The Best Gift for our Children: Be present in your story!
Raise your hand if you are guilty of hoarding hundreds or possibly thousands of photos of your children on your phone. >> Raising my hand!! <<
Out of all those photos, how many are you in (not including selfies)? If I had to guess I'd say I'm in maybe 5% of those photos. Sound familiar?
I admit I'm probably guilty of over doing it on the photos but I do it with the intention of telling our story for years to come. As much as I cherish seeing my children grow through a series of photos and home videos, I truly believe the story is incomplete without everyone in the frame. As moms, and dads too, we are always the ones taking the photos and videos and so rarely in them. think it is important to be seen and documented doing life with our children and I'm not talking about just the traditional family photos that come around every year or so. I'm talking about candid, lifestyle photos and videos that tell a complete story with everyone present. These are truly the best gifts to our children. They will live on as treasured memories for generations to come.
Where do you start? Here are 4 ways I recommend getting in the frame:
1. Use A Timer: Whether you are using a "fancy" camera or the camera on your phone, they all have a timed feature where you can set up your shot, activate the timer, push the button, jump in the shot and viola! You can do this for the mundane activities of your everyday such as playing at the park, baking cookies, brushing teeth or whatever tiny details you want to remember. Or you can get adventurous and coordinate more formal family photos for an event or seasonal needs like Christmas cards. Although this can require a little bit of patience and potentially a little sweat equity, there is no investment in special equipment or cost associated. And you can try it right away!
2. Ask Someone To Take Your Picture: Duh! This one is pretty obvious but often neglected because we don't like to inconvenience others. But for the sake of documenting a memory, it's always worth it. Ask a friend or family member or even a complete stranger when you recognize a moment you want to capture. I can't say I've ever really been bothered when someone has asked me to snap a picture. It literally takes a few seconds. And if you really want to accomplish some candid shots, be sure to tell your "photographer" to just snap a few photos in the moment. Do not ask everyone to turn and look at the camera and smile. Do your thing while they snap away and hopefully there will be a few keepers that tell the story of the moment....and ta da...you are in the story!
3. Lifestyle Photography: There are many photographers that now offer Lifestyle Photography, whether it be in-home or on-location. What does this mean exactly? Lifestyle photography is a way of documenting real-life events or situations in an artistic manner and typically focuses on the art of the everyday. I like to call it semi-posed as it's not truly documentary but it certainly far from the traditional "pose and say cheese" approach. To me the goal of lifestyle photography is to capture emotions and connections through a series of photos. The viewer should be able to look at a gallery of images and feel present in the story. What an amazing memory for generations to come.
4. Do a Family Film: Although this one takes a little more planning and expertise, creating a family film is unbelievably powerful and emotional in truly capturing your story with you in it. It can be done in your home or at a location of your choice. It can be used to document a milestone event such as a birth or a first birthday. It can also be done as a "day in the life" documenting the beauty in your every day such as making pancakes, doing chores or swinging in the backyard. It's your story and I can't think of any better gift to our children than for them to see their memories in full color, full sound and in motion. Think of it as a new way to document a family video in a condensed, artistic and beautiful way.
Thank you to my sweet and super duper talented friend Stephanie Stephenson for sharing her talent and collaborating with me on a project I've been so excited about. I so badly wanted to be present and "in the frame" for one of our family videos. She was able to film the footage for me to edit. I'm so extremely grateful for this gift. (Filming Credit: https://www.facebook.com/stephaniestephensonphotography/)
If you can't tell I'm pretty passionate about the importance of getting in the frame and as I write this I'm reminded how simple it is to use a timer just for the sake of being present in photos. Messy hair don't care. Try not to hide behind the camera if you aren't feeling "camera-ready" in the moment. Document it anyways! You can always delete it!
I hope you enjoyed these tips and found value in them. Use these tips to start being present in your families story today! Share this with any friends or parents who would also appreciate these.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm always happy to help!
Danielle Blewitt is a family and newborn photographer in the North Hills of Pittsburgh that specializes in delivering keepsake videos for families in addition to candid, lifestyle photos. Keepsake videos are brand new to Pittsburgh, but growing in popularity around the world. Every family has a unique story that deserves to be documented and preserved. Videos put your memories in motion, you can see them, hear them and most importantly feel them. Follow Danielle Blewitt Photography on Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo for recent projects.