As mothers we spend most of our days taking care of our kids, running errands, preparing meals, cleaning the house, doing dishes, washing laundry, working, and then when we stop and grab the camera we tend to focus on capturing our kids. Let’s face it, those little being are always cute even with bed head hair or food smeared on their faces, adults not so much. I can’t tell you how many days I don’t even shower until dinner time because we haven’t left the house in days and I am busy cleaning and playing with kids so the last thing I want to do is jump in front of the camera.
Well when I started to look back at photos of our family I realized that I was missing from our story. I would capture all these beautiful everyday moments and routine as well as major milestones of the kids but I was always behind the camera. As hard as it may be to be in the image (we all have our own reasons- don’t like the way we look that day, want to lose weight, too busy, etc.) we have to remember that we were there too. When our kids look back through photos of their childhood it’s so important for them to see mom and dad and to remember how we looked and that we were there at all those special moments too.
This past year I have really tried to get into the frame too. I am not talking about using my cell phone and stretching my arms out to take a selfie (those have their place) but to really be in the story. Those of you who follow my work know that I don’t tend to stop the moment to have my subjects face me and smile (though sometimes the moment calls for those I know) but I prefer to capture the moment as they happens. Think about how you remember moments of life, are the kids standing there posed looking at you or at the memories of playing and engaged in activities? Try to capture those moments just as you remember them.
I know you are thinking, well how can I take these if I am just one person at home with these little people? I personally do not tend to hand my camera over to someone else to take images of me very often because most of the time the photos they take are very different than the story I want to tell (even while looking at the same subject and in the same environment). While I have a fancy tripod and a remote for my camera I pretty much never use it. I dial in my exposure (you can always use auto too if that works best for you), set the camera to the timer mode (I have mine set to interval so it take one photo every 4 seconds for a series of 9 images in a row), and prop my camera up on whatever happens to be nearby. I will use a bench, the stroller, a dresser, a bucket, dashboard, etc. As long as it’s at the height I need and is sturdy enough for my camera to not get knocked over I will use it. I don’t plan these self portraits, they are moments that while happening I think would be nice to capture so I quickly grab my camera and snap a few images. I love using the timer mode because I can set it and then let the camera capture whatever moment happens.
For those of you who might feel awkward in front of the camera let me say I totally get it! My best tip is be sure you have something else to focus on instead of just you and the camera. You can see from my photos below I am not smiling looking at the camera but have a connection with someone in the photo, generally laughing. This not only helps the subjects feel more relaxed but tells a much better story since you are capturing connection and emotion.
I encourage you to be in the frame, not only for yourself but for your little ones. Whether you set the camera up with a timer, use your phone, have someone else take it for you the point is to be present and in the photo. Have fun, document your life, and remember we were there too!
In January PDX Parent magazine contacted me about doing the photography for their sports issue and asked if I would be available to take photos of little kids playing soccer on a very cold February day in Portland. You know I said yes because I love working with PDX Parent! Even though it was crazy cold the kids all had a blast running around playing soccer. I didn’t know which image they used on the cover or in the which images would accompany the article so the anticipation waiting for the article to hit stands was driving me crazy. Last week while out interviewing preschools we saw it on display in the lobby. I still can hardly believe I have been so lucky to have my images in this magazine.
You can read this issue online here.
I am so excited to say that one of my images was selected to appear on the cover of PDX Parent magazine! They magazine had originally scheduled a different image but last minute decided it didn’t convey the message they wanted to send for the issue and contacted me about using one of my images from the volunteer event I had photographed at. Of course I said YES! I didn’t know which image they would use so was so surprised when it was a photo of my son. When he saw it for the first time he said he couldn’t believe he was on the cover and asked me to frame it and hang it up in his room. He has loved seeing this magazine with his photo all around town. So far we’ve seen it at school, pump it up jr, the library, local toy stores, out of this world pizza, and their doctors office.
If you want to check out this issue you can read the entire issue here!
I don’t know what is going on with the weather here in Oregon but this winter has been crazy! Never have we had so much snow and ice and for so many days. Over the past 34 days school has been in session just 5 days. When you live by a major city and snow or ice appear things stop because driving it in is nearly impossible with so many people. With so much time at home I thought it would be fun to play around with my macro lens (aka my fun lens) and explore the world of frozen bubbles. Let me start by saying this is so much harder than you would think. This morning it was just 9 degrees outside so I ventured out with a bottle of bubbles and my camera. Trying to blow bubbles, then catch said bubbles without them blowing away or popping, then having them stay on the wand long enough to freeze took some time but when I finally figured it out the results were pure magic. I have always been drawn to macro photography because it allows you to see detail in the world around you that you normally would not be able to see.
Remember last summer when an photo I took of my oldest daughter on a swing was picked up by a local magazine and featured on the cover? I blogged about it here if you want to see it again and you can see the digital copy of the magazine on their website here. Well the editor of the magazine contacted me in October asking if I would be interested in being hired to do a series of 3 sessions for the cover and to accompany the main article about 3 local doctors and researchers. Of course I said yes and was so thrilled to be able to be a part of this incredible community resource for families. These sessions took place at OHSU, Randall Children’s Hospital, and Providence Park and featured the doctor/researcher and their children.
Well fast forward to January and the magazine hit the stands at almost a thousand locations through the Portland Metro area. Of course I picked up a few copies for myself. You can also see this issue of the magazine in digital form on their website here. Seriously anywhere a family or child might visit you will find this magazine- doctor’s offices, toy store, library, pre schools, OMSI, etc. I cannot tell you how much this means to me, it’s a dream come true to be able to share my love of photography with others. Seeing this out and about with my image on the cover is just the most incredible feeling! A big shout out and THANK YOU to PDX Parent for being such a great organization dedicated to helping local families find the resources they need. If you haven’t been to their website you need to visit!
Here are some photos of the pages you can see my photos on in the January issue of PDX Parent. YAY!!!
Documenting children as they naturally play and interact with their environment is my specialty! I love capturing raw, organic, real moments that tell a story. Today after school I took my kids to the park to play and this time brought along my camera to remember this story. My daughter just mastered the monkey bars so wanted to capture this new milestone for her. Playing with light, shooting from different perspectives, and capturing small details all add so much to the story. If you would like your own storytelling session I would love to capture it for you and tell your story.