Happy Valentine’s Day! Since today’s all about love, I thought what better to share today than ideas on how best to document all of those loving (also funny, exasperating, etc.) moments we experience as parents.
When I stumbled upon the description of Kristin Roger’s The Inspired Home photography course, I was instantly smitten. As a mother in the trenches, I find her approach so very appealing, “fundamental yet inspiring topics related to photography, home life, and managing it all with joy and thankfulness.” – Um, yes please!
So I did what any good blogger would do.
stalked houndedpleasantly and persistently implored her to stop by MPMK and share some of her tips for capturing memories while still being a part of them. And I also asked her to share some of her favorite iphone apps – I LOVE asking professional photogs what apps I should be using to spruce up my iphone and instagram photos. Luckily for all of us, Kristin very graciously acquiesced to all my demands.
How many times as moms have we said about our kids, “wow, how did they get this old, it’s going so fast!” If you are anything like me, when looking back on years it seems to fly, but when you think about the day to day, a tiring one can feel like eternity and bed could not come soon enough. But those years that pass so quickly are made up of these moments that are lived out one day at a time. They will slip away without intentionally being present in them.
I don’t just mean your body – but your heart. When I make an effort to be present with my children, I enjoy them and our day much more. I soak them in, I’m inspired to create with them and most of all I don’t view them as a distraction to what I need to get done. THEY are what I need to get done – I was present.
Some of the things I have found that are common thieves of that, ever so sweet, present mindset with our children include:
- Scheduling too much time to unnecessary obligations which leaves us rushed and overly busy.
- Spending too much time on social media when they are present. Our time and frame of mind gets quickly off them and distracted to what others are doing or a project we need to plan.
- Simply not being close to them as we go about our day. I have found that if I physically get into their little world by crawling in their fort made of sheets and welcoming them to get into my world by letting them “help” me with the laundry, it knits our worlds together and feels very natural to be present in the moment when you are close to each other.
When I am present with my children I can appreciate the moments more. The day to day unfolding of silly, playful, messy, cute and not-so-cute moments are before me and then, of course, I want to capture them to remember forever.
photo credit: Kristin Rogers
I use my iPhone to capture our days. I have found that no moment is too small or insignificant to want to remember. Playing, eating a bowl of cereal, doing chores, rolling around in the grass, taking a bath, books we’re reading and messes we’ve made…. I want to remember it all. I may forget why I walked into a room or where I set my glasses, but I always know where my iPhone is to whip out and snag the shot.
Ideally the more natural and nonintrusive way of going about this is best. Most of my pictures are natural moments that I simply take as they happen and some are ones that I have created.
When I say “created” I simply mean I asked them to sit, stand or play in a particular area. I still look for pretty light, fun angles and quickly kick out of the frame a distracting object. All this is usually not distracting to what is naturally happening so I don’t feel I am disturbing the real moment (though I am totally guilty at times of disturbing a moment). But when my daughter has a yellow tutu on dusting and happens to be 2 feet away from an amazing back lit window shot opportunity…. a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.
photo credit: Kristin Rogers
I then will throw it into one of my two favorite Apps which are Cameramatic or VSCOcam to get the look/color I want and then straighten or sharpen as needed in PhotoForge2. Wala! If I want to post it to Instagram, it’s ready to go so I do not apply any filters on what I already did. Quick and fun!
As moms, we can tend to separate ourselves from these moments in a couple ways. We can get so busy documenting the moment that we aren’t present in them. We need to snag the shot, tuck that phone back into our pocket and get right back in it with our kids.
We also either forget or absolutely refuse to be in some of the pictures too. I’m sure that when our children get older, they would love to see the face of their mother in their pictures. We are connected to so many of their memories – I’m sure they would love if we could remember, or lay aside our insecurities, to be present in them too. Plus, it’s really fun to look back years later and laugh at our funny hair and “stylish” sweaters.
The effort to be intentional and present with your children is worth the sacrifice, you will enjoy your day and children more. With that frame of mind you will be aware of those sweet simple moments which will in turn move you to want to capture it. Your heart, relationship and pictures will thrive!
Question of the day
What percentage of the time do you actually make it into the photo with your family? (Confession time, as the designated family photographer I’d say my number’s about 10%).
Kristin Rogers is a stay at home, homeschooling mom of 2 girls ages 4 and 7. She’s also a professional photographer based in Southern California and a teacher at The Define School. Her heart does a “pitter-patter” for nature, adoption, reading, coffee, thrift shops, messy hair and her husband.