Mamas, we’ve all got ’em. Many of us adorn the title ourselves with exhausted pride. The fact is, the world is looking to mothers to lead the way, to raise up compassionate and thoughtful children, and to inspire a graceful strength everywhere we go. That beauty deserves to be immortalized in photos well.
So whether you are a mother, a spouse of a loving mother, a child of a mother, or a professional who works with mothers, here are some shooting tips to get you taking more meaningful photos.
No.01Tell Your Mother's Story
I am currently planning out a huge project that involves getting MY mama on camera. With my mother-in-law in the nursing home battling early-onset-Alzheimer’s, I do my best to not take for granted having my mother’s vibrant personality still in-tact. She was a teen mom, so she is still young enough to run around with my children. She is passionate in her hobbies, enthusiastic about food, and head over heels for her grandbabies.
Here’s my theory – when we start photographing our own mother regularly – we’ll start to understand the kind of images our children will want of us when they are grown. We can then start photographing our clients in that way, now, while their children are still young.
No.02Get to Know Her
I spend a TON of time before my sessions getting to know my clients, and letting my clients in on my life as well. When I have a personal connection with my clients our time together doesn’t seem rushed, we both give ourselves permission to have fun, and let our walls down.
Natural connection produces natural emotion and when we can get to the emotions that our clients express naturally, the emotions their children see day in and day out, the more honest and impactful the galleries will deliver will be.
No.03Get In the Frame
If you are a mother yourself, getting in the frame is an act of love! The time spent on insecurities about the “extra” pounds, skin, wrinkles, grays, etc., is time wasted. Our children see every last of our imperfections, and the physical ones are rarely the ones impacting their lives. Here are three mini-tips to get you in the frame
Use a Self Timer– During nap time, while the kids are at school, shoot, when you’re hiding from them in the bathroom, start practicing getting in the frame. The cheapest way to do this is utilize shelves, furniture, or stacks of books and your self timer. If you get sick of running back and forth to your camera, it may be time to upgrade to a tripod and remote.
Self portraiture gives you the opportunity to express a side of you your children may not normally see, or understand, and gives you the opportunity to produce images that convey the way you’d like to be seen.
Read more: Photography Project Idea – Portraits of Me
Hand the Camera over to spouse or child – Once I had a trustworthy hand/neck strap for my camera, and my daughters started exhibiting relatively stable fine motor skills (around 5/6) I started handing over the camera to them. It gets them involved in the process and they are absolutely giddy about it.
I do the same with my husband if I’m trying to get a creative angle that a tripod won’t accommodate. My husband recently admitted to me (after 7 years of putting up with this!) that it took him many years to be comfortable with that request. But after completing my first year of 365, he got it and is now more than happy to step in when I need him.
Hire a Pro – while this is applicable to every family, I find that it is particularly hard to convince *professionals* of the importance of paying for (with real life dollars, not a barter) a photographer whose work you love and who you trust will capture your family as you see them. Getting the experience of working with another professional will give you some great insight as to what your clients go through when they hire you!
And if you aren’t a pro, building a relationship with a photographer who you can return to every year or two will ensure you beautiful memories from a different point of view that capture your children’s growth in size and personality, and your aging seasoned with wisdom and confidence.