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?
I can’t even remember now why I started to think about this question, but once I did I was really curious. What is it that you most want?
I polled parents in a few Facebook groups that I’m in, but I’m curious to know what you think, so I would love it if you could let me know. And then in a couple of days I’ll tell you what this has to do with photographing your kids, deal?!
Have you signed up for the next free 7 day challenge yet?
If you're not sure about signing up, here's what some of our past participants said they liked most about the challenge:
I like that it made me look for something specific and loved the interaction on FB with everyone... great seeing other people's pics and struggles. - Brigitte Hradsky
Last week I talked about using photography to connect with your kids and be more in the moment with them. Photographing your child can be a meaningful rather than a utilitarian endeavor. Your camera can change how you experience a moment, not just help you capture it.
Yet most photography courses take the opposite approach.
To be honest, words such as “mindfulness” and “gratitude” don’t really resonate with me. I am horrible at meditation. I dropped out of yoga in college - I think it was the only class I ever dropped.
When I was pregnant with my younger son Jack, I remember a friend telling me "with the first kid, it's all about the first kid, and with the second kid... it's still all about the first kid."
A few weeks ago I was in Portland for a long weekend - yes, my husband stayed home with the kids while I got to connect with old friends and new.
You love photographing your kids, but are you frustrated with the results?
Last week I talked about focusing on how it feels, not how it looks and the joy and confidence that can result daily from doing so. I also talked about the unexpected benefits of this shift in approach - the less tangible "non-visual" results of using photography to support your experience as a parent.