We all love pictures of our children. They are our pride and joy. We love watching them grow and develop and we like to celebrate the mini-milestones that they make. Most likely we are journalling both these big and little events with our phones or cameras, but where do you see yourself in those pictures?
Would your children know you were there too if they pulled out the family album in 5, 10, 20 or maybe 40 years time? Could they see all the things that you did with them, because you were in the same picture with them?
I shared some of my own challenges in getting in front of the camera, and also the emotional value that photographs give to ourselves and for our children in Part 1: You, Your photos, Your legacy. I honestly don’t think I am alone when I say that some of those insecurities have impacted on the way we get to be in the picture of our family photos.
Also, being busy parents and in the midst of having fun with your little ones, it’s easy to forget to handover your camera to someone else, so you can have a record of that moment, that memory, that reminds you of that day long after the activity is over.
So what can you do about it? You can change the way you look so it makes you feel better about yourself and in turn be less afraid to be in your pictures. OR you could embrace the fun ideas I have for you and show you some examples of how to be in your photographs that will make you genuinely smile afterwards.
I also promise you that your children will love you the way you are and be thankful for these pictures capturing the fun memories you have together and seeing their mum or dad with them.
LET’S GET STARTED
1. Get a remote trigger
Firstly, you don’t need a fancy camera to have pictures with your children. Although it might make it easier to prop up your camera than the phone when you take self-portraits with them or if you don’t have your partner around to help take a picture.
I prefer not to use a tripod as my children move too quickly from one action to the next to make the effort of setting it all up. Instead, I’d just place my camera on a chair, table or something that is sturdy and adjust the direction my camera is pointing in to where the activity is taking place.
The thing that has made doing my self-portraits easier and was the best photography kit I ever got, second to my dslr camera, was a set of remote triggers for firing the shutter on my camera. I got mine off Amazon and was relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use. The remote trigger helps avoid you having to run back and forth to get the camera ready to take the next picture. It also helps prevent blur as your camera sets focus only when you are positioned and ready to press the button.
The great part is if you hand your child the trigger he or she will happily click away on it, which makes it fun for them to be in the pictures with you and also generate some laughs too.
2. Get creative — go for a documentary approach
Throw away your reservations of being in your photos, because you have to smile or look at the camera. You don’t! There are lots of different perspectives you can create in capturing candid pictures of yourself with your little one without even showing your face. Also, look at Self Portraits of Motherhood for some further inspiration.
Here are some of my own ideas you could try out:
Use a mirror in your home.
Lift photos make for fun places to capture a reflection shot when you’re out and about. Try this when you’re in a department store or the lift elevator in the multi-storey car park.
Ideally captured when the sun is low (like sunset) to give you the long shadows. You can either run off into the distance towards the sunset and have a lovely long shadow behind you, as in the first picture.
Or you can have the sun behind you to have the shadow be in front of you.
You can get your family in all the photos if you want to and make all sorts of funny poses for the camera without actually posing or smiling into it!
Capture the details
Close-up shots where you have some part of your body in the picture is another way to show you were there without needing to show your face. If you’re wearing a piece of jewellery or clothing that makes it recognisable in the photos it’s you, then that’s enough to say you were present in the photos too.
3. Document your normal everyday
Whether you are brushing your child’s teeth in the morning, having a tickle or a cuddle, reading them a bedtime story, playing games or building craft kits together, make sure to get those all important memories of those ordinary moments. It gives yourself a visual record of how you lived before your children grows up and leave home.
4. Carry your camera around everywhere
If you feel brave enough in taking your camera out in public places you could try to take some pictures of you in your everyday outdoor places. Even a trip to the coffee shop or the local garden centre can be fun adventures for you and your littles. Get a record of that too.
Having a camera with you most of the time also means if you spot an opportunity that makes for nice pictures, then you will have something at hand to capture the moment on. You can remain discreet if you want with a camera phone too.
5. Being present is enough
Often we feel that getting everyone in the shot is a massive undertaking and can be pretty stressful, especially if your child or children do not want to be in the picture. We may try bribes to get them to stand for ten-seconds to get the pictures only perhaps to be disappointed that they have pulled a funny face or weren’t looking when the camera fired the shutter.
Let kids be kids.
Letting kids do what comes naturally to them and in turn becomes less stressful for you makes for more natural and relaxed pictures. You can still have that picture with you and the children in the frame, albeit a slightly different and more interesting picture.
This photo was taken on our holiday in Dubrovnik, Croatia. We were in the outside cloisters of the Dominican Monastery. The boys wanted to explore the well in the courtyard garden, whilst I enjoyed the peaceful surroundings of this beautiful place.
6. Hire a photographer
Lastly, if you don’t feel brave enough or prefer to let someone take the hassle of taking the pictures, while also creating some beautiful photographs, then consider hiring a professional photographer to do it for you. The benefit to you is that you’ll get to be fully present and engaged with your family in your photographs.
Hiring a documentary photographer, like myself, who will happily capture you and your family as you go about your everyday life or spend time in your favourite location also means that we photograph you in your own environment. Somewhere that makes you feel relaxed and comfortable, and also means something special to you. You’ll have so much fun in these sessions that you might even forget you are being photographed.
At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun and relaxed pictures that you will enjoy looking back with your children through your very own personal family albums.
Hope you enjoyed reading this article. Leave me a comment below with how you like to spend time with your children. Get in touch with me to book your family session and let me help you make beautiful photographs to cherish forever.