The vast majority of us don't like being in front of the camera. We make a joke and shy away when someone points a lens our direction and some of us avoid it like the plague except for those rare occasions when we feel like makeup, hair, and outfit are all photo-worthy.
There's nothing wrong with being a bit camera-shy, but when I became a parent, I suddenly discovered that there were so many memories and so many special moments with my son that I wanted to bottle up - and many of them were sweet moments with me. Something had to give - my desire to document everyday beautiful things, or my wish to stay out of the picture.
I'll save "58 reasons why you should get yourself in the photo" for another day, but here are 3 simple ways to get in the photograph with your loved ones.
1 / Give your camera to someone else. (I didn't say this was going to be rocket science!)
I have a friend who seems to always have sweet photos with her children, and I envy her because of it. But almost every time we're together, she gives me her camera (phone) and asks me to take a photo. It's so simple! If we're always the one behind the camera, we won't very often have photos of ourselves. Give your camera to someone else, and ask them to do the favor for you.
2 / Start a project.
In case you didn't know it, I love Instagram. There are a few people I follow and admire who have inspired me to start my own "me in the picture too" series. I've designated every Monday to be picture day with my son, and while I don't do it perfectly, it's a good cue to remind me to get in the frame. Some of my favorite Instagram inspirations are @thestorkandthebeanstalk's #jfamilyportraitseries (A Portrait of my family, once a week, most weeks, in 2015), @erintakesphotos' regular selfies (because, she says, "The only way I have record of myself is to do it myself."), and the #whereveriamwithyou project. It's a beautiful collaboration by some of my favorite professional photographers who inspire me so much to get in the frame with my family. One of the contributors says "my kids have many, many images of themselves and their lives. Before this project there was hardly ANY images of me WITH them...and I am with them all day, everyday. That is not a very accurate representation of their lives." Start a project of your own! You don't have to share it - I rarely share the photos I take on Mondays. But you'll have the photos for yourself and your loved ones. And that's worth it.
3 / Don't worry about getting a "good picture."
Because if you worry about that, you'll never take any. Some of my favorite photos of myself and my son are blurry, grainy, out of focus, or just plain not-that-great. It's part of the memory.
These suggestions are dead-simple. I'm not writing them to insult your intelligence; I'm getting them out in the open in hopes of showing you something that's so simple you may have forgotten it! And there's a magical thing that happens when you start with a few simple ideas for reaching a goal - the ideas grow. I won't be surprised if you have 3 more ideas you can add to this list by the end of the week!
Homework (insert nerd-face emoji):
Take a photo this week that includes yourself. You can be as creative or non-creative as you like! Maybe it's asking a photographer friend to take a semi-professional portrait of you. Maybe it's a selfie of you and your children doing something fun together. Maybe it's a selfie of you doing something boring together. Don't worry about how nice the picture looks, or how nice your hair looks, or how you're going to edit the photo or whether it's good enough to share. Just take it. Chances are you'll love the photo and find yourself taking another one tomorrow.
If you know me, you know I love sharing things, and I'll be posting a thread on my Facebook page later this week where we can share the photos we take of ourselves! I can't wait to see your images, and I hope my little boost of ideas is enough to start a habit of making sure you get in the picture too. Because today is beautiful, and it won't look like this tomorrow.