This year I started two 52 week photography projects, one with more intentional photographs and portraits of my little man and one a series of self-portraits. But I’ve realized this week that if I just take pictures of him and pictures of me, our story is incomplete. There need to be pictures of US.
As the one behind the lens, I know it takes a little effort to get in front of the camera in and the frame. It’s easy to be self-conscious about how we look. It’s easy to make excuses about how we don’t have the right tools or know how to work the camera. It’s easy to just put it off and forget about it. It’s easy to say we don’t have time.
But just as your kids grow and change so quickly, so do you. And it’s just as important to capture your story and the story of the connection you have with your children. Tracey Clark gets it spot on in Elevate the Everyday when she writes:
Every photo of you with your children will be a precious and priceless gift for them in the future. …There is no more valuable photograph in any collection than a mother with her child. Not a single one.
So it’s actually not that hard to get in the picture. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Don’t have a fancy camera? Not a problem.
If you’ve got an iPhone it’s a simple as using the forward facing camera. I’m not a fan of the forward facing camera’s low resolution so will turn the phone around and use the main camera with the technique I mentioned in this post. If you want to give yourself a little more flexibility, you can also install one of the camera apps such Camera+ or ProCamera. Both have a self-timer feature which is super easy to use. All you need is a steady surface on which to rest the phone.
Learn to Use Your Camera’s Self-Timer
If you do have a fancier camera like a DSLR (or even a point and shoot), they will have a self-timer. Dig out your camera manual and learn how to use it. This is not hard. It will probably take you more time to find the manual than to actually figure out how to use timer. Some cameras have a fixed time delay, others will let you adjust the delay but they all work on the same principle.
- Rest your camera on a steady surface. Could be a tripod, could be the floor, a stack of books, a shelf, whatever. For this shot, my camera was simply sitting on top of the TV cabinet in the living room.
- Frame your shot and focus. On my camera, after I’ve focused I will set my camera to manual focus so that it doesn’t try to re-focus the shot when I push the shutter. Depending on your camera and how you’ve composed your shot, you may not need to do this.
- Press the shutter to take the picture.
- Run out from behind the camera, get in the shot you’ve composed, and then watch the blinking light until it snaps the picture.
And viola! Just like that you’ve started capturing memories that tell the story of you. And if you’re not going to tell it and document it for future generations, who will?
So this is my story this week. The everyday me with the baggy sweater, the jeans with holes, no makeup, glasses on top of my head. Spending a day at home playing silly games with my sick child.
What’s your story this week? Why not capture it in pictures?