‘Say Cheese!’

It takes a lot of energy to snap a keeper.

The infant was swaddled in a cream-colored fleece blanket with blue trim around the edges. His eyes closed as he dozed off, completely oblivious to the outside world, much less the camera pointed his way. He let out a small yawn as his forehead and nose crinkled up – SNAP. Got it. No question, that one’s a keeper.

Years ago, Kodak aired this tear-jerker ad about capturing the moments of our lives through photography, and it’s really true. Technologies have changed, yet we value the ability to freeze moments in time – from the silly to the sublime. Natural gas and oil support the preserving of great memories through photos, with the materials in the cameras in our phones and components in a professional model digital single lens reflex (DSLR) – from selfies to formal studio sessions.

The newborn was so quiet and peaceful, unlike most of the other babies brought into her photography studio. She has a few tricks up her sleeve to help calm fussy infants long enough to get a few shots, but fortunately, there was no need this time.

She loved every minute of it, though. It didn’t matter if she was at an event taking the same candid shot over and over, in her studio with a screaming baby, or simply taking a selfie with her best friend, as long as she had a camera in her hand she was happy. She was doing her dream job every day.

It all started her junior year of high school when she chose photography as an elective. Her teacher, Mr. Greene, showed her the basics. She learned about the importance of lighting and framing a picture, but more importantly, she learned about photography as art.

More than 1 billion digital cameras – made with natural gas and oil – have been sold across the world since 2003.

About 1.2 trillion digital photos were taken in 2017 using smartphones, made with petroleum-based plastics and internal components from natural gas.

Professional photographers in the U.S. number nearly 150,000, according to government data.

Since those early days in a small, cluttered high school classroom, she had her eyes set on one goal – to take photos that mattered. Emotions and stories are universal. Being able to preserve them to share later with family, friends and even complete strangers helps bring everyone together. She loved that.

Over the years, she went through more cameras and equipment than she could count. Some were forcibly retired due to overuse or accidents where they were damaged beyond repair. Some were traded in for newer models.

Now she owns her own studio, filled with a smorgasbord of gadgets, toys, feathers and fans. She dabbles in a bit of everything – weddings, engagements, graduations, pregnancy announcements, newborn photos.

Was she the next Annie Leibovitz or Ansell Adams? No, not by a long shot. But that didn’t make her work any less valuable. The photos she took preserved memories for hundreds, maybe even thousands of people. Just look at the family in her studio now: a young couple celebrating the birth of their baby boy. These photos would forever remind them of when he entered their lives – when they became a family.

The little bundle of joy began to squirm in his cocoon, almost like he knew they were done. She let his mother know she’d gotten the last shot. She quickly scooped up her treasure, nuzzling him against her chest. As he settled back into slumber, she gave the parents a sneak peek at some of the moments she’d captured of their boy. Their answering smiles told her that she’d made their hopes a reality.

Natural gas and oil: Powering the moments that matter.