Liam is a February baby, and so he started preschool mid-year just after he turned two and, as it turned out, a few weeks before Mother's Day.

I still remember the moment when he emerged shyly from his new classroom, clutching the beautiful vase he had painted (I'm assuming with some help) and that contained a beautiful fresh flower.

My first Mother's Day gift from my son... an emotional moment for sure in those intense first few months of out-of-the-home separation that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Mother's Day is right around the corner again. In fact, earlier this week, Liam sang me the "I love mommy" song he learned in school and whispered to me confidentially about another special art project he is working on. I can see that Mother's Day is as much for our children to celebrate as it is for us.

So here are some suggestions for capturing the moment this Mother's Day and beyond:

Photograph your emotions

Look for the moments that are special to you and photograph them. Your photos contain you - your perspective and your feelings - even if you aren't literally in the photo.

Create memories

What will make this day special for you and your family? Don't be shy or humble about being celebrated - it's important to your whole family that they get to do so!

Celebrate mothers everywhere

Yes, it's about you, but it's also about mothers everywhere, past, present and future. Be sensitive to those who've had a loss, or who desperately want to but are not yet mothers. Small gestures of thought and appreciation will go a long way.

Make it a family affair

Mother's Day is the perfect opportunity for group photos. If you are visiting grandma or spending time with cousins, take the time to gather everyone together to commemorate the occasion.

Even if it's just your own family, or you're spending the day with friends, gather together for a group photo that you can share with far away grandmothers, aunts, godmothers and any other special women in your children's lives.

Photosanity parent Shayna Gehl shared her experience with group photos in her guest blog post in November. For those of us on the East Coast, Mother's Day usually brings some great weather for outdoor photos (forecast in NYC is looking good so far!).

Get in the picture

Yes, that's right, you behind the camera there - get in the photo! I know it's hard, I know you may not feel like it, there's probably a reason you're the one who likes to be BEHIND the camera after all... but it's important not just for you but for your children that they have a visual record of you WITH them in at least a few of your photos.

This question came up from an expectant mother at my workshop earlier this week in fact, and as always, my advice is to a) use the forward facing camera on your phone if it has one to take self-portraits of you with your kids and b) make a point of handing your camera to others and asking them to take photos for you.

I have more tips on this in my workshop, but check out this blog post from last year that shows Photosanity parents in their photos with their kids.

You can do it!

Catch the moments

On holidays like Mother's Day it can be tempting to take out the camera only for the group photos or formal pictures (especially if all the kids are neat and dressed up!) but remember to capture the real moments too, and encourage your family members to help you do so.

Remember to photograph details as well as people!

  • Morning snuggles
  • Whatever beautiful creations your children make for you
  • Breakfast in bed
  • The usual mess your one-year-old makes
  • The excitement on your child's face when you open the card they made you
  • Getting dressed for the day
  • The favorite toys they bring with them to grandma's
  • The flowers at the side of the playground
  • The line at brunch
  • An afternoon walk in the neighborhood
  • Everyone asleep in the car on the way home

Gift ideas

One thing I love to do is order prints and then mount them onto blank cards for one-of-a-kind specials. 4x6 prints mount perfectly onto 5x7 cards.

Looking for a gift for yourself or a pregnant friend?

We have just launched the Photosanity + ShutterCal bundle that includes a full year of ShutterCal membership with prints plus the Photosanity photo-a-day project guide and a 30 minute mini-coaching session with me. Usually $299, it's just $249 until Mother's Day!