It doesn’t matter how beautiful they are: most women are self-conscious of being photographed. This is particularly true for new mums (and not so new mums) and seeing what we go through during pregnancy, it is easy to understand why. No need to list what part of our bodies we might not feel comfortable with, it’s different for each one of us but I know you probably shy away from the camera whenever it’s pointed at you.
I want to share a little story with you. Nearly 15 months ago, my daughter came into this world and I was on a little cloud for around 10 days. It was really magical for me. I had never felt that way before: my mind was so clear, I knew exactly what to do, what I wanted, and I kept repeating how happy we were going to be. Now, looking back, I wish I hired a photographer. I thought I could do it myself, but I underestimated the importance of this change in our life and I miss having a good portrait of the three of us together. I would have also loved to have a photographer helping me in the order process to pick THE image to print and hang in our home.
Thankfully, my husband is an amateur photographer and he took some lovely photos of me and my daughter together and I can’t imagine not having them. As you can imagine, my 10 days “babymoon” didn’t last forever, and those images are a reminder of this very special time for me. (Although there was a time where I could not look at them without crying.) As you will see below, my favourite photos are not posed shots of me facing the camera, and that’s fine! I selected the images where I liked myself the most for the photo album. There is no point forcing myself to constantly look at images of my bloated face, yellow skin, tired eyes and unwashed hair. Those are more flattering angles and still show my love, our relationship, and her tinniness in my arms.
Since then I realised how important self-love is for us and our children. Very important. However, it might be a long and difficult journey towards loving our new bodies and ourselves in general, and that’s fine. In the meantime, you need to learn to accept who you are the best you can and get into photos with your children, for your children if not for you.
The following reasons are what I would say to you if you wanted to book a newborn or family session with me and said “But it’s just for the kids. I don’t want to be in the photos.”
They can also work for your everyday family snapshots.
1. If you don’t do it for you, do it for them
Imagine your child in 10 years time looking through a family album and not finding any photos of you in it. Now, picture your child looking at a photo of you looking at him/her with a smile on your face and love in your eyes. Which situation do you think will make them feel loved and as part of a family?
2. You don’t have anything to loose
It’s a bit like trying a dress in a shop. Getting a picture taken with you in it doesn’t mean you have to print it on a big canvas, hang it in your living room and look at it every day. Chances are you will actually treasure a portrait showing you holding your tiny baby or playing with your child, but if it’s not the case, don’t buy it / print it.
3. Angles are a powerful way to shift the focus
My job as a professional photographer is to use different angles and crops so that you end up loving a photo with you in it. I want you to fall in love with a portrait capturing your relationship with your baby or child, even if we can’t see your whole body in it. The photo below is a good example. If I had refused to get in front of the camera because I didn’t like the way I looked, I would have missed on this little treasure…
4. You don’t need to pose and smile, just be yourself!
I am a lifestyle photographer which means that I capture candid moments as they unfold with a little bit of direction. My approach and contact put my clients at ease and they end up enjoying the session more than they anticipated. Being photographed doesn’t have to be a chore: you can play, giggle, take a walk, bake a cake… Think of it as quality time with your family, enjoy the moment and let me do the work. Whether it is a professional photographer or your husband taking the photos you can be photographed doing daily activities with your children: feeding, playing, reading a book, etc.
5. Children love to see pictures of their parents
Reason 1 said that if you didn’t do it for you, you could do it for your children and show them how loved they were. But this is different: our children will love to look at those photos in years to come and will be amazed at how young we looked, what clothes we wore and what activities we used to do with them.
6. It will send you back in time
Looking at pictures of your children on their own will make you smile and make you proud. Looking at photos of you with your children will bring back the emotions you felt at that particular time of their life and who would not want a time machine?
7. Capture the family unit
This is the reason why I wished I hired a photographer when my daughter was born. To capture our family, this new unit we formed now that we were three. I have a shot taken by my mother with a phone and it’s great… but not good enough for me to print big. I have great photos of my husband and my daughter together and some of my daughter and me, but no great one of the three of us together. It doesn’t have to be a posed shot of everybody smiling at the camera (it can!) but it is an important photo to have, printed & framed, on the mantle piece.
8. You probably look better now than you will in the next 20 years
Ok, this one is a bit of joke, but it’s just to say: who knows what tomorrow is made of? If you keep waiting for this or that to change before you get in front of the camera, you never will. So just do it and in 20 years time you’ll look at the images and think “What did I worry about?”.
So please… Whether it’s with me, an other professional photographer or your mother, get in front of the camera and enjoy it! Your children will never look at them saying “I wish you waited until you lost a bit more weight” and you might be surprised and actually love and cherish those images years from now.
Last tip? Get them printed!! Technology is not always reliable, and those memories are not replaceable. So always backup your photos AND print your favourites so you actually get to look at them.
If you enjoyed this blog, don’t hesitate to leave a comment to say so, or share with other mums.
If you would like to be in your pictures for yourself and your children, get in touch today!