I was recently putting together a photobook of my son’s first year. It didn’t take long for me to realize that someone was missing from many of the pictures…. ME!!! There were lots of pictures of my husband, lots of family and friends, but I was only in a couple photos. This made me sad because I was with my son 90% of the time and yet there is barely any photographic evidence that I was even there. I’m pretty sure I can guess the reason that I was MIA in most pictures. I imagine that when the opportunities arose to smile for the camera I was probably feeling ugly or felt like I was still carrying too much baby weight. Maybe I had not put on makeup yet or I didn’t like what I was wearing.
It’s unfortunate because one day when my son is older he will look back at the pictures and wonder where his mama was. Personally, especially as an adult, I cherish all the photos of me with my mother. Looking back, I’ve never once thought that she didn’t look absolutely beautiful or criticize what she was wearing (I may have giggled at her 80’s style perm, but even she laughs at that). So, now I emphasize to every mother who will listen the importance of being in photos with your kids because you were there too!
Not sure where to begin? Here are some tips:
Very often we want to look perfect or create the perfect setting for photos, but remind yourself that just recording the moment is what’s most important. All too often we think that we’ll remember a certain event, but as time goes on, it’s so easy to forget. Take some selfies either with your digital camera or your phone. Smartphones are getting better and better at taking high quality photos. Plus digital cameras allow you to take as many photos as you like, so feel free to take lots of keep the ones you like best.
Remember that this is for your children and they don’t care what you look like. When they grow older they will simply want photos that include you.
Somewhere between diaper changes, naps, play dates, and laundry you might feel energized enough to take some time to set up a little photo session of your own. Try some self-portraits in your home. This is normally done with a tripod, but if you don’t have one find a spot to prop up your camera, like a stack of books (just be careful they don’t fall over taking your camera down with them). If you have a remote trigger for your camera, that will make things easiest, however simply using the timer option will also work just fine.
Find a spot where the lighting is good, probably a room with a big window, and set up your camera. Then have fun! Cuddle, tickle, or read a story, whatever you feel like.
Just before my son and I started planting some seeds, I set up my tripod. For these images I used the self-timer which required lots of back and forth, but the images are worth the work.
It’s often as simple as just asking someone. I’ve never met someone, not even a stranger, who has refused to snap a quick picture for me. In many cases I will ask my husband to take the picture. This often involves me explaining to him how to use my camera, followed by multiple attempts to get the shot where my head isn’t cut out of the frame, however at least in the end I’m in the photo –which is the important part!
You might want to invest in a professional photographer who can take beautiful images of you and your family. As a photographer, I get emails all the time from parents saying that they don’t have any nice photos of their children who are growing up so fast. I love to provide my clients with candid, emotion-filled images that reflect their personality.
Every year I get my family photos professionally done and I always ensure that there’s lots of images of just me and my son. Photo credit: Erin Lester Photography.
Time starts to pass by quickly once your days are filled with daycare, sports, activities…did I mention the laundry?! You blink and suddenly your teeny-tiny newborn is asking to borrow your car. That’s why you should try to make a conscious effort to take a photo at least once a week (hopefully, with you in it). In this digital world of photos you can take as many pictures as you want, essentially, for free, so there’s no excuse for a lack of photos.
All that being said, the one thing I must insist on is that you back up your photos (sometimes even on multiple devices). Imagine how horrible you would feel if your computer crashed and you lost all your photographic family memories. I have an external hard drive that I use to back up my photos and I’m starting to look into cloud storage for extra peace of mind. My final advice is to print your photos. It’s great to share your memories on social media, but it’s also so important to fill your home with the people that you love. In fact, studies have shown that children who are exposed to printed photos of themselves showed a significant increase in self-esteem behaviours.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get in those photos!!
Send Kristy a message at info@KristyChapmanPhotography.com or visit her website