Not to sound too morbid right off the bat, but none of us know how much time we have with our kids.
Our love for them, and theirs for us, is one of the most profound feelings we’ll ever experience in our lives.
That alone is worth documenting, and more than enough reason for us to appear in their childhood photos.
So what’s stopping us?
First, can we agree that mothers are a notoriously self-critical group of people? (Hello, “mom guilt!”)
We sometimes feel like we don’t look our best – whether it’s because our bodies aren’t the same as they were before having children, or simply because we haven’t had time to shower that day. Those feelings are valid and totally understandable considering society’s standards for women… But still…
It’s important to be in the photos anyway.
Your child probably won’t notice your messy hair, worn leggings, or tired eyes. But your absence WILL speak volumes. These photos, after all, are the story of their childhood. And wouldn’t you agree that you’re a pretty big part of that?
So how can we overcome these obstacles and create the habit of routinely getting mom in the photo?
Keeping things in perspective and making the internal decision that this is something that’s important to you, really is the first step. Though this is a mindset shift not an external action, it’s the best place to start.
Once you start thinking about your kids and what these images will mean to them one day, it becomes easier to put your insecurities aside for a moment for the greater good.
Kids grow quickly and everything changes as they do, so this is your chance to capture these fleeting moments.
Now this is the first actionable tip.
Just do it, go ahead and try it even if it’s hard. Get in the frame, mama. The practice of showing up even when we’re not comfortable trains us to become more comfortable in the future. Start with action and your confidence will follow.
I’ve always been incredibly self-conscious and, even as a child, hid behind the camera. But once I became a parent, I decided that being part of my kids’ story was far more important than being comfortable. And now I’ve gotten in the habit of sneaking in some self-portraits as I document my family life. And the more I do it, the easier it gets.
The simplest way to designate a family photographer is by hiring a professional. Surely, you already have thousands of photos of your kids, but when you hire a photographer, you’re making the statement: I am worthy of family photos. My kids and I deserve photos of all of us together.
Getting professional family photos is the kind of thing you’ll never regret. In fact, the most common sentiment I hear is, “I wish I’d done it sooner.”
If you’re considering family photos, then take this as your sign to just go for it!
If you’re inspired to start looking for a professional photographer, start with Finding the Right Photographer. This will help you find the best fit for your family.
Another alternative is to take your own family photos. The most obvious option is to use the smartphone you already have and just extend that arm!
If you want to get fancy, you can prop it up somewhere and use the timer. And for those overachievers out there, bring out your own camera and tripod, if you have one, and set up interval shooting so you can interact with your family while the camera does all the work.
Check out my blog post on How To Take Stunning Newborn Photos on Your iPhone for more tips.
Or if you’re interested in learning more about taking self-portraits with your big camera, I highly recommend the course The Magician’s Cape. It had a profound effect on my own attitude in appearing in photographs with my children, and helped me figure out new and creative techniques to do so.
This is another habit-forming tip. Start by telling your partner your intentions then asking for their help. It can sound something like, “I’ve decided it’s important to me to be in more photos with the kids. Can I count on your to take some, on occasion?”
This is a conversation I had with my husband that was tremendously helpful. First, because stating my intentions out loud made it more likely that I would carry out the task. I was now accountable to someone.
Secondly, it allowed me to have photos where I was interacting with my kids rather than just cheesy photos of all of us looking at the camera with forced smiles.
However you decide to get in the photos with your kids, what matters is your commitment to doing so. Your kids won’t care how you look – and in time, neither will you.
So much of the work we do as parents is invisible. Behind the scenes. But it’s the crux of being a parent: changing diapers, preparing meals, cleaning up the house, driving them around, etc.
Let’s not let ourselves be invisible in the story of their childhood. We’re much to important to them for that.
If you’re local to LA and interested in learning more about what it would be like to work with me, fill out the form below!
©marjorie cohen photography | los angeles photographer