A little confession - I am HORRIBLE about getting on the other side of my camera. I have the gear, I have the ability, and I even have an app on my phone that lets me focus and trigger remotely. I am still horrible about being present in pictures as much as I should be.
I know I'm not alone in feeling that way, photographer or otherwise. I'm the family documentarian, but I work from home so I am also the main caregiver, housekeeper, event organizer, and chauffeur on top of my I.T. job. I've got a phone in my pocket that I'll use to take selfies, but I'll be the first to tell you none of those are posted on the living room wall. Actually, nothing is on the walls right now - I just painted and need to rearrange a new living room gallery, but I digress.
I really do want my kids to have photos of all of us to look back on. Photos of what the garden looked like, photos of the house, their lives, and their animals. Photos of holidays and photos of everyday. Photos of me, the photographer of the household. Even photos of my hairstyle, because I know that what was "in" years ago is no longer today. (Is straight hair that hopefully gets brushed a few times a week actually in style to begin with?)
Last year, I ran across this photo. I'm the one in pink standing in back, with my sister in front of me and my mom holding my brother as a baby. I was probably around four and a half years old. I don't remember where we were but this was our everyday, and I love finding gems like this to look back on.
Photos like this are a big part of my love of photographing others. It's easy for us as the moms, the dads, the grandparents with the cameras and the cell phones and whatever we have, to snap a photo. It's harder to regularly wrangle the kids, get in the frame, and to not critique our smiles. I'm guilty of it.
I snapped this new image of myself and my kids the other day. It's nowhere near perfect but it's real life. The light is mediocre, one kid is pretending to be a cat, and I chopped off my own arm. My hairstyle has barely changed in 20 some years. I love it, and I vow to do more of it. Perfect, imperfect, or otherwise. I also vow to hire another photographer within the next year to do it for me, because we all need to be in the picture more without also trying to be the ones arranging it. Our kids will be thrilled to have these to look back on.
By the way, if it has been a while since you've been in front of the camera, I'd love to work with you. I want you to see more of your whole family in front of the camera, too.