Getting In Photos With Your Kids Doesn't Have to Be So Hard

Have you ever gone on vacation and gotten back only to realize you have just one (or no) photos with yourself in them!? It's not a great feeling for us and our kids will be devastated down the line. Maybe you have a lot of mental talk about your appearance or you just feel too tired to want to get in front of the camera. Whatever this narrative is, just let it go. Let go of perfection and embrace the fact that you deserve to be in photos with your kids no matter what life is like for you now. I've put together a few quick and easy tips to ensure that getting in photos with your kids does not add more stress and overwhelm to your already full plate.

1.Take the Selfies!

Selfies get a bad wrap, but really they are a fantastic way to get in the photo too! Here are a few tips to make selfies the best!

  • Chin down, camera up. This gives you the most flattering angle!
  • Look for great light! Harsh midday light can give you awful raccoon eyes. Take a selfie in softer light or find some open shade to snap that selfie. Try and avoid fluorescent lights in indoors (or at least head towards a window to maximize the natural light)
  • Flip your phone around and use the camera at the back! While the front makes a selfie easier to see, the quality of photo is way better using the camera on the back side of your phone.
  • Skip the flash (unless you are really in deep darkness)! I also try to skip live photos and use the timer to get the best images.
  • Pay attention to your background. If you have the camera above you, this is a great way to minimize clutter and distractions. If you are out and about, look for colorful walls or even just a clean wall with nice textures.
  • Vary your poses. Smile and look at the camera for one, but take another right before or after where y'all look at each other and laugh and connect or give silly faces. Take the photo that someday you will say, "Yes! That was SO us!"

2.Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Ask Somebody

Being here in the Pacific Northwest, I feel like I am completely surrounded by introverts. I also feel like after over a decade and a half here, even I have almost become one. Even I really don't like asking strangers for things (although for me it's harder on the phone than in person, but that's another story). Yet, this is one of the easiest ways to get in photos with your family! Not only is it easy, but there is no reason you can't give the person a little direction of how you'd like it taken. We often don't want to impose on people, yet sometimes it's less awkward to give people a bit of direction. They feel more successful that way and are often happy to oblige.

  • Tell this person which direction you'd prefer (landscape or portrait or both) and you can even ask them to hold the camera at a bit of an angle if you have one in mind. Eye level is great or slightly above looking a bit down at you all works nicely too.
  • Asking somebody doesn't necessarily mean a stranger! When you are out with extended family or with your partner, take turns getting in a photo with your kids!
  • If it is a stranger, offer to take a photo of them too! This gesture goes a long way and people are usually very happy to trade off.

3.Prop up your Camera or Invest in a Tripod

Remember how the back of your phone takes better quality images than the camera on the front of your phone? This is why it's nice to prop up your camera or even invest in an inexpensive tripod.

  • Propping up your camera can be as simple as wedging between two rocks or finding a bench. You will definitely struggle with a great angle doing it this way, but getting in the photo is the most important thing...not just having a great angle.
  • There are so many inexpensive and easy tripods now a days. Here are a few of my favorites. There is the classic selfie stick or a flexible tripod.
  • If you are actually using a non-phone camera like a mirrorless or a DSLR...grab a remote! My number one trick for using a camera remote is to let your kids use it and have fun with it and be in control. This often makes for hilarious photos.
  • You might also be able to use your phone as a remote like I do with the Canon connect app. Check with your camera brand to see if there is an app that includes the option for bluetooth syncing in an app. This is the best way I use my own camera to get in photos with my kids.
  • Use window reflections and mirrors to your advantage! Put yourself in them if your kids are around.

4.Hire a Professional!

If all else fails or if you just want to elevate those images of you all together, hire a professional! Even the professionals hire a professional for family photos because sometimes it's less about getting the technical components correct and more about having that extra person to engage you and your kids together. I try to hire someone once a year, yet you figure out what is right for your family. Some families do every other year, some do only at major milestone lifecycle events, and some do a Year in the Life package each year. If the point is to ensure you are getting in special photos with your kids more regularly than keep that in mind when making an intentional plan.

Not all professional photos have to be super formal or stiff. If you aren't feeling a studio vibe to document you all together, some professional photographers like myself offer Real Life photo sessions that lean more towards a documentary approach of you all together, doing those regular every day things that you never want to forget.

Your Kids Deserve to See You in Their Memories

Be many times have you put off jumping in the photo with your kids because you aren't at your ideal weight? What about because you didn't have make-up on yet? Because you were having a bad hair day? Because you had bags under your eyes from sleep deprivation? The list of reasons we tell ourselves it's not the day or time to hop in the photos with our kids is endless.

Let me remind you who these photos are really for. Nine times out of ten, these photos are just for you and your family! Think of the things you will have if you jump into those photos:

  • strength
  • courage
  • effort
  • love
  • fun
  • play
  • beauty
  • hard work
  • pride
  • joy
  • glow
  • and so so much more

Let your family look back on all of those things some day. They are likely to be reminded of how they felt (safe, happy, loved, etc.) when they were with you. And how can we hide behind the camera avoiding that outcome?