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?
Yesterday I asked you to suspend disbelief, and first let me know what it is that YOU most want as a parent (if you didn’t fill out the quick poll, you can go and do so now.
I love asking this question because we don’t get to think about or talk about this nearly enough. Also, our natural instinct is to think about what we want for our kids, rather than what we want for ourselves as parents, even though the two are undoubtedly interlinked.
I also love asking this question, because this is where it all begins.
To me “what do you want most as a parent?” is an exciting and expansive question that gets me out of the day-to-day, and into thinking at a bigger and more inspiring level.
After all, it's only when you know what it is that you want, that you can figure out how to get it. That sounds very simple and obvious, but it’s very easy to lose sight of, especially as a busy parent.
If, however, rather than feeling inspired, identifying what you want makes you feel discouraged about how to get it, hang in there. I’ll be showing you how to get started shortly.
So, what is it that you most want as a parent?
In my research, first informally amongst a few different parenting groups I am part of, and then more formally as part of my poll (I’ve received over 100 responses), the most popular response by quite a margin has been:
To know that your kids are self-confident and happy
And what I’m hearing is that you also want to be more present, connect with your kids, find more joy day-to-day, and know that your kids know how much you love them.
In fact, you want all of the things in the poll - here’s the whole list:
- Be more present
- Feel less stressed
- Find more joy day-to-day
- Connect with your kids
- Have more time for yourself
- Know that your kids are self-confident and happy
- Have confidence yourself that you are doing a good job
- Have a community of support
- Feel recognized and appreciated for all that you do
- Know that your kids know how much you love them
And yes, you can achieve all of these things through photographing your kids.
I know that this is hard to believe, and I know it’s hard because right now, the role that photographing your kids plays in your life is likely the exact opposite to most of the desires listed above.
Right now you probably feel that your camera (be it smartphone, point-and-shoot or DSLR) takes you out of the moment rather than helping you be more present.
I hear from a lot of parents that you feel like you have to choose between experiencing the moment or capturing it, because when you take out your camera your attention has to move from your kids to your camera as you fumble with finding it, turning it on, messing around with the settings, and figuring out how to create a good photo.
You also likely feel that your camera comes between you and your kids rather than making it easier for you to connect.
When you take your camera out, rather than capturing the moment, it has the tendency to interrupt or even ruin the moment as your kids stop what they are doing to reach for the camera, ham it up, or to duck, hide, complain about having their photo taken, or literally run away!
In addition, you feel it’s your responsibility to be the family’s documentarian and to capture the moments of your family’s life for posterity, yet taking photos feels like yet another item to add to your to-do list of things that you ought to be doing but are falling short of accomplishing.
I hear over and over again from friends and clients who guiltily admit that they never made that one year baby album or put photos on the wall, and that they haven’t even downloaded their photos off their phone, let alone backed them up or printed them, in months, maybe even years.
Your biggest frustrations with photographing your kids are with missing the moment and not capturing what it is that you see, struggling with lighting, composition and blur, and feeling that you lack creativity and inspiration.
In short, you feel that your camera is ruining the experience, and you’re not even getting the shots that you want.
As a result, you either take more photos in the hopes that just a few will turn out well by chance, or else you take fewer and fewer photos as it just doesn’t seem worth trying. Even when you take some good photos, you don’t have a good way to manage them and you rarely print or share them - so many photos just end up languishing on your hard drive.
So, if any of this sounds familiar, you could be forgiven for thinking that you have a photography problem, right? And the obvious solution would be to look for would be a photography solution, right?
Maybe you've tried. Maybe you've googled looking for photography tips and tutorials, or even signed up for a photography class, but felt that nothing you found really addressed your needs.
The problem is that you’ve been trying to solve a photography problem when really you want to be solving a parenting problem.
I’m guessing that the problems that are keeping you up at night are not about your photos - they’re about your kids, and about your life as a parent.
What you’re really wishing you could figure out is how to make parenting easier, and what you really want is to know that your kids are self-confident and happy - photography can be the means to that end.
Because when you take a different approach to photographing your kids, you can use photography in support of what you want as a parent.
And while it doesn't happen overnight and in fact is a life long journey and practice, you can get some immediate results and quick wins that will motivate and inspire you to explore this further.
I’ve helped hundreds of parents turn things around so that their camera is the catalyst that helps them to be more present, connect with their kids, and validates that they ARE doing a good job as a parent and that their kids ARE self-confident and happy.
To do so, I’ve drawn on my own experience as a mom with a camera. Here’s the role that photographing my kids plays in my life:
I could easily be distracted when I’m with my kids, thinking ahead to what I’m going to make for dinner, or what I need to get done the next day (or what I still need to get done that night for that matter).
But instead, my camera brings me out of my head and into the present moment.
It heightens my emotional and visual awareness and gets me out of thinking mode and into feeling mode. It’s almost like a “flow state” of hypersensitivity to the present moment - everything else fades away into the background.
In this state, I am super focused and I see and experience things in a different way. I’m tapped into my feelings and the feelings of those I’m photographing. Because I’m looking for that moment worth capturing, the story worth telling, I see it everywhere - the extraordinary within the ordinary, the innate beauty that yours for the taking if you have the ability to find it.
Photography is a way of seeing and experience the world - and a way of seeing and experiencing your kids. My camera is a catalyst for helping me **be more present** with them, and when I’m more present, I can really truly see them in that moment and love them in that moment exactly as they are… and that connects me to them in a unique and meaningful way.
It is through that connection, through really seeing them - through the “deep dive” into the moment that photography allows me, and through the resulting photos that let me to revisit the moment and share it with others - that I see the innate self-confidence and happiness within my kids.
And that is just the beginning!
“But Alethea” you might be thinking. “I’m not a photographer, I don’t have the talent that you have to create a beautiful moment out of nothing. I don’t have a creative eye. I don’t know how to use my camera, or get my kid to sit still. I don’t even know how to create a beautiful moment out of a beautiful moment!"
Tomorrow, I’m going to be back and I will share with you the moments and experiences that parents just like you have been able to find as a result of working with me to change the way they approach photographing their kids.
And then mark your calendar for Tuesday October 18th at 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific) as I will be hosting a LIVE webinar to share with you the one secret to creating the life that you want through photographing your kids. This is not hyperbole - I’m not saying this will change everything overnight, but this really is the one thing that has the potential to entirely shift your perspective in a very short time, as well as bring you life long benefits.
I’ll also share the three simple steps you can take to get started in creating the life that you want as a parent, through photographing your kids.