7 Tips To Be In Your Own Family Photos

Jun 27, 2024

It has been 34 years since I lost my father. I was 4 years old and I do not have many memories of my dad. However, having lost my dad at such a young age, I know firsthand how important family photographs are. How important it is to see your past selves, your parents, and other loved ones in them. Being a keen photographer, my father left us with hundreds of photographs. Thankfully, he is also in some of them himself. These photographs of him give me an insight into what he was like as a person. They also show me that he truly loved us, his family. These still images have become my memories and helped me grieve as a child.

In most households, one person often takes on the role of family photographer, and more often than not, it’s mom. This means you’re capturing all those precious moments but are rarely in the photos yourself.

Think about it – your children and grandchildren want to see YOU in those memories too! So today, with this article, I want to urge you to step into the frame. To welcome those photographs with you in them as these will one day be so valuable to your children. Here are some tips to help you get into the frame and be visible in your family photos.

I am in my own family photo by including my own legs with my child's while we were in the hammock.

Tips on Being Visible in Your Family Photos

You might wonder how you can step into the frame and be part of this visual family legacy. I want to suggest you think outside the box. You can be in the photograph in many different ways, and these do not have to be difficult or expensive. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Set Up a Timer: Use the timer function on your camera or smartphone. Set it up on a stable surface or tripod and jump into the shot!
  • Include Your Shadow: Start small by including your own shadow in the photographs you take of your children when they are playing outside.
  • Reflective Surfaces: Catch a reflection of yourself in a window or mirror.
  • Parts of Your Body: Include a part of your body in a photograph, like your feet standing next to your children playing on the floor or your hand holding your little one’s hand during a walk.
  • Hand Over the Camera: Hand the camera to someone else, even if that means asking a stranger on the street.
  • Family Selfies: Take family selfies with your mobile phone or use the self-timer function on your camera.
  • Professional Photo Sessions: Hire a documentary family photographer for a ‘day in the life’ session. They can document your beautiful everyday moments from sleepy morning faces to the last snuggles at bedtime.

It is up to you which ways you want to use to get into the frame. I am just here to encourage you to make an effort in doing so. To remind you that it is important not to be absent in your family’s visual history.

Holding my baby's hand to include it into my family photo to show I their mother was there too.

Let Go of Perfection

As a family documentary photographer and filmmaker, I am used to documenting my own and other families. However, I only started stepping into the frame myself 4 years ago, and it has been such an empowering journey. It is about telling my own story, accepting myself, and making sure my son can see his mother in photographs that are meaningful to us.

My most important tip from what I have learned so far is to let go of wanting it all to look perfect. It does not matter if you haven’t combed your hair, you look exhausted, or that you are not happy with parts of your body. I completely understand those feelings and thoughts, as I have these too. Instead, it is important to realize that these things will not matter to your children when they look at those images. They will only see their parent whom they love very much. How you looked will most likely not even matter to yourself in a few years’ time! I promise you that the more you get into your family photographs, the easier it will get.

Photographs with you in them are truly one of the greatest gifts you can give your children. Death is still such a taboo topic, something we do not like to talk or think about too much. However, death is what makes living all the more special, and we better embrace it as part of our lives. Embrace that one day, how horrendous the thought might be, we will not be here on this earth with our children. By photographing your family and including yourself in these photos, you will give your children a visual and physical legacy of their childhood and of all the grown-ups who cared for them!

Moms be in your family photos by including your own shadow as I did here with my son.

Let’s make sure you part of the story!

Want to have me take photos with you in them too? Contact me to set up a non-salesy call in which you can tell me more about your family and the memories you want to have captured and for me to explain my processes and pricing. I can’t wait to get to know you and help you be part of your families visual history!

London Family Photographer's self-portrait of her sleeping with her child.

P.S. Remember, this is important every day, but especially now that summer is here. As you make memories on trips and holidays, make sure to include yourself in those moments. 🌞📸


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