In light of the devastating US election results last week, I want to reach out and ask - how are you holding up?
I am slowly piecing myself back together, but I have had a very hard time in the wake of an outcome that I had very much feared but had allowed myself in the last few days leading to the election to hope would not come to pass. I know many of you have been struggling too.
I have been starting to feel that "I love my life" spark a lot more lately. This is interspersed with feelings of fear and anxiety as I dive deeper into growing my business, but I've been working on making myself feel cozy and safe.
My photos of my kids help me with that. They become almost like a place where I can go where there is an abundance of love and joy - through my photos I see the best in them, and as a result, the best in myself and the best in life.
This is not a "good" photo.
The lighting is bad, and there is all kinds of background clutter. As a professional photographer, I would never share this photo.
But as a mom, and as a photography coach for parents, I am sharing it with you because yesterday it made me feel better as a parent.
A few days ago, I asked you what you most wanted as a parent, and what your biggest frustration with photographing your kids is (if you didn’t fill out my quick poll, you can still do so here.
I then explained how the two are linked - how I have found that your camera can be a surprisingly powerful catalyst for creating more of what you want in your life as a parent.
And yesterday I told you that I know that you've got this - and showed how Photosanity parent Andrea Rizvi has been using photography to be more present, connect with her kids, and focus on the day-to-day joy in her life as she captures the moment.
But I know that you still want to know how.
A couple of days ago, I asked you what you most wanted as a parent, and what your biggest frustration with photographing your kids is (if you didn’t fill out my quick poll, you can still do so here.
Yesterday, I explained how the two are linked - how I have found that your camera can be a surprisingly powerful catalyst for creating more of what you want in your life as a parent.
I talked about the role that photography likely plays in your life right now (that creates the opposite effect to what you desire) and how photography helps me be more present, connect with my kids, and know that my kids are self-confident and happy, amongst many other things.
But I know that you may not feel like you can do the same, given that you are not a photographer and you don’t feel that you have that same “creative eye."
So I know that when I say that you can create the life you want as a parent through photographing your kids, your reaction might be one of confusion.
What does one have to do with the other?
I know what it’s like to feel that your busy life keeps you from getting to what matters most to you. I know that likely you are juggling a million different things - not just parenting, but a career (yours and/or your spouse’s), your relationship, as well as your household and community responsibilities, not to mention relationships with extended family and friends and any other commitments you have. Likely you’re feeling forced to drop the ball in one or more of these areas, and it stresses you out to feel that you are not living up to your own standards.
Dear Stressed-Out Mom,
I know that you love your kids, but that sometimes that feels like the only thing you know for sure.
I know that you're exhausted and overwhelmed. I know that you are drowning in the day-in day-out drudgery of parenting. I know that you don't have enough support and you feel like it's all on you. I know that you worry about how it's all going to turn out.
And I know that you second guess yourself all the time.
Last week I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with fellow photographer, mother and entrepreneur Beryl Ann Young as she interviewed me for her podcast, Recapture Self. We spoke about photography, motherhood, identity and creativity - some of my favorite topics!
Listen to the episode (also on iTunes or Stitcher) to find out how it is I came to become a photography coach for parents, the one thing you should do to use your camera to connect with your kids, my favorite parenting book, and how I use photography to help diffuse meltdowns.
It's the night before the 15th anniversary and still I feel so raw and traumatized and heartbroken. Other sadnesses have passed or at least lightened over the years.
This one is deep in my bones.
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away (also known as England), I was sitting with some friends in a class meeting. I'm pretty sure most of us weren't really listening but a quick announcement caught my attention - it was about a one year internship program in NYC
I hope that through the course of this past week of tips, you have started photographing your kids daily and have found that you have far more moments worth capturing than you realized.
If you've been following along with the 7 day challenge to take better photos of your kids, whereas before you might have felt that you kept missing the moment, now you almost have an overabundance of moments worth capturing!
This is a good thing, but it can be overwhelming. How do you decide what is most worth capturing? How do you decide what is most worth sharing?
We’ve been talking this past week about not asking your kids to smile and say cheese, and instead capturing natural emotions and interactions as they are engrossed in the things that they love.
We’ve looked at capturing the full range of emotions, not just the happy ones, as a means of validation as well as a much more rewarding approach to photographing your kids.
If you’ve been following along with these tips, you already know by now how much confidence and joy you can experience daily when you broaden your concept of the moments that are photo worthy.
However, I know that you still want photos of your child smiling and looking at the camera - I do too!
We’ve talked about how, up until now, you might have considered “photo-worthy moments” to be those where everyone is happy and smiling at the camera.
And while we all want our kids to be happy, that one emotion alone is not all that we want for them, nor is it all that we value or love about them.
We want to honor and validate their feelings — all of them.
You see a precious moment that you want to capture... yet when you go back to look at your photos you are disappointed.
Why is that?!!!
One frustration that I hear over and over from parents is that they struggle to capture in photos the feeling they were experiencing in the moment.
There are many many reasons for this, and my first suggestion is always to focus on how it feels, not how it looks as you will find that your photos start to become like shorthand notes to yourself about what you are feeling in the moment.
But I know that you want more than that.
Do you want to capture the moment, but worry that your camera will come between you and your kids?
Does your camera seem to ruin the moment because when you bring it out, your kids stop what they are doing and either start posing, making silly faces or turn away?
Do you find yourself missing the moment because by the time you pull your camera out, it's too late?
If I could only suggest one thing that you should do immediately to start not just taking better photos of your kids but having a better experience out of photographing your kids, it would be this.
Today I want to share with you three very specific steps that you can take to start using photography to help you achieve many of the things you want as a parent.
Let’s take the core parental desire from the poll as an example.
You want to know that your kids are self-confident and happy
Thank you so much for sharing with me what it is you most want as a parent. It has really been an honor to be entrusted with this information. I have a table set up to automatically populate with the results and I just love seeing each response come in. It feels good to see so many parents raise their hand and say yes, this is what I want. We don’t really get to do that much, do we?
But what does this have to do with photographing your kids?