Janet and Liana from Mum the Photographer are multi-talented women – mothers, bloggers and photographers – and they think mums should grant themselves one special present this Mother’s Day … not just a photo of their children but a photo of them with their children.
Too often, we self-consciously remove ourselves from a photo opportunity so that our “imperfections” aren’t captured. But in a few years when you and your children look back on the photographic memories you’ve created it will be sad not to have been a part of it. So let’s all be “brave” together and forget about our hips, arms and shapeless eyebrows (or whatever your hang-ups might be) and get in the frame too this Mother’s Day!
Of course you can take this photo anywhere – I love an impromptu Instagram selfie with the kids as much as anyone – but with a very small bit of thought you can set yourself up for a lovely family photo that will be special now but grow exponentially with the years. Here’s how…
First of all, decide when you want to take this photo and lock that time away. To get your family on board why not tell them that this is a special present for you, rather than just springing the mini-shoot on them. This year, I’ve already written to my family asking for this present!
Also think about where you want this photo taken. Since this is to be something special for you, choose a location that means something to you. It might be your garden, a room in the house that you love, or a park you spend time at together.
The light at different times of the day will make a difference to your photo. Photos taken outside are generally best at dusk when the light is golden. If you are thinking about taking a photo inside your house consider when the light is best in that room. In my home, the lounge room has good morning light, and my bedroom has good afternoon light.
The background is going to have an impact on your photo. Ideally try to minimalise what’s in your background as then there will be less chance of distraction. Consider moving things around to get the best “set-up”.
If you Google “what to wear in a photo” you will get no shortage of advice. So here’s mine … Wear what makes sense for your family. Don’t buy things just for a photo because you read about it on Google, but think of your family’s style and dress accordingly.
Another idea is to coordinate a colour or two that pulls people together. By this, I don’t mean everyone wears the same colour, but perhaps repeat the colour in a small way across a few outfits. Lay some outfit choices out on your bed and see what you think looks good. If you have a child that you know is going to have firm views on what they want to wear, talk to them about some options and then co-ordinate others’ around them. Also consider where you are taking the photo and have your clothing colour different to the background. For example, if you’re going to be in a green garden, choose something other than green clothes, so you don’t blend you into the background!
When it comes to taking the actual photo, set up your scene and camera before you call the kids in. Give them as little time as possible to become bored. Remind everyone that this is the special gift you want for Mother’s Day. If it’s your camera that you’re passing to someone else, have it set up for them to just push a button. Or try out the timer function on your camera.
Not every photo needs to have everyone looking at the camera. Get a funny conversation going and capture the real interaction between everyone. Family photos tend to look the best when everyone is close, so squeeze everyone together without gaps. You can see some great examples posing together on our Pinterest board.
While you might have a brilliant SLR, and all the enthusiasm in the world, be prepared that it mightn’t all run to plan if the kids aren’t in the mood or inclement weather sets in. You know your children best so if you think the timing isn’t right call it quits and try again later. That’s the best thing about being a Mum the Photographer.
And if you’re in the market for a professional family photo shoot, Momento recommends members of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography as they’ve been put through their paces and they have the accreditation and skills to style, produce and capture images you’ve never even dreamed of.
Mum the Photographer is an online community for parents who like tips to help them create beautiful photographic records of their children. Check out their blog for more tips and even sign up for updates straight to your inbox.