Lesson 1: How to get yourself in the picture

Mother holding two sons in her arms lovingly


When you look through your Instagram posts, what do you see? Are you in the images? Or are you hidden behind the camera? (Aside from maybe a few awkward selfies.)

Like many of you, I noticed that the one thing missing from our family photos… is me. I’m always the one taking the pictures, never handing the camera to anyone else. And this is a disservice to myself.

We need to be in the photos.

I tell my husband that if he were to die, he would never be forgotten. We have so many memories of him captured in photos, because every time I hear the kids squeal in laughter with their dad, I run to capture their magical moment. I love it, and I know how meaningful it is.

But, if I die, they’ll remember me through… selfies. Lots of selfies — probably next to the kids sleeping. 

I want more than that. I want more for them. I want my kids to be able to look through photos and see that I have been part of their everyday life — because I’m also there when they decorate the Christmas tree. I’m also there teaching them how to bike, to bake, to read, and to fearlessly jump in the water.

We need to be in the pictures.
We deserve that, and so do our children.

Take a moment to look at the hashtags #takeherpicture and #proofofmom on Instagram. Are you inspired yet?!

Look at this woman’s self-portraits with her family. I absolutely love it. And see Laura Woods self-portraits — amazing! (Keep in mind, she is a professional photographer. These photos are not necessarily what we’re aiming for, but we can appreciate the inspiration.)

Now let’s dive into our first lesson.

I’ll show you a bunch of creative ways to get in the picture yourself — without needing anyone else’s help.

The easiest way to get yourself in the picture is to include body parts other than your face. I love taking photos of my kids, just including my hands. It shows that I was present, and the photos often feel really caring. Holding hands on the first day of school. A child leaning towards your leg. Super easy, and pretty powerful!

Same thing here, but instead of hands, include your feet or legs! You were right there!

My all-time favorite way to get in photos is to ask a child to take the picture. When my child takes a photo of me, it increases the chances of me liking the photo by 100%. I see myself from their perspective. Is it scary to hand over your camera to a child? Yes. But it's almost always worth it. All the photos above are taken by my kids. I have not posed or done anything — I was simply seen by them, and I love that.

When nothing else works, use shadows. First picture was taken at Disney World (and is the only photo of me at Disney while I have about 600 photos of the rest of the family). The second photo was taken at the beach, and same thing there — it's the only photo including me, while the rest of the family has a full album. Ha, I have work to do!

Selfie mode can be really sweet! You’ve already got this one down I’m sure.

And sometimes, we have to ask someone to take photos of us. In this case it was my husband. I love these, but 99% of the time I don't love the photos he takes, ha! I’ll have to send him the rest of these Photo School lessons that I’ll publish over the next few weeks.

Ok, how do we feel? Do we wanna trash this Photo School or are you inspired? 

Do you have any other ideas of how to include yourself in photos that I didn’t mention? Let me know in a comment below or shoot me an email! I would LOVE to know your input and I value your feedback.Next class is all about the light! This is one of my favorite topics and easily one of the best ways to take photos from -just ok- to amazing.

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