When I was little, one of my all time favourite things to do on wet weekend was get out all the family photos.
And missing, in nearly all of these photos, is my mum. She occasionally showed up, usually with me or my sister on her knee, sometimes laughing with friends, and mostly looking happy. But mostly our family photos are of my sister, me, and my dad. We have about as many photos of television aerials as we do of my mum (this is weird, even though he sells aerials for a living!).
Photos Will Send You Back in Time
My dad has always been something of an early adopter, and although he was never “into photography” we always had a decent camera. I loved thumbing through old shoe boxes full of photos – from 6x4s printed at Snappy Snaps, to the black and white squares from my grandparents’ box brownie. Our own family photos are mixed bag – a blur of turtlenecks, shell suits and extreme close ups of my mum’s finger, interspersed with some moments that stick out in my memory as happy times.
You Should Feature, For Yourself and Your Kids
As a mum myself, I’m mostly absent from my own family photos. Firstly, I’m the one with the camera. It goes with the territory! I’m the one who takes photos and edits them to my liking. My husband is pretty nifty taking photos with his phone, but I guess I’m the one who worries more about time passing, the one who wants to capture all the details of our lives before they change and moments are gone.
You Are Not Alone
As a family photographer I encounter many families with mums who are reluctant to get in front of the camera. As a mum, I know the struggle is real. I’m still carrying baby weight, and she’s now a toddler. I am pale, my brows haven’t woken up to the concept of fleek, and despite my baby now being two, I still have baby weight to lose.
But my kids? They don’t care about those things. Neither should I! I should be in the moment, enjoying life with them. My husband tells me to pose, but some of the best photos I’ve taken of him with the kids are totally spontaneous. As soon as someone tells me to pose I get stiff and uncomfortable.
The (posing) elephant in the room
The best workaround for stiff posing is no posing. No grinning at the camera. Make use of angles to exclude unwanted details from the frame, and focus on the parts of the scene that really matter. A photo of a mum and her baby looking into each others eyes means so much more than a mum looking at the camera while holding her baby.
Step Away From Selfie Mode
Aside from the few photos my husband has taken, most of the photos I have of me with my kids are selfies. And due to having two small kids both with very different albeit very urgent needs, they’re almost all blurry. I want to be in their lives. I need photos of me in their lives, for their memories as much as mine. I don’t want to be the person forever behind the scenes.
Come on, dads. Pick up the bloody camera. Or better yet, book a professional who can put you at ease about the entire thing.
Email me at email@example.com to discuss a relaxed, unposed family photography session this winter.