Through my work photographing families, one theme is largely clear to me… Mums are largely overly critical of the way they look. As such they shy away from getting in the frame. It’s so sad for our kids. So here are my top five reasons why you need to be in photos for your family.
I have so many Mums get in touch interested in photo shoots they often come with caveats like “of course I need to get a haircut first” or “but only after I lose weight” and so on.
And it makes me really sad that we’re all so hard on ourselves.
Here are my five top reasons why, as Mums, we need to get ourselves in the family photos
1. Kids don’t care about your appearance in photos
Your kids will remember how you made them feel. How you were their top cheerleader and cuddled them when they woke from bad dreams, how you kissed scraped knees better and consoled them as first loves went wrong. Grey hairs, wrinkles or bingo wings don’t alter these memories a jot. And not once have I looked at my childhood photos and even noticed my Mum’s appearance (past the 1980s outfits that is!)
I have one family who I photograph regularly who only has photos of the kids taken because she feels she is too overweight to appear in photos. Every year I try and persuade her otherwise. And I’ll keep fighting this fight with every Mum who puts herself down!
2. Don’t be the ghost in your family photos
There is always one parent that seems to shy away from being in photos, or is always the one taking them. I think, as parents, we owe it to our children to document their childhoods and show that we were active parts in their lives. Don’t be the ghost in your family photos!
You are a super hero for raising another human. Being a Mum is hard work and you should fly that superhero cape loud and proud. Show up in your photos and celebrate yourself and your amazing family. Commemorate the fun you have together and the brilliant person you are helping to shape.
3. Time is fleeting – don’t miss out on getting in the frame
The days are long but the years are short. Never have truer words been spoken when it comes to parenting! The time seems to race by and it’s only when you have photos to look back on that you realise how much your little people have grown and changed. My yearly albums are some of my most precious possessions – seeing my son everyday I’m never aware of the incremental changes in his appearance, but looking back on photos from 6 months or a few years ago takes me on a wonderful stroll down memory lane.
I would never be without those memories, preserved for me, but also for my son to have for his future.
4. Your everyday is worth capturing in photo form
I know that a lot of people don’t think their life is picture perfect enough to bother having professional photos taken, but I strongly feel that the normal of our everyday is what makes photos shine. Photos of everyday life and normal day-to-day activities that show the relationships between your family will probably become even more treasured photos than posed photos that merely show how you looked.
Consider documentary photoshoots like Day In The Life sessions, which I adore photographing, that show how your family really was for that slice of time – laughter, tears, hugs, tantrums and all!
5. Every picture is of you when you were younger!
I have to give the comedian Mitch Hedberg credit here as he did a sketch about everyone saying “here’s a photo of me when I was younger… well show me a camera that can take a photo of me when I’m older!”. As women, we often hold this ideal in our minds about this magical ‘one day’ when we will feel happier in our skin, be slimmer etc.
That day may never come. So, imagine how liberating it would be if you could just accept yourself as you are today. Today, you look back at ten-year-old photos and notice how young you look. Ten years from now you’ll do that about photos of you today.
But to do that, you have to be in the photo in the first place…