The Case of the Missing Mama

“What I really need out of this shoot is a good picture of me that documents that I was here too.” Even now, weeks later, the plea made from a newly-postpartum mama rings in my head. You want all the photos of your new baby, and you take them – with your partner, with siblings, by themselves, and in awkwardly-positioned selfies (how many chins do I have?!) with your phone. But a decent, or even GOOD photo of you with your kid(s)? That’s hard to get on your own. Even in my house, where the camera never gets put away, we still have a constant case of the missing mama. I still have to say “take a picture of me with your phone” every now and then so that I get documented with the kids.

It’s not too much to ask, to want to be documented. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get “the best” picture, to only have our picture taken when we’re done up or wearing normal clothes (how often is that happening these days?). Time passes and suddenly you’re having to scroll back months on your phone to find a picture of yourself with your children. (I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else.)

How to combat the case of the missing mama – other than hiring a photographer to follow you around – isn’t easy, but the steps are simple:

  • Learn how to use the timer on your phone. Nearly all phones have a self-timer feature in the camera settings. Look for it, learn how to turn it on and off, and then use it! Set your phone up on a nearby table or shelf and get in the picture. Practice – your first shots might not be great, but with practice you’ll be able to do it faster and better.
  • Don’t pose people. If a picture of the kids playing on the floor while you drink coffee in a bathrobe at 2pm is your life right now, document that life. Embrace it. If your child is sick and just wandering around the house crying for days on end, maybe you want to document that. Maybe.

  • Similarly to the above, stop caring about looking perfect. Done is better than perfect. A picture of you with your kids looking like you do daily is better than no picture while you wait for a perfect opportunity that may never come.
RVA lifestyle photography
Phone, in selfie mode, on a 5 second timer. Posed/not posed.
  • Put a weekly reminder on your calendar to take a picture. Change it up so it happens different times/days during the week so you don’t get complacent and ignore the prompt, or get the same picture every week. Try a picture at breakfast one week, then a picture on a walk or midday break the next, for example.
  • Show your partner how to use the camera and get them to take more photos of you. If all of the pictures they take of you are blurry or have their finger over the lens, show them how to do it so they get better shots. (Here’s a post with a couple of tips on getting better phone pictures.)

I hope these help motivate and encourage you to get in the frame, someway, somehow. Your kids deserve to see how you cared for them when they were little.

As always, hiring a photographer on a regular basis will help ensure that you have good photos of you with your kids. Don’t want a bunch of posed, forced photos? That’s great! Me neither. Even a 30-minute mini session in your backyard can document a piece of your life and help you stay in the picture. Send me a message and let’s talk about what you want to remember.

For those wondering, she’s not feeling great, but nobody’s torturing her.

Richmond family photographer