This is my battle cry for the summer – Moms, Get in the picture!

It has taken me living my whole life to realize the importance of this simple thing.

I have a master’s degree in documentary video. When I was in school, I was PAINFULLY shy. I was that person who would sit there agonizing for 10 minutes about how to start a conversation with the student next to me even though we had known each other for the whole semester. And I HATED being on camera!

However, 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. 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. 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. Personal stories, her talking to the camera sharing things about her life and her opinions.

RyanEdit Video Blog from 2014

Fun fact: Ryan went on to make video blogging into a career –

I thought “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 raealizing that I knew the other video bloggers but they didn’t know me, just Mike. I started wishing they knew me too, and slowly started making small appearances on camera.

Serra makes an appearance on camera in her 2005 video blog

As you can see I was a reluctant participant at first…

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 because it’s ok to brag about them, but we don’t want the attention to be on us…

Maybe you think that it’s selfish to be in the spotlight like that.  Or you are afraid you don’t look good. Or you 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! Your family, and especially your kids want you to be present. You are such an important part of their everyday life! It’s confusing when you are missing from the photos.

Photo of my husband and I playing and laughing with our son at 6 months old

It is super important to us to have pictures that illustrate the love that we have in our family.

I know what this is like. I know that as a photographer, unless I make a point of it, I never end up in picture.

I have gotten in the habit of handing the phone to my husband and saying “I want one too!” whenever I find myself taking pictures of him and the baby.

an image my husband took of me and my son upon request

An image my husband took of me and my son upon request

But sometimes you need more than that. Sometimes the story is about all of you together in one moment.

I adopted my son in November. We had waited 3 years to meet him and the day had finally come.

This was big. This was one of those pivotal moments we will be telling him about over and over again.

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. I didn’t want to be distracted trying to document it at the same time. I wanted to make sure it was true. I wanted to make sure it was beautiful.

The moment we first held our son in the hospital he was 2 days old.

The moment we first held our son in the hospital he was 2 days old.


He was just about the most beautiful thing we’d ever seen.

This was not a situation to rely on selfies, or to hand the cell phone to a caseworker who has no training in photography.

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. That’s why I have developed this 4 Easy Steps to Taking Better Pictures program.

I’m saying this because You need to be present in your pictures!

Sometimes, that means teaching your partner or a friend how to take decent photos – and ASKING THEM TO DO IT –  and sometimes that means hiring a professional.

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