One of a Mom’s laundry list of jobs is often the family photographer. You want to document your children’s lives, so in 20 years they have a love letter of photographs. They’ll have photos to match their memories, which is such a gift. When you’re behind the camera your kids are missing one very important part in their childhood photos, YOU. Years from now your kids are going to wonder “Where’s Mom?”. Believe me I know it’s safer to hide behind the camera and getting-in-the-frame can be quite intimidating. But think about the photos you have of your Mom and how much you treasure those, especially if you are lucky enough to have the two of you together in a candid and loving pose. Let me show you some simple steps on how to get-in-the-frame with your kids.
1. Setting up your Camera – First attach your camera to a tripod and adjust the height and angle. Setup your tripod and camera near a window when your indoors and in the shade outdoors. Be aware of distracting elements in the background such as a powered on TV or a busy road. Don’t have a tripod? Find a flat, sturdy surface like a stack of books. In the photo below I simply put the camera on the floor.
2. Use the self-timer feature on your camera – Most DSLR’s have a self-timer feature so that once you’ve pressed the shutter button the camera takes a picture after 10 seconds (you can also adjust how long the camera waits before taking the photo). I like to use the continuous shooting option on my self-timer so that my camera takes 10 photos in a quick burst. This option makes sure at least one photo everyone has their eyes open. You can also buy a remote control which gives you more control. You just need to hide it in your hand. Remotes for any camera model can be purchased on Amazon for around $20.
(Refer to your camera’s manual to setup your self-timer option)
3. Grabbing Focus- Place an object in front of your camera where you and your child(ren) will be. Make sure this spot is in good lighting like next to a window. Focus in on that object. Lock your focus by switching to manual focus mode on your lens. When starting out with self-portraits it is easier to use a higher aperture to ensure everyone’s face is in focus. Start out around f5.6. As you get better at grabbing focus you can lower your aperture to achieve a shallow depth of field. (This just means the background becomes blurred making the faces in the portraits a stronger point of focus.)
4. Activities to do with your kids behind the camera – Imagine yourself 20-40 years from now and what you want your kids to remember doing together. You can dance together, set the camera up in the kitchen while you make cookies together, work in the garden together, or just have a good ole’ fashioned tickle fight on the sofa.
You will be giving your children a great gift of photos with their Mom. I have very few photos of my Mom except those horrible Olan Mills portraits from the 80’s. Below is one I treasure that my Grandfather took. I still have the camera he used. This was taken near where we lived in England. I absolutely treasure this photo because it is genuinely us and how I remember my Mother.
I want my daughter to have albums full of her childhood with tons of with me in them with her. She will know with hundreds of 4X6 pieces of proof around her how much she was loved and the simple enjoyments her parents valued.
I am doing a Get-In-The-Frame Project this year. My goal is to get-in-the-frame with my daughter at least once a month. I will be sharing them as part of my 365 Project. Follow along on my Facebook Business Page. All you need is a little practice and you can do this too. It’s actually a lot of fun once you get the hang of it! I challenge you to try the above steps and share your images on my FB Business page HERE.
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Emily Dowell is a seasoned family
photographer and print designer living
in Central Ohio. She specializes in
creating intentional artwork to
preserve irreplaceable memories that
can be beautifully displayed and
shared for years to come.