ask myself what a word means to me because it’s not like I’m trying to create a dictionary definition but it’s really telling sometimes to see word association. Like, what I have connected to some certain things. What I said nostalgia is to me: It’s a feeling. It’s a reliving of a really sweet time or memory in response to seeing, hearing, or reliving something. It’s a fleeting memory we want to hold onto forever.

That’s what comes up for me when I think of nostalgia + I actually had a really good example of my perspective on nostalgia + what I think of it because in my Q+A a couple of weeks ago. I had a question that asked, “ In 40 years what do you think you’ll be nostalgic about in this period of your life?” What an amazing question. It’s a good introspection question to get you to reflect, but it’s also really good to consider what am I going to miss about this time in my life? I’m not going to be 26 forever.

It’s not always going to be me, my husband + our two dogs in our rental. Life is going to continue to change, evolve, + nothing is ever going to look the same as it did right now. When I think about that quote, “This chapter feels really good,” I want to have as much documentation of these moments that mean so much so in 40 years when I am nostalgic about this time I can relieve that through the memories I have created visually. That I am attached in my mind + heart space to a really sweet moment or time period.

The dictionary definition is, “A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past. Typically for a period or place with happy personal associations”. So pretty close to what I said. In today’s episode, we’re really just digging deeper into talking about why I believe it’s so important to have photo + video memories. Again I don't always mean professional investments for photos + videos.

I mean, at home on the cell phone that’s in your hand 60% of the day anyway. Whether or not you value photos, there are people in your life who value you + value visual memories. I know that there are quite a few people who really don’t enjoy having their photos taken, but I really encourage you to grow an acceptance for candid photos that don’t cause you to feel forced. Still allow the people who love you to see you interacting with the people you love or doing the things you really love doing.

This is one of those topics that probably seems like it doesn't matter to a lot of people + thankfully it is a lighter topic but it does matter. I didn't realize how much this topic matters, other than knowing how much it matters to me until I went over to my 2nd cousin’s who I just met last weekend. She actually lives in a neighboring town to me in Wilmington. We share a bloodline through our grandfathers. Our great, great grandfathers were brothers + were straight from Scotland.

They moved over to Gardner, where they first settled, then went back to Scotland, + back again to Gardner. It was so amazing getting to see photos of this family + my family. To get to really understand the connection between me + this woman who has nieces + nephews who I have known for 10 years just through being close in age in neighboring towns. It’s crazy when you realize how important storytelling + documentation is for the people who love us + for the people who will come after us.

Even if you’re somebody who’s like, “I’m not going to have kids. I won’t have children so who will care about these photos?” You may not have kids, but you may have a best friend who has kids that you are very important to. You may have nieces, nephews, cousins, + siblings who you are very important to who want to have those photos. You probably have someone you love who wants to have those photos. It’s important to first consider that it’s not always about you + that there is a bigger picture.

You really are responsible for documenting what this chapter is + what feels really good from these chapters because these moments are fleeting. While you might be able to remember things for a while, just imagine retelling a story as your humans grow being able to connect that story you told them with the photos that they can see that they know were taken while that story happened. I challenge you to stretch your perspective on the importance of that because it is a little underrated.

Also, the thing about photos, at least for me, is when you are taking photos with Tori Elizabeth Photography when booking that session + we’re heading out for your experience -- I call it an experience for just that exact reason. I’m not going to take you out + stand you like you would imagine being stood for a parliament photo or supreme court photo. Very prestigious. Chances are that’s not real.

I mean, if you’re a very prestigious person + you want a photo sitting all fancy + nice then we’ll do that. But I want to capture you candidly in the midst of your memories. I don’t want to capture photos of you + your family, lover, baby, pet, or your fucking stunning body if it’s fake + not real to you because whenever you look back on this I want you to be brought back to the moments of this chapter that feel really good.

As far as priorities when it comes to why I think you should have photos + the type of photos that you are investing in its so priceless to have that visual pieces to bring you back to frosts, time in your favorite space that you always love returning to, to memories that you, or in a new space that you never adventured before as I took your photos. The visual piece of that matters for our memories + when you have memories worth remembering you have to document them.

When we are thinking about the different ways we can visually document things as far as why, where, when is the best time, + when should I really invest in a photoshoot. “This is just a normal day. I shouldn’t have a professional photographer here.” I want you to consider that there is no right or wrong way to capture your memories + there is no right or wrong way to document the bliss, giggles, those sweet curls that are going to be fleeting as well. There’s so much that goes into our heart space + into what matters to us + the biggest disservice we can do to ourselves is to limit what we think we are allowed to document or when we think its the right time just because we’re waiting to follow a status quo + what others are doing.

Before moving on from professional photos, for moms + dads. I cannot say this enough. Get in the fucking photo. Seriously. I just experienced this yesterday. A mom wanting to book photos or her preteen to celebrate her birthday + to have a moment to really make her daughter feel wonderful. I asked the mother if she was going to come ready so that she could also get the photos. She said, “Oh god no. I am not happy with how I look. I don’t want to be in them.”

So I told her, “I want to challenge you to maybe consider trying to find something you feel cute in because your daughter, while she will love having photos right now that make her feel glamorous, is going to want photos with her mother in them + is not going to give a crap what you look like.” You are her mom. Their dad. It’s not up to you to rob your child of those visual memories because you don’t like how you look in a swimsuit or shorts. You are a parent + I’m not saying you have to have photos with your child to be a great parent but what I’m saying is if you value your child being able to reminisce the memories they have with you through these ages you should document that.

I know it’s hard. I don’t understand because I’m not a parent but, I understand because I’m watching my siblings be parents. I can only imagine the stress that goes into trying to find time but this time is fleeting + that's the whole point. If you don't document it you’re going to miss out on capturing + documenting those memories. So let’s work together ahead of time. We can preplan stuff to make it easy on you but you have to do these things for your babies because they’re going to matter down the road.

You have to do them for yourself. Even if you’re a couple. Your relationship + your life phases are constantly evolving + changing. You’re moving from place to place physically + emotionally. You never want to forget each bit of these chapters. In the beginning where it's giddy + you feel like you shouldn’t be taking photos yet because you just started dating. Like, f that. Have fun! Document it! You only get one shot. I just don't want people to miss out on it.

I also want to say for women that are not happy or confident with their bodies who are considering not having boudoir photos done or empowerment photos done or keep putting off the updated headshot so your headshot is from 10 years ago + don’t even look like you anymore. Just document this damn chapter because you know when you take photos + at the moment you don't like how you look. Then you see them months or years later + you're like damn I look good.

That’s what matters. Even if you’re hard on yourself right now. Right now isn't forever + right now won’t last forever. That’s it. If you keep waiting for the season + then the next season to love yourself you’re going to run out of seasons before you know it. You’re going to run out of time to give yourself the appreciation + love you deserve to grow with throughout all of those years. Please truly take that to heart. If you take one thing from this it's that this season deserves to be loved right now. Not what it could be in two months or two years.

As far as video goes I do want to say I’m going to talk about home video + professional videography. I want you to think about home video memories. Some of you listening will have a parent who had videos for you to watch as a kid + some of you come from families who didn’t really have parents who recorded videos when you were a kid + you can’t relive that. I bet that both of you would have a pretty clear understanding of what it would do for your heart space to get to watch old videos of you as a kid.

I don't know if it's the difficulty of adulthood + how it gets harder. I don't know if it's just the pure nostalgic yearning for a time that's slipped away but, there's just something about hearing giggles + seeing the smiles + watching the events + the people who came together for those events. That is just so special. I think too to have memories + video recordings of people's videos + their laughs + mannerisms you never know what tomorrow I will bring + who you won’t have around tomorrow or next week or next month. I always like to bring that up.

I love to be able to go watch videos of my brother. I don't do it often but when I hear his giggle from when he was in high school or early college there's just something so soothing about that because it’s something you don't get to hear anymore. There is such an important nostalgic piece in that. I want you to pay attention the next time you watch an old video. That feeling that you feel.That warm feeling in your chest where you’re like oh god I love that what I would give to relive those feelings again. That is nostalgia.

As far as weddings go it obviously has to be your own preference but you have to consider how fast that day goes. How many different things you’re going to be focused on. How much of the day you’re unable to see because it usually takes place over so many hours + over such a wide span of area. Video within your wedding can give you so many memories to relive that you didn't even know you forgot or you didn't even know you missed because you weren't around.

We are actually in the process of hunting down a videographer for when we redo our vows. Our vows + party will be next fall. We eloped last October + we didn’t tell any of our family until the day before + didn’t tell anybody else until afterward. We said then that we would do a little gathering just so my dad could walk me down the aisle + so Andrew’s mom could have their first dance. Things like that that traditionally still mattered to us even though a lot of tradition doesn’t matter to us. We are going all out + hiring a professional photographer + a professional videographer.

Andrew is definitely the surest about the price of the videographer I was looking into. It’s still probably the videographer we’ll go with but I’m still exploring a few other options. They’re pricey. If you go through different videographer options + you look at the quality of what they created you really do realize that the clique saying of you get what you pay for really is true. There’s a reason that high-quality vendors cost a lot of money + it's because they spent a lot of time perfecting their craft + perfecting their art. They know how to take the time to put in what needs to be put in to get the returns that they want.

I thought it would be a really good note to put in here that yes I understand that videographers + professional photographers are + can be expensive. I always ask my couples + myself is this a time in my life that is valuable enough to me that I want to remember it in the highest quality I can afford. We are redoing our vows at the park across the street from my dad’s house. We are wearing the clothes we wore for our wedding. The most money that will be spent on the event is the money for photography + videography.

We will probably spend a quarter of what we were spending total for photography + videography on our tent + half of that amount on decorations. I want you to know + recognize that what you prioritize you can create space for. I even asked what your payment plans are. I always offer payment plans when people invest in me as a wedding photographer. Those things always exist + you do have a budget to work with. You just have to ask yourself how worth it, it is for you to set that money aside each paycheck. Whether it be $50 or $100 + you forfeit your nails or your coffees. Just different things like that.

I did just want to talk about the fact that we are currently investing in a wedding videographer + we do have video from when we eloped in October. There’s just nothing better than relistening to your vows back. That is something where I can speak from experience. You literally blackout. You don’t black out faint but you don’t remember what you’re saying.

You’ll always have your written vows but there’s nothing that will compare to us being able to relisten back to the sharing of our vows + what our officiant said because he’s one of our best friends. I want you to consider the storytelling + the visual memory piece of that + what it can do for your life. Whether or not you value it or if you should value it or not. You’re going to have all these sorts of memories + things that your brain can’t store at all. We just invest in expensive documentation.

How can I help? I want to end today’s episode talking about ways that you can help yourself + you can help the people who love you have memories of you. I first want to say that my highest recommendation for families + couples who are in that exciting growth phase. Your kids aren’t 12 + 15 yet + can’t stand to be around you. Or 18 + 27 + have their own lives. You’re in that growing budding phase. As a couple, you’re still viewing together + still learning each other.

I think you should personally do photos throughout your entire relationship. There’s nothing that helps you connect more like intimately obviously than connecting intimately on your own. I recommend booking family or couples or empowerment photos yearly. I have so many families, couples, + boudoir clients who return yearly. There is nobody who has ever regretted doing that. If they did decide they didn’t need it they just wouldn’t book the next year but nobody has ever regretted documenting their family, love for themselves, or love for another at each new chapter.

As well as being able to look back on that because of how special. What better way to remember how blessed you are + to relive all the beautiful things. I would also say get in the fucking photo. I have to say that again. Get in the photos! Do not book photos for your child + expect me to not make you get in the last one. It’s got rent to the point where I tell parents even if you think you’re not getting in the photos I would recommend you dress nicely because you’re probably getting thrown in a photo or two.

Your kids deserve that! I can tell you sure I thought pictures of me with my little 1 + a birthday cake were cute but the only pictures I kept were photos of me + my parents because they are who matter. Yes you care about the child’s first birthday photo + they might think it’s cool but they care about you. You are the human connection that they love. Just get in the photo.

Also, I would record everything. There was a full year where I tried to make it a priority to take little video clips of every moment that made me feel at peace, content, or boiling over with love. At the end of the year, I put it together in a video montage. Such a gift to have. If you buy a cheap little camera because you have kids or even if they’re still growing up. Still, record that shit. Technology crashes. Don’t just take everything on your iPhone + expect that your child is going to be able to redeem that lady.

You have to responsibly back it up + do things with that to make sure that is accessible forever. This is why I always tell families once you get your flash drive if you don’t back it up to your computer go put it in your safe so at least you have a flash drive. I’d also recommend getting one of every photo printed + still keep your flash drive as a backup. You can’t trust technology. Hard drives crash all the time. Phones crash all the time. Memories clear out all the time. You don’t want to lose that.

I would also say invest in photos + videos for memories that matter. If you’re someone who loves someone who is getting ready to go through an exciting event + you know they’re financially struggling, I’m not telling you to help them with it or tell them how to live their life, but maybe send them to this episode. I want people to be able to understand that you can’t go back + redo these things. You can’t go back + redo the time when your kids were 5 when they’re 8.

You can’t go back + redo your wedding day if your photographer or videographer doesn’t value what you wanted to have captured. You have to value these things for yourself ahead of time + the one thing I always hear out of my clients is I wish I would’ve done this sooner or I wish I would’ve had my child’s birthday documented because now I would give anything to be able to relive those memories. You just really have to consider for nostalgia's sake. I wouldn’t be able to relive what these moments felt like so I have to document them.

I think you can gather how important it is to me for you, my clients, + the people that I love to document all of the special + precious things in their lives. I really hope that this episode was able to stretch your mind a little bit if you don't value documenting things + finding ways to hold those moments closer to your heart after they start fleeting. If you have any questions about any ways you can do at home documenting for yourself or if you ever have any questions about any types of sessions I offer or any other photographers or videographers that I could recommend please just reach out.

Don’t hesitate. If you enjoyed this episode please leave a review. I love hearing feedback + knowing how you feel about these episodes, how they made you feel, + what they provoked in you. If you’re on Apple podcast please leave a review. Otherwise, you can always follow the links in the show notes Souls Undressed Podcast on Instagram you can go to The Souls Undressed Podcast Community on Facebook. Get in contact with me. I love having conversations with you about these topics. These are definitely things that are close to my heart + I value when they’re close to yours too. Thank you so much for being here. I hope you have a blast. I love you so much.

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