I don't do New Year's resolutions mostly because I know I will fail by day 2 and feel terrible (true story of my lack of self control). But I do love envisioning life and business and dreaming and my Passion Planner is so great at reminding me to do this every few months. From my scribbles and dreaming this week I formulated some goals and one for me is to be in the frame more and to tell the story of this season of our lives more. I spend so much time making images and I am very rarely in the frame unless it is a cheesy selfie with my crew. I love telling stories through images for families and organizations but I spend most of my time mothering and my real life is often neglected in my images. I want to be more intentional about telling our story.
So today I decided to just start. It did not matter that I have not washed my hair in 2 days or that my house was (ok is) a mess. There is always an excuse but I want my kids to look back at images and remember the time we had together while they were at home more than they were in the world. Everyday after the Y my boy and I have lunch and read books before he heads up for a nap. Today I captured some of these moments & I am including my process here if you are wanting to capture more of YOUR beautiful & messy story:
* Set the self timer on your camera or get a remote. If you have never done this or cannot remember how or if you are like "my friend" and never cracked your manual just google it! Just type in your camera make and model and "set self timer" and you can find directions (sometimes even a video) or the manual and follow the instructions. You can also invest in an inexpensive remote like this one for less than $10 to control your camera's shutter (Amazon and me are BFFs). This step alone will help you be in the frame more!!
*Look for a location in your home with natural window light or a light source. In my case I used both to capture these images. Having some light and dark contrast can make an image more emotive and interesting so try to avoid just using a flash or overhead lighting only. Then set the camera on a chest or bookshelf, etc. You do not need a tripod! I just set this on a chest in our living room (just be sure to look through the view finder and make a test shot to make sure everything you want is in the frame).
*Clear away the clutter not related to your story. This is not about creating a perfect image but you do want the focus of your image to be clear and let's face it my daughter's school papers and my 7 books stacked on the end table would take away in this case. They were not the subject I did not want to include them because they had too much visual mass (a fancy photography term meaning they pulled attention from my subject). However, I did NOT clear away my son's toys or my coffee cup on the table because those helped tell the story of exactly what was happening just before these images were made.
* Embrace YOU- I think for us women especially this can be the most difficult part. As I work with families I hear so often from other mamas "can you make me look thinner?", "I hate being in the picture", or "I take the worst pictures just focus on the kids" but what I want to tell you is the same thing I am preaching to myself: You are a beautiful creation of God. You are part of this story! Embrace it because that is what is key to telling your story and the mess and beauty of it. Does that mean I never delete an image with my 5 chins: No! (#truth) or I do not work hard to choose flattering poses for my clients: of course not!! But it does mean that I am learning to be kinder to myself because life cannot wait until you or I lose 10 pounds or have the perfect house or fill in the blank thing about yourself you want to change. My wrinkles are a sign of a life lived with tons of laughter and tears and I am learning to celebrate that. We are Mamas NOW, right now. So sure, wear a top you like, curl a few pieces of hair (if you are like someone I know *Ahem* who had some serious post workout hair going on, but GET IN THE FRAME WITH YOUR KIDS. You are their Mama and these are the moments to tell that story.
I would love to see your images! What other basic photography questions do you have about documenting your life?