There’s a possibility that is near and dear to my heart that I want to share…
May I tell you a personal story?
I have a master’s degree in documentary video. When I was in school, I was PAINFULLY shy. I was the type of student who would agonize for 10 minutes trying to decide how to talk to the student sitting next to me even though we’d been in class together all quarter.
It was 2004, and I was fascinated with the concept of video on the internet. I was dating someone at that point who was the epitome of social extrovert and he made friends with someone on a plane who was doing a video blog. It’s hard to imagine, but in 2004 putting any kind of video on the internet was somewhat revolutionary, so he told me I needed to meet this woman! She was one of the very first video bloggers, and her video blog was just like you would imagine. It was her talking to the camera sharing things about her life and her opinions.
Here’s a still of what it was like. (I know, by now you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this… I promise it’s going somewhere!)
My first thought was, “Wow – I would never do something like that.”
But my super outgoing boyfriend said, “Hey, it will be so good for your thesis to be involved in this revolutionary community! What about you do the technical part and I’ll be on camera and we’ll do a video blog together.”
So that’s what we did… for a few months… until we started to become close with the other video bloggers in the community. Eventually I started thinking I wished I could be more present in the videos and slowly started making small appearances on camera.
The more present I was in the community the less self conscious I was and the more I realized that I was a part of the story too.
This is what I want for all of you.
As moms, we tend to stay behind the camera. We take a lot of photos of our babies, though. It’s ok to brag about them, but we don’t want the attention to be on us…Maybe we think that it’s selfish to be in the spotlight like that. We don’t want to be seen as needy.
What we aren’t realizing is how selfish it is to pull ourselves out of the story! Our family, and especially our kids, want us to be present. We are such an important part of their everyday life! It’s confusing when we are missing from the photos.
By learning to take good photos, having fun, and building community with others who share the same passion you can make the same transition that I made in grad school.
You will understand that you belong in the story.
Now that I’m a mom, I know that because I’m also a photographer I rarely end up in pictures.
I have gotten in the habit of handing the phone to my husband and saying “I want one too!” when I take photos of him and my son together…
But sometimes you need more than that. Sometimes the story is about all of you together in one moment.
We adopted our son in November, 2014.
We had waited 3 years to meet him, and we only had 2.5 weeks to plan for the actual day. This little guy would be born into the world and spend his first 48 hours with his birth mother, and then we would drive to Springfield and meet him for the first time before welcoming him into our home.
This was big. This was the kind of thing we needed to remember. This was one of those pivotal moments that will define the rest of his life.
Even though I’m a professional photographer, and I know I could get some great photos, I hired another professional to come out with us because I wanted these images for our family. I wanted our son to see us meeting him where he was for the first time, and not distracted trying to document it at the same time.
This was not a situation to rely on selfies, or to hand the cell phone to a caseworker who has no training. This was important.
You can’t do it all yourself.
I’m not saying this because I don’t think you are capable of taking a good picture – I know you are.
I’m saying this because You need to be present in your pictures!