One of the biggest tips I always suggest to fellow parents is to take pictures of their tiny babies – as frequently as they can. If you have ever checked out my Instagram feed, you’ll see that I practice this habit quite frequently.
Taking pictures of my little lad when he was a tiny baby battling wretched colic helped me greatly. I wish I could say it kept me sane, but I’ve already told you that I ended up being diagnosed with severe postpartum depression. One of the ways I healed was through photography.
I told myself that the memories of screaming fits, sleepless nights, and tear streaked faces would become a blurry memory one day. I also told myself, that if I photographed the GOOD times, the happy times, the precious times and the milestones – that THOSE would be remembered much more.
Those are the photographs that I can pass down to my children, and I am so thankful that I decided to up my photography game. I have continued to take a great deal of photos of my children, and now have two beautiful babies to photograph.
But I’ve given myself a new challenge this year, not only to document my kids, but to start taking pictures of myself more as well.
Many moms, or parents in general, forget to get in pictures themselves. Mostly because they are the ones with the camera in hand. A lot of parents I know purchased a fancy DLSR camera around the time their first child was born, kinda learned how to use it, and usually just take pictures of their adorable child.
If I am taking pictures for not only myself, but also as treasures that I can give to my children one day, then I better start getting in the frame! I want to be remembered too, and I want to have them look back on these photos and see my smile, and see the memories we created TOGETHER.
So how does one accomplish this?
Well let me share with you, my 10 Tips to get MOM in the PICTURE.
1. BREAK DOWN YOUR BARRIERS
A lot of people, myself included, have actually not been photographed on PURPOSE, because we haven’t been happy with our appearance.
I’ve been disappointed with how much my body has changed. I’m 30 pounds, yes THIRTY pounds heavier than I was before I became pregnant with my first child. There are parts of my body that I truly don’t want to look at. I’ve also earned several stretch marks from my pregnancies that have made me fear bathing suit season and pictures at the beach.
So for a while, I stopped being in photographs. I didn’t want to see myself and be ashamed.
But I recently realized that my children will think I’m beautiful no matter what, and I needed to overcome my barriers and get in the picture more often.
I’ve made steps to embrace my beauty, and feel more self confident. I went out and got my hair cut and greys colored. I purchased a couple of new tops that fit me properly and made me feel confident.
I’d encourage you to do the same, to break down your barriers and feel more comfortable in photographs. If it means you will get in more photographs, then do it! If you’re not happy with your stretch marks, for example, maybe try out a product like Mederma® products, which are the premiere scar and stretch mark treatment solutions. Their products are specially formulated to smooth and soften skin, as well as diminish discoloration.
I have picked up the Mederma® Stretch Marks Therapy at Walmart, because my stretch marks are actually on the tops of my thighs, and I have been incredibly nervous about beach season. Mederma® is the #1 pharmacist-recommended brand for stretch marks, and I’ve heard that others have had great success with their products, and that the stretch mark therapy has reduced the appearance of the stretch marks.
I know I am going to want to be in the pictures at the beach with my kiddos, so I’m going to take the photos, no matter what. And if something like a stretch mark treatment can help me feel more confident, then by golly, I am going to try it!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not mad that I have stretch marks, I know that they can be beautiful reminders of how unbelievably amazing my body is for growing and birthing two amazing babies — I’m just saying that I might want to see a little less of them when I’m at the beach this summer 🙂
*Another fun tip — is that kids can help hide the spots you aren’t too thrilled about. I’m not a big fan of my mid-section right now, but when I hold my toddler or baby on my hip, they help cover up my belly! Ta-da!
2. ASK FOR HELP
Ask your partner, friend, or stranger take a photo of you. I’ve done this countless times, and just have handed my iPhone or camera off to a friend. This is sometimes the easiest way to make sure you are in the picture with your kids.
Another awesome idea that I’ve recently heard about is a play date photo swap — I’ll take your picture, you take mine! Maybe you want to have photos taken of you and your family during your child’s birthday party — ask a friend of yours who takes nice photos of her kids to capture several photos during the celebration, and offer to do the same for her! Or, have a play date at a beautiful park and take picture of each other’s families! (If you’re like me, just make sure to pack a pack n’ play or stroller to strap your kids into! My kid is a runner, and if I turn my back on him to snap photos, he’ll be off trying to find cows and horses!)
Some of my favorite photos with my kids have just been a selfie, but doing a selfie with one kid was a lot easier than with two!
I haven’t yet utilized a selfie stick with my kiddos yet, but that’s going to be the next thing I do — since the selfie stick is so small and portable. I think I’m going to just throw it in my stroller and keep it there for adventures at the park!
Self timers are on fancy DSLR cameras as well as smart phones. The biggest thing that you need to do is prop your camera up – ideally with a tripod – and frame your shot. I have found self timers to be a great help when we have had large family photos during the holidays. Grandma and Grandpa can hold my little ones while I finagle the camera, and by the time I push the button, everyone else is in place. I love the beeps that the camera makes to warn everyone – especially the kids – that we need to look at the camera.
*I’d highly recommend that you have your self timer camera take up to 10 shots, so that you don’t have to keep running back and forth. We all know that people – especially kids – can be tough for the camera. If you have your camera snap SEVERAL photos, your likelihood of having a stellar picture is greater.
5. USE A REMOTE
You know all of those fancy fashion instagrammers? The ones always standing in front of a brick wall?
Well they don’t always have an instagram husband, friend, or photographer holding their camera. A lot of times, they are utilizing a remote, and are snapping photos of themselves.
Smartphone users can easily pick up a remote online – they just fit in your hand and use bluetooth to speak to your smartphone. Also, if you have an iPhone and an Apple Watch, your watch actually can act as a remote! I like using my Apple Watch over a bluetooth remote for my iPhone photos because I can actually see the picture on my watch ahead of time, and can be assured that I am framed correctly.
If you have a DSLR camera, I would 100% recommend that you purchase a remote – most are less than $20, and WELL worth it!
A DSLR remote might seem a bit high tech, but I assure you, it’s not.
All you need to do to use the remote is:
- turn on the remote function on your camera – it is generally in the same setting area as the self timer
- put your camera on the tripod
- frame your shot
- then just click your remote! It’s as simple as that!
There are some that have wires attached to your camera, and others that are wireless. I like the wireless ones because I’m always afraid my kids will get tangled, or chew on, the wires.
6. SMILE AND MEAN IT
Try to capture yourself and your kids when you’re doing something silly or funny!
Even just take a photo of you smiling — the kids LOVE to see parents smile! I actually am making my son a laminated book of pictures of myself and other members of the family smiling – with our names so he can learn his letters. Think outside of the box about how you can utilize these photos so your kids can see them NOW.
7. THE GOLDEN HOUR
Most people encourage photographers to utilize the golden hour – the hour or two before the sun is fully up or down. The problem with this is that the second golden hour is dinner and bath time.
But on the flip side, my kids are up at the crack of dawn anyway, so we get to utilize the earlier golden hour. Everyone is well rested, in a great mood, and the sun isn’t blaring in our eyes! Perfection!
8. INVEST IN PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS
I really want to encourage you to start saving for some professional photos, where you and your whole family can be highlighted. Yes, it can be a big investment, but I promise you it will be well worth it. Make it a point to get some printed, and hung in your house, and framed in you and your children’s rooms. These are going to be physical memories you will cherish for the rest of your lives.
For these photos, you’ll want to plan and save. Go on Pinterest and pick out what poses, outfits, scenes you like best, and find a local photographer who’s work you really enjoy.
9. GET THE KIDS INVOLVED
Now, on regular days, when you’re not having professional photos taken, get the kiddos involved! Let them be the photographer 🙂
Give your child your smartphone if it’s in a safe case, or let your child press the remote! Buttons are incredibly fun to toddlers – and they will have a blast pressing the remote and hearing the shutter snap!
As your kids grow older, get them more involved in the process. Have them help carry the tripod, or pick the spot that the photo will be taken.
10. MIX THINGS UP
Choose your setting – do you want it to be a real life mess, or would you like it to look tidy?
Take pictures of things you do throughout the day – not just the fancy staged times!
Be doing something fun so that your children will be willing to be photographed — plus it will make the photo fun and authentic!
And above all else — enjoy it!
So I’ll encourage you to find ways to get in the picture this spring! I’d love to hear ways that you help get in the picture more frequently – so please share your tips below 🙂
Talk soon friends!
You can find the Mederma® products I mentioned earlier at your local Walmart, and learn more about the product by visiting them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.