There are a lot of things I love about my job. One of the things that I’ve grown to appreciate over the years is the value of having special moments documented with photos and videos. I definitely have too many photos of myself, honestly, it can be a little disturbing. BUT, I am so, so grateful for all the beautiful photos I have with my family… and especially with Jack.
I know it’s pretty common for moms to be the ones capturing the memories and, therefore, they’re not in as many photos. (And how many memes have you seen online of women sharing the cute candids they capture of their partners/children and their partners with their children versus the totally unflattering candids the partners capture of them 🥴 They’re doozies…) Even if you’re not going to take your own photos with a self-timer like this post, let me me say… mamas, get in photos!!!! Don’t duck out of frame or hide from cameras at holidays and parties. Don’t worry about what you’re wearing. Don’t worry about your body. Don’t worry about your weight, makeup, hair, etc. You will not care about this years down the road, and most importantly, your children won’t.
When I posted about this on my Instagram story a couple of months ago, I was flooded with DMs from adult children who said they were so sad that they didn’t have many photos of them as children with their moms because they had been self-conscious and camera shy.
I promised I would share my tips for taking your own photos without an Instagram Husband. You can set up with a tripod and a camera, but you can also just do this with your phone propped up somewhere! (My favorite photos of Jack and me have been ones I’ve captured with a tripod. It’s more intimate and I find it easier without any kind of pressure.)
1. Here is a post with all of my photography tips. I will be the FIRST person to say, I am not a professional photographer. The pandemic forced me to get a little better with photography, but trust me, I’m no Annie Leibovitz. If I can do this, you can do this. That post goes into all of my personal “tricks” for better photography, but the TLDR is: focus on NATURAL LIGHT.
2. When in doubt, add a black and white filter. Love the moment, but the photo didn’t exactly come out well? Add a black and white filter. 🤷🏻♀️ It works and instantly turns a bad quality photo into a high quality, timeless memory.
3. Think “everyday.” So this might be a hot take, but try to focus your energy on capturing everyday moments. I know so many families (ahem, moms) get stressed trying to perfectly coordinate outfits, securing expensive photographers, and working with finicky weather/schedules to get “picture perfect” photos. Instead, think about your routines and things you and your children love to do. Of course, I have my phone with me a lot, but I also keep my big camera in the nursery a lot so it’s within reach and accessible quickly. When I go through our family photo albums from when we were kids, I love the candid photos of us playing, putting on dance shows for my parents, and cuddling with my parents. The holiday card photos are nice, but they’re so staged and coordinated and don’t match with how I remember my childhood like the candid photos do!
4. Prop your phone and use the back camera. It’s easier to see what you’re capturing if you prop up your phone and use the front (selfie) camera. BUT, the quality (even when it’s set to the highest setting) isn’t as good. Take a test video to check what the framing looks like. (Taking a video is a quicker way than trying to take a bunch of self-timer photos!) And then once you have your phone propped up in the right space, set the timer and go for it! Especially with kids and moving babies, it might take a few tries to get the right shot, but stay patient and tweak things as you go. I usually get a sense of the timing during the first few takes and then know when to make a noise or give Jack a tickle to bring out a smile!
5. Bring out a tripod. I’ve been using a tripod plus my camera’s app on my phone as a “remote” plus the self-timer on my camera. It’s a little more effort, so I wouldn’t start off this set up if you’re just getting going. Here’s what I use right now: tripod, camera, lens. Here’s a helpful video that shows how the app works a little bit more clearly than anything I could type out! The best feature about this particular camera is that it has eye-tracking technology and it is so good. It will wait to get your eyes in focus before it snaps the photo, cutting down on the number of photos that miss.
6. Take an 4k video on your phone. Your iPhone can take high quality videos… and you can use those videos to capture candid photos very easily. This is a trick a lot of Instagrammers use, actually, to capture those carefree candid photos with motion. Under Settings, scroll to Camera, and select 4K video. (I use 4k at 60fps.) Take a short video of whatever it is you want to capture and then send it to your computer (I use Airdrop). I open the video in QuickTime Player and scroll through frame by frame until I find one I want to screenshot! Will you be able to turn the screenshot into a billboard? Probably not. Will you get a cute 4×6 photo you can print for your house or put into a baby book or post on IG??? YES. (The photo above is a screenshot of a video!)
I was thinking of doing like weekly/monthly prompts/challenges for photo ideas to try with your kids… Would this be something you’re interested in? Nothing crazy, you don’t even have to opt in. I’d probably just share the prompt casually on Instagram and see what you guys come up with!