Last year, I came to the hard realization that I wasn’t present in hardly any photos with my kids.
It broke my heart, made me cry, made me mad and then lit a fire under
my behind to take action. Here I was, this professional photographer, capturing these perfect moments for complete strangers and not taking the time to document my OWN moments.
The very first blog post featuring some of my first images that sparked #thedocumentedphotographer self portrait series can be found HERE.
Here I am ONE year later…and I can honestly tell you that this has been LIFE CHANGING. It has become a regular part of our lives. These images hang in my home as a daily reminder. A reminder to get in the picture. A reminder that our crazy, messy moments are truly beautiful. No bra and all. My children and husband don’t think I’m crazy anymore when I yell out “OMG…I’ll be right back” and come around the corner with a tripod/camera in hand and they don’t care about the looks we get from strangers anymore. It’s our life. And dag on it… It will be documented.
The images below are my recap of the year 2015 and #thedocumentedphotographer self portrait series. Most images were taken with the ISO cranked up hella high….with the 35mm Sigma Art lens…..and 10 second timer in camera.
Mixed in with the images are tips & tricks that I’ve used and learned along the way. I hope after reading this and seeing my images….you are fired up and inspired to start your own self portrait series. You deserve to be documented.
Probably the most IMPORTANT starting point is to have your camera out and ready. Because if it’s ready to go, you no longer have the excuse of missing the moment because you took too long to get it all together. Have have your cf card/sd card in the camera and ready to go, have your lens on and ready (I use a wide angle 35mm), and have your ISO already set (since most of my self portraits are done inside, I keep the ISO around 2000). Taking these measures beforehand saves me precious time when those beautiful moments arise.
Invest in a tripod OR learn to use your surroundings as a makeshift tripod. You don’t have to spend hundreds on a super fabulous tripod (I spent $60) but it is important to do the research and make sure it will be able to hold the weight of your camera and lens. If you don’t have the money to invest in a tripod right now, look around your room and find something sturdy to put your camera on. (Think dresser, kitchen table, kitchen counter, toilet with lid down, a stool, the truck tailgate….the possibilities are endless) The tripod is now a permanent fixture in my living room, it’s always out and ready, waiting for the perfect moment to arise.
Switch that Timer on (all dslr’s should have it). Once you turn your timer on, go to your menu in the camera and set how much of a delay you’d like (2 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, etc). I’ve found that the 10 sec delay is adequate time to press the shutter and get into the frame. BUT if you’re wanting a bit more time and also wanting to have control over when you push the shutter then a wireless remote may be the perfect solution for you. They are relatively inexpensive and are pretty nifty gadgets. AND they are super perfect for taking repetitive shots and not having to get back up from your position and physically press the shutter.
Practice on nailing the focus! This can be tricky at first but you can do it! One way is to put your focal point on an object on the EXACT focal plane you plan to be on. Then you position yourself on that same focal plane for the picture (this makes you in focus). Another way is to put your focal point on a person (preferably someone who can stay still and take direction; an older kid or your husband) and then put yourself smack dab down beside them (making you in focus as well).
Most importantly, embrace YOUR moments. Document them. If you slightly miss the focus, it’s okay! That’s still ONE more picture of YOU present with your kids or loved ones. Anticipate those sweet moments and capture them. Plop your butt right on down beside your sweet baby boy playing trucks and play too 🙂 Photograph your morning routine, snuggles and bath time. Don’t worry about getting everybody to look and smile at the camera. Aim for interaction. Tickle that baby, sing, dance and act a fool. Bet those will be the pictures you come to love the most 🙂
You are loved beyond measure by your family and 20 years from now you will long to have tangible proof of those sweet but fading memories. Grant yourself the grace and permission to get your butt up and get yourself in the picture. Please don’t let your insecurities of weight, bad hair, no bra or no makeup stop you from documenting your life and your love.
You deserve to be #thedocumentedphotographer.