Make this the year you are in your family photos

mewill-3Do you hate being in front of the camera because you haven’t lost the baby weight? Perhaps you’ve always felt that you aren’t photogenic or maybe you feel awkward posing and smiling for the camera. Whatever your excuse may be, drop it. I say that with lots of love. There are a lot of things we sacrifice for our children, and your camera-anxiety should be one of them. Why? Because children deserve to have childhood memories with parents in them. It’s time to get in your family photos!

Make this the year you are in your family photos–because you were there too!

I love this photo of my dad. Seeing him young and excited to show me the world really brings us closer. Now that I'm a mother, I get just how amazing it is to expose your children to the beauty of life.

I love this photo of my dad. Seeing him young and excited to show me the world really brings us closer. Now that I’m a mother, I totally know that amazing feeling showing your children the beauty of life.

You want to capture these moments while they’re still small and squishy and generally happy all the time. So you take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures! But wait. You’re always behind the camera! Sure you’ll have these pictures to look back on and enjoy. But when they look at these pictures down the road, they’ll only see themselves or themselves with the other parent!

My father was usually the one taking photos when I was little. Since I’m the first-born, I also had the most photos taken of me in my first 4 years of life than all my siblings combined! I’ve seen the cases of old-school projector slides filled with pictures of just me! I love looking at them, seeing how my mom dressed, where we lived, the outfits I wore, the toys I played with, what my first home looked like–but my most cherished photos are the ones with my parents holding/playing with/cuddling/kissing me.

In my portrait sessions, I often encounter parents that shy away from the camera and prefer me to focus on the kids. When I notice this happening, I encourage them to get back in the frame by keeping the session vibe relaxed and fun. My sessions don’t involve a lot of posing since my aim is to capture real moments between the family members. I gently push them to play, tickle, chase, and do anything that they know makes the kids laugh and have fun. The great thing about this is that laughter is contagious. There is no way a parent can resist laughing when they are seeing and hearing their children laugh. It works the other way around too! Plus, I let parents know that I take LOTS of photos, which means I’ll have plenty to choose from, and of course will keep only the flattering ones.

I love this photo because I now fully understand this tender glance from my mother. I look at my son with this same glance now and it’s really a treasure to see how the love is passed on from generation to generation, mother to child, family to family.

I’m always the one taking photos of my son, or husband and son together. Consequently, I’m rarely in them (unless I break out my tripod). My resolution this year is to be in the photos with my son more often. Even if it means having to sit my camera down somewhere and use the timer or remote. Even if it means investing in professional family photos. Even if it means taking those extra two minutes to take out my tripod and set it up. Even if it means handing my camera to my husband and hoping he gets a shot I look good in. Hey, at least it shows I was there too.

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