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Get in Photos with Your Family: There are NO Second Chances


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Today’s message to photographers: “Make sure you get in photos with your family.”

As a photographer, I prefer being behind the camera than in front of it. I often decline getting in photos with my kids.

Why? Well, for me, I always think… “once I lose weight or look better, then I will get in photos.” Well I am 40, and I am not getting thinner (one can dream) or younger. And it is selfish of me not to get in photos and snapshots. If something happened to me, my kids would want to look in albums to remember me, see me on vacations, and see me at their important events.

It does not mean I need to get in hundreds of images, nor do they need to be portraits.  But I need to get in more snapshots.

So I propose this: In 2012, I will make sure to get in more photos with and for my family. I will not worry if I have a few extra inches on my body or my makeup is not perfect. I will stop worrying about the photo someone takes of me having excellent composition, perfect lighting, or even having tack sharp focus. I am not doing this for me – I will do it for my children, my husband, my parents and all others who love me unconditionally.  My children love me no matter what. They do not judge or care what I look like in a picture. They only care that there’s a photo to begin with.

What sparked this post…

A mom of a kid in my daughter’s class sent me this photo below from Halloween and I thought – wow – I need to save and print this picture. It is one of the few from 2011 taken of me with one of my daughters. This was already on my mind from the summer.  My twins went to overnight camp and wanted to bring a current photo of both them and me. We could not locate anything recent.  I cannot let that happen again.

If you want to make this same commitment for 2012, leave a comment on this post.

Halloween-Ellie-and-Mommy-web-600x400 Get in Photos with Your Family: There are NO Second Chances MCP Thoughts


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  1. Maria Gair on December 2, 2011 at 9:16 am

    So true! We took a photo recently and I am in it. It is so rare, and I need to do it more. Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. becky on December 2, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I’m committed! I have hardly any pictures of me and my kids. . .

  3. Rebecca on December 2, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Wow…this really hit home. I barely have any pics of me, unless they are ones I have taken of myself and there are even fewer of me with my kids. at least in the last 3 years…I am gonna make it my vow to change this starting with this holiday season and new year. I think as photographers we are perfectionist and we forget that the real reason we take photos is to capture memories…

  4. Rhonda Elder on December 2, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Well, I think you and your daughter are beautiful! That’s a great commitment you made though.

  5. Donna on December 2, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Jodi, you look beautiful! & yes as a photographer & a mum I make sure I get in at least some photos. Especially the important events. I couldn’t care what anyone else thinks of my big bum or big boobs, the love of my daughter & family is more than skin deep. Us mums rock no matter what shape or size we are. Make sure you get in front of that camera. When you are 80 & saggy & baggy, you will look back & think “what an absolute babe I was back then” 🙂

  6. Southern Gal on December 2, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I’m in.

  7. Linda on December 2, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I agree1 I actually started to do this the beginning of last year, and while I don’t really like photos of me if something happened to me I want her to have memories of me. Granted I don’t get to do it as often as I should, but I have made an effort to do it more if the opportunity arises. I will continue to do this for her.

  8. Linda on December 2, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I agree! I actually started to do this the beginning of last year, and while I don’t really like photos of me if something happened to me I want her to have memories of me. Granted I don’t get to do it as often as I should, but I have made an effort to do it more if the opportunity arises. I will continue to do this for her.

  9. Stacey S on December 2, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I will make an effort to be in more photos with my kids in 2012. It is so hard looking at myself in pictures, but as you said Jodie, my kids don’t care what I look like. They love me anyway and if something should happen to me I would want them to have pictures to help remember me. So thank you for your post.

  10. Caryn | Photography by Caryn on December 2, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Oh this is so me. I hate being in photos. I have a really bad body image. And yet I preach it to everyone else O_O Time to get in those shots! THANK YOU!

  11. Phyllis on December 2, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Thank you for the inspiration! My son is 7 months old and I have only a handful of pictures with me in them. Any tips on how a newbie mom could accomplish this with a self timer?

  12. Shelby Bennett on December 2, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I totally agree! Thanks for the reminder, I am definitely committing to this in 2012! (actually, I vow to start now 😉 )

  13. Priscilla on December 2, 2011 at 11:37 am

    So many of us can relate, including me. Thanks Jodi for the reminder. My babies are 1 and 2 and as much as I prefer being behind the camera, I want them to see how much I love being with them too…Happy Holidays!PS – I’m in…

  14. nicole on December 2, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I’m with you! I’ve recently had a cancer scare and can’t imagine my life not taking a few snapsnots with my kids as well!

  15. Sandy on December 2, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I am going to try for this too. I so wish I had more pictures of my mom and I (she has passed away). I will make an effort to be in some of the pictures and to ask for pictures of my husband and I together and with the kids. Even if you don’t like how you look in pictures it is absolutely true that someday you will be glad you ever looked this good, so don’t avoid it now, just think how good you will think you looked 20 years from now.

  16. Angie on December 2, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I love this. It is so true and I am so guilty of A. being the one who is most likely behind the camera and B. not wanting documentation of not looking like the skinny, vibrant, twenty something I was prior to having twins and another little guy! Thank you for your food for thought.

    • Marthe Bishop-McDonald on January 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      Angie, I feel exactly the same way. After having my twin girls and then my son I have extra “baggage” that embarrasses me. I used to have this idea that I would wait to get in more pictures when I “lose the weight” but what if I don’t get the chance?? That’s when I decided to take baby steps and just get in the photos… that way my babies will have some form of documentation of our lives together and how much my eyes were full of love and adoration for them. You can describe that but it’s not the same as seeing it.

  17. Sarah on December 2, 2011 at 11:54 am

    My first little one will be here in March….I have already told myself that we need to make sure to take as many photos of him with us as we can…. I dont wanna forget the newborn/baby stage….or any stage for that matter 🙂

  18. Steph on December 2, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I’m totally in. I have one photo of my family and I from the past year, and that is when I plunked my DSLR on the hood of my truck, hit the auto-timer, and ran to get in the photo from one of our camping trips. I was so pleased to have a whole-family photo for once!And by the way, Jodi, you *should* be in photos more often–you have a beautiful smile!

  19. Teresa on December 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    This is so spot on. I only ever have photos of me with my kids if someone else is taking photos with their camera! I had to search really hard recently for a photo of myself to add to a job application – I just didn’t have anything! I already promised myself that I will get in more family photos, and am recommiting now!

  20. Jessica on December 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Great advice for anyone! I can think of a handful of friends who would benefit from your inspiration. I’ll be passing the message on… Happy Holidays!

  21. Monica on December 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I’m in!! Usually I get in pictures just around the holidays, but I would love more snapshots of me and my kids. I am asking for a new point and shoot camera for Christmas so, my fingers are crossed!! If I get one it will make this commitment 100 times easier 🙂 Getting out my DSLR and tripod is a hassle and I always want to make sure the picture looks perfect. I need to learn to not let the snapshots fall victim to the delete button in 2012. Good luck to everyone on their commitment!!!

  22. Leanne on December 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    So interesting you brought this up, I am so busy photographing other families and making their holiday cards that it is now Dec.2nd and I haven’t even had a session done for my own family let alone have cards ordered.My 6 year old daughter actually asked me to have a mommy daughter photo session!

  23. Tracey Watson on December 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    I lost my mom a few years ago, Wanting so badly to see any picture of her I could get my hands on……was an eye opener to me, that I better get more pictures of myself with my children!!! you are beautiful, don’t be camera shy!!This is my mom, taken two months before her heart attack which took her from us way too early One of my most cherished possessions!!

  24. Heidi Wilson on December 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I too have many shots of my kids, husband, mom, etc but it’s like I don’t exist. My family usually doesn’t think of taking over the camera so I need to just set it on auto and hand it to them so I can be included. And if I really don’t like the way I look….well there’s always Photoshop!!! 🙂

  25. Marlo on December 2, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Last year a friend of mine told me I really needed to be on our Christmas card. It’s been several years since I have been, so this year I did it, and yes, I’ve started making an effort to get in some pictures for my family’s sake. 🙂

  26. Yolanda on December 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I’m in, too.

  27. Autumn on December 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    So true! I’ve come to the same conclusion recently. I’ve tried to make sure I get in at least one birthday shot and what not. My second actually just had a birthday and later that night I realized I forgot to get a pic with him. I will have to make a point to do it soon. My father died when I was just 15 so I know the importance of having these pictures, it saddens me that it took me so long to realize I wasn’t doing it for my children. At least you’ve decided to put your personal feelings aside now and get in those pics, good for you!

  28. Michelle Monson on December 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I would rather be behind the camera as well, but I do cherish those photos with me in them as well and you are right, we need them for others more than ourselves! I too would like to make this a goal of mine. Thank you for the reminder! You are beautiful and should be proud of your success! I would love to blog, but I am afraid to do it! Any suggesstions? Merry Christmas everyone!! Michelle MonsonMonson Photography

  29. Lorna on December 2, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I feel like I’m always taking the picture… I need more pics of me with family members. (grandkids :))

  30. julie on December 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    The only time I ever get a photo with me in it is when my photographer sister is around. Thanksgiving was one of those times this year. And a picture of me and my husband together? That is even more rare so I promise myself to at least hand my kids my camera, if nothing else, in 2012!!Julie

  31. Kristine on December 2, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I completely agree. I have just recently lost my mom. She passed away last November. I only have a few photos of us together, she hated getting in front of the camera because of how she looked. Near the end I got all of us together and took some photos. I did her makeup and dressed her in something nice – she loved it and I got the best photos of us together. Some that my kids will have forever to remember her by. Get in those photos whenever you can because we all won’t get the “last minute” chance. Life is too short to worry what we look like. I hate getting my picture taken too and much prefer to be behind the camera and I have to force myself. We never get those moments back! Thank you for posting this!

  32. yvonne campbell on December 2, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I soooooo AGREE 100%THAT TOO IS MY 2012 RESOLUTION!!

  33. April Yost on December 2, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    I’ve realized the same thing! I need to be in more photos. So I’ve done a bit of training with my husband and make a point to remember to hand over the camera occasionally so I will in photos too. Just last week I posted this photo on Facebook and my comment was that I truly treasure photos of me with my children as they are so rare.

  34. Mandy on December 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I have just read your post and you have me in tears. As a mum of 4 gorgeous kids, I also choose to be behind the camera than in front of it, for all of the reasons that you highlighted. You have just made me realise that it is actually important for my family to see me with them, even when I am no longer here. So, thank you I will make sure that this happens in 2012. Thank you!

  35. Nat on December 2, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Amen to that. I booked in for a family photo shoot with one of my colleagues as well. We have no photos of All of us all at the same time!.

  36. Daphne Ellenburg on December 3, 2011 at 7:00 am

    I had the same dramatic revelation in 2009. I talked to my husband, and told him we have so many amazing family photos that I’m never in. That year for Mother’s day, I received a fantastic tripod & remote control for my cameras. My husband also volunteers to take turns snapping at family functions. And as the the kids grow and look back on the photos of our life, they won’t ever wonder “where was Mom” 🙂 Jodi, it’s a great resolution for 2012! Here’s a snapshot from last Saturday.

  37. Linda L on December 3, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    A good reminder for us all! I hate myself in pictures but I also need to make myself just do it!! Life is short…………thanks for the nudge.

  38. Kim Martin on December 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    I had an experience like Tracey’s ^ when my father passed away suddenly in 2009. I went looking desperately to find a photo of us. And I am guilty of always staying behind the camera and avoiding photos with my daughter because of how I look etc. Odd that I never put those two thoughts together (seeing it from my daughter’s perspective). THANK YOU for this inspiration 🙂

  39. Emily on December 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    I’m in! And since I’m broadcasting this to the internets, this is contractually binding, right? :)Thanks for the reminder. Too true. This kind of reminds me of a Project52 that I saw a photographer do that was a pic with her and one of her kids each week. Such beautiful images!My mom was totally guilty of never getting in the picture. I have very few pictures of me with her. I can only think of one picture of just me with her and no other siblings. 🙁

  40. amyeireland on December 3, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    well said- must make the same commitment- i HIDE.

  41. Mandy M on December 3, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Wow! I’ve never thought I was being selfish by not getting in more photographs but it is SO TRUE! Thank you for smacking me into reality. My twins just turned two and there are so many “firsts” that I can’t go back and redo to be in the photograph. Count me in!!

  42. Rebecca F on December 4, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I’m in! My father in law passed away three years ago and as I was looking through our wedding pictures, I found some of him dancing with his daughters. I forwarded the pictures on to each of them, and they all responded how grateful they were for that picture! I’m going to make sure my kids have lots with me in them.

  43. Jen on December 4, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Realising that I was always the shadow in the picture (well, if the sun was behind me and my shadow even happened to make it into the picture!) I made a commitment to get into more pictures – I bought a $3 remote off of Amazon and got into a few pictures. Definitely worth the discomfort 😉

  44. Antonella on December 5, 2011 at 5:55 am

    I’m in too ! Very true.

  45. Antonella on December 5, 2011 at 6:53 am

    I’m in too!

  46. Rachel on December 6, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I totally agree! I too hate having my picture taken and always find a reason to stay behind the lens. I will do a better job in 2012 of being IN the picture with my family! Thanks for the post! 🙂

  47. Michelle K. on January 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I don’t make resolutions, but I do set goals. This was a goal for me last year, and something that I want to continue to improve upon. I was in some photos in 2011, and it’s going to be even more in 2012. And not just photos of me with my son….some photos of ME. It’s so hard, but I’m convinced it is worth it. I now use my iphone to take some shots, and I also hand my camera over to my hubby. I’ll sometimes ask him to get his p&s, and he’ll sometimes tell me that he’s comfortable using my camera. It just takes some training. Like you said, they don’t have to be perfect, they just have to have you in them. Good luck on your journey Jodi. You’re beautiful and your girls look so much like you. I can’t wait to see more shots of you! <3

  48. Nicole Leebeck on January 2, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    This is why I asked for a remote for my camera this year – Christmas day I took a picture of my mother in laws entire side of the family. Her father (my husbands grandfather) is nearing 90, lives in England most of the year and we aren’t sure how many more trips across the pond he will be able to make – the same with his wife – she is getting up there too and has been having all kinds of health issues. The images I took were on the front lawn of the original homestead (think 1800’s) is the most important picture I took to just about everyone. And I was Over the moon to be in it!

  49. Jolie on January 2, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    You are so right. I am always the one behind the camera, and I never want to get in! Plus, I just got braces put on, and I am doubly uncomfortable!! I will definitely try to do a better job. Thank you for the wonderful reminder!

  50. Lydia on January 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Yes, I will do better this year. I must. Thanks for the reminder.

  51. Diane on January 2, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I was the same way always the photographer never in the photos. Till I started scrap booking and realized there were no pictures of Me! From now on I make a point of having my husband and kids take pictures of me. I have even gotten good at using the timer and taking them of myself.

  52. Heatheran on January 2, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I’m in, too! Time is flying by…

  53. Dulce on January 2, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Thank you for posting this… I didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution this year. It has been years since I took a picture with my kids. My thoughts have been the same…”once I loose a few lbs.” but it hasn’t happen yet and the way I see it it’s not going to happen any time soon and if it does.. well I will have before and after pictures to see how big I was. And lot’s of memories to share with my children and hopefully to be passed on to my grand children and great grand children and so on… I think that this will be the greatest New Year’s Resolution I ever made. Again, Thank you Jodi! (BTW Love your stuff)Have a Fantabulous 2012!!! 🙂

  54. Lulu on January 2, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    You’re beautiful and I’m glad you have made this resolution now as you create memories with your twins. Times flies and moments can’t be re-captured. As a photographer, I don’t look at peoples sizes..but I see their eyes and the sentiments that are reflected within. Enjoy the new year and I’m wishing you a very successful 2012. Keep smiling!

  55. Beth on January 7, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    There are decades of my life in which there is no photographic evidence that I even existed. How I wish now that I had photos of a 20 or 30 year younger me! I was most certainly younger, prettier and thinner then, but seriously lacked self confidence. While I still cringe being in front of a camera, this Christmas season I bravely handed off my camera occasionally during the family gatherings so others could snap some pictures of me. I do exist, I was there, and 20 years from now I and my family will be able to look back and see how young, pretty and thin I was in 2011.

  56. Tracy on January 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Thank you for the inspiring words. Definitely stealing this as one of my resolutions.

  57. Marybeth on January 18, 2012 at 11:31 am

    My mother is gone, also, and I have just a couple photos of us together. Now that my boys are 16 and 20, I’ve been handing my camera over to my husband more so I can be in a shot or two! Thanks for the reminder; like does go by too darn fast! P.S… do you carry a tripod around? I do have a remote, but I haven’t used it yet (Nikon D90). Thanks!

  58. Michelle South on April 12, 2012 at 4:08 am

    Hi, I have been doing some research for my final major project for my BAFine Art. I have been looking at memories and their links to photographs. I have four children myself all boys 11,10 and twin 4 year olds. I came to the same conclusion. I hate having my photo taken because of all the reasons that you have mentioned. I am going to try and end my degree with some self portraits and possibly asking different members of my family to take some shots. The problem will then be the pictures making it through the edit. My other worry is that people don’t print out their shots and there are entire childhoods captured but held as virtual photo albums. Probably partly because so many images are taken. I have recently gone back to taking film shots which is so rewarding.

  59. Dianne on April 12, 2013 at 11:23 am

    This is SO true. My cousin died 8 years ago from breast cancer, barely having turned 41. She had a daughter and a son and I’m so glad for them that there were quite a few pictures of her in the scrapbooks she created. I think the only reason there are pictures of my with my boys in the past few years is because of my iPhone. But at least there are SOME. I need to do a better job, though, of getting into some of those snapshots – especially at family gatherings. I get pictures of everyone, but not me.

  60. diana klase on April 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I am in…I think about doing this daily. It’s been too long

  61. Facing The Lens on April 12, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Definitely something for me to think about. It’s so much more comfortable for me to be behind the lens as I’m always so fixated on how I look (or how badly I think I look, hah!)! It’s too late for this to be a New Year’s resolution, but it’s definitely going to be my resolution for the rest of the year! I vow to hand my camera over to a family member at least once during each get together. 🙂 Thanks for this great reminder.

  62. JOANNE on April 21, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Lesson learned! We are our own worst enemy aren’t we? However, you look great in this photo!

  63. Roderick McConnell on September 14, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I’ve just realized that I was on the same path. From here on, I’ll make an effort to get in more photos.

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