Can I ask you something? What’s keeping you out of photos with your kids? Let me guess – it has something to do with the way you look. I get it. I really do! I use the same excuse. But it’s a lame excuse. Your kids don’t care what you look like. They care that you’re there every day loving on them. Wouldn’t it be nice for them to have photos that show that?
So I’m going to ask you a favor. I want you to make an effort this Mother’s Day to step in front of the camera. It’s not that hard. Really! You just need a few ideas and that’s why I’m here.
I asked a few of my favorite mom bloggers/instagram rock stars to share tips and advice to encourage you to get in more photos with your kids.
First things first though, I want you to silence those voices in your head telling you you’re too heavy or you hate your smile or you’ve got bags under your eyes. Wait, those aren’t the voices in your head? Just mine? Mmmkay.
Check out what some of my favorite mamas on Instagram have to say.
First up is Alyson Owen of @the.owen.life. This sweet mama of 3 does an amazing job of wrangling 3 little ones for photos. She also makes sure to get a picture with each one individually so they have some special time with their mom. Alyson took time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions for me.
What would you tell a mommy friend who was interested in taking better photos of her kids?
“I try to ONLY use natural light. Sometimes it’s hard because it’s a dreary, rainy day or night time, which means you are limited on when you can actually shoot. I try to catch them doing their cute little everyday moments that I never want to forget, and then quietly sneaking upon them and then snapping the photo. Those are the photos that I love the best, just them in the moment. Of course, I do love a good staged photo too, but lets be honest here: those staged photos of kids will put your stress level at its max! Try to capture the real and the raw and make the photo look beautiful.”
How do you include yourself in your photos?
“I try to get in a few photos a week with my kids. I try to switch it up a bit and take an individual photo with each of my kids and also take one with all three of us together. I want them to remember that I was there too and I try to balance out getting in the photo with both of them. I always use the self timer to capture myself in the photos because my husband never takes them as I want them, and it always just ends up in a fight. So, the self timer has been the best thing for me.”
Why are photos important to you as a mom?
“Photos are important to me as a mom because I want to look back and remember the little moments with my children and remember this stage of life. I don’t only want to have memories of the big events like easter, Christmas, birthdays, etc. I want to remember the everyday. The moments that make me so happy. Also, I think it’s sort of a therapeutic thing as a mom too. It is a new found hobby of mine and brings so much peace and joy to my life. It gives me a drive to create and to have fun creating and capturing beautiful moments of my children that I hope to look back upon someday and smile.”
Do you think photography has changed the way you look at or feel about motherhood?
“I believe photography definitely has changed the way I look at motherhood. When I capture the beautiful moments that I never want to forget, it helps me get through those really tough days as a mom. When I have a hard day, I get to look back on all the good moments and remember that the good definitely outweighs the bad times. I also feel like it makes me look for the everyday magic in childhood because I am always looking for those little details that I never want to forget rather than just surpassing it daily. These are the days and I never will forget them because I have plenty of photos to spare.”
Next up is Emily Yewchuk, a lifestyle photographer and mom of 3. Emily inspires me everyday. Her instagram account @yew.photography is filled with beautiful images of her and her children. And the photos are always so creative. Emily has an online course called “Life in Pictures,” where she teaches mom how to photograph their families beautifully. Inside the course there’s a bonus guide on self portraits and here’s just some of the amazing advice.
Think outside the box. You don’t always have to capture a front on portrait of yourself. Just capture your hands holding your babes, or your feet or the back of you, just something to show you existed!
Get ready to delete a lot of images! Don’t be discouraged about the number of images that you immediately delete. Sometimes I’ll have 100 images to go through and only keep two or three…especially if children were included! Everyone makes funny expressions, and body parts don’t always look right, especially if you’re posing yourself with no one directing you, but if the end result is one image that you love that YOU ARE IN, then it’s all worth it!
Photograph the moments that mean the most to you, that you want to remember. For me it’s how my babies feel in my arms after bath time. Make sure you capture all the little moments, reading stories, putting lotion on their soft skin, cuddling, feeding, nursing etc.
Ask for help. My husband would never think to take a sweet portrait of me and my kids unless asked. Sometimes if I have a concept in my mind that would be tricky to achieve on my own, I will get everything set up in place, set the camera settings exactly how I want them, and then I will hand my camera to my husband (could be a friend, sister, mother etc) and tell him exactly where to stand where exactly to put the little focus square and what button to press. The whole process is 3 minutes for him. By removing all the guesswork of this activity he doesn’t mind helping and it produces the image I want because I’ve done all the prep and planning. This image was captured with the help of my husband, directing everything 🙂
Have fun and practice practice practice! You’ll get so much better at it the more you do it! It will also start to be quicker and less of a ‘thing’ the more you do it. I adore having lots of images of my kids to choose from when building our photo books or hanging our photos on the wall. And as the years go by these images become more and more valuable to me, as they will you.”
Next up is Kasia with @motherlandblog. This mama of 2 does a beautiful job of capturing the everyday. Whether it’s breastfeeding her baby or making silly faces with her toddler. Like most of us, she has a hard time getting in front of the camera.
“I honestly struggled with it for so long also, but decided I wanted to be in the frame because I want my girls to remember me being there too! I realized I took so many pictures of them and my husband and I often wasn’t in a single one! I started even just taking selfies and then moved to using a tripod and a remote timer to try and capture those moments! My husband very rarely takes my photos so it’s just me and the tripod! I usually try and think about what kind of photo I want and then plan for how to best capture it. I’ve taped up my phone to the ceiling to get a top down shot or perched it on a tripod out in front of our garage. One final thing I’ll add is that at the end of the day, I like to capture these images so my daughters will have something to look back on. It’s not just for an IG post for me, I really do appreciate the memories they’ll create.”
Valerie from @chasing_nostalgia is a girl mom who shows up all the time on Instagram. She shared her favorite editing apps to give your photos a boost.
“I love taking photos. It’s a way for me to express my creativity while also preserving precious memories of my girls. I keep it simple and easy by taking photos with my iPhone. I use A Color Story app and the Lightroom app to edit my photos to give them a nice pop of color. The simplest photos to get of my girls is when they are just playing. The candid ones are really the best and most meaningful to me.”
Jenna from @rootedjoy is another photographer mama who feels being in photos is important.
“Being in photos with my little ones is important to me because, I feel like there’s not enough of my mom and I when I was little. She has so many photos of us and my sisters, but very rare that she is in any. I love to see how she looked when I was little. Her hair, outfits, smile, etc. The earliest I remember my mom I was probably 13 years old. I honestly can’t describe how she looked any younger. I hope my girls will appreciate the photos of me with them and can see how much I loved them when they were little.
I’m in the frame a decent amount on my camera roll. Do I post those? No. The other day I snapped a picture of my daughter sleeping while her nose was touching mine. She always falls asleep with her hand on our face and it’s just the sweetest. Did I have 3 chins with no makeup? Yes. Will she notice that when she looks back on? Nope. It was a really special moment that I want to look back at. I make my children photobooks online that they will have when they’re older and all of those unfiltered photos are always included.
Honestly, I just flip my camera and frame it up and snap a few. I like snapping a few because Isla’s face changes so much in each image and it’s hilarious to see. I need to get my big camera out more and take more portraits with them. Some of my favorites are ones my husband takes of us where we are looking at each other, laughing and kissing. I feel awkward to always smile right at the camera sometimes.”
Abbie Orr from @ourorrdinarydays is “journaling her life through photos.” She’s making sure to include herself in her family’s story. Otherwise it’s not complete.
“Get a tripod for your camera! DSLR or iPhone! Either way it really helps. It’s one way I have gotten myself into photos. On top of asking hubby to snap shots on occasion. Also just occasionally snapping a selfie whether I am by myself or with my girls. Sometimes those random/in the moment photos end up being my favorite.”
I hope these mamas have inspired you to take action this Mother’s Day! I’d love to see how you get in a photo with your kids. Head over to instagram and post a photo! Use the hashtag #moms_getinthepicture to share and encourage and other mamas! And feel free to tag me @stacymaeandco.