Getting in the Picture

If you’ve been around me long enough, you’ve probably noticed that I like to take pictures. A lot. You may have also noticed that most of these pictures are of my children, and if you’re my husband, you are often moderately annoyed by this. I can see how it can be bothersome…. me lugging around my camera, constantly interrupting the flow of whatever we’re doing to try to capture the moment. When at home, I usually have my camera in easy reach so I can pick it up at any time–and I often do during moments that may seem insignificant to most.

But, here’s the thing. I LOVE taking photos. When something special captures my eye… like good light, or a story unfolding before me, or a sweet but fleeting moment, I want to grab onto it.Β  I also really enjoy practicing, learning new techniques and improving my photography. I especially love it when someone looks at a photo I took and likes it. And finally… my kids are little now, but I know it’s not for long. I want to preserve every little detail of their childhoods. I want to remember how my son wrinkles up his nose and squints his eyes when he’s being silly, or what my daughter looks like when she looks up at me from just two and a half feet off the ground.

When I was younger I lived in the moment. But now that I have kids, and because they change so fast, it feels as if yesterday slipped out of my fingers before I really had a chance to savor it and tomorrow is coming up behind me like a freight train. So, if I photograph as many of these moments as I can before they zoom past me and are gone, I feel like I still have my fingers on them and that they’ve never really slipped out of my reach.

So, I’ve been taking a lot of pictures and I’ve really been studying photography and trying to improve my skills. As a result I already have many great photos of my kids, and they are only 3 and 1. The problem is, I am in few of these photos with them. Usually, if I’m in the picture, it’s because I’ve handed my camera over to someone else who probably said something like “How do I use this thing?” I also often forget that I have some custom setting set on my camera when I hand it over to the stand-in photographer, and as a result I end up with a not-so-great shot anyway because the settings weren’t right. How perfect would it be if I could take the photo and be in it at the same time?

Enter a tripod and wireless remote. Actually, I’ve had a tripod for years but it’s been sitting in its box in my basement. I used it maybe once or twice… a long time ago. But I read this article on tips for getting good family self portraits and I thought I’d give it a try. They recommended using a tripod along with a wireless remote shutter release, which aren’t expensive. All I needed to get was the remote, so I bought this one which was less than $25.

I’ve used the tripod/wireless remote combo several times lately. It’s actually a lot of fun. It takes a bit of experimentation, as I took several shots to get a few really good ones.Β  My son especially loves using the remote; you can see it in his hands in many of the photos. πŸ™‚

Getting a good picture of me and my two kids together was a challenge, but I got a couple of good ones with each one individually. Here are some of my favorites.

And, as any 3-year-old would be, my son was smitten with the wireless remote. He had a lot of fun with it. The best part is, it elicited a very genuine smile from him, which is often difficult for me to do. Here are some favorites of the 50-100 photos that he took with the remote.

I wish the focus was on his mouth instead of his shirt in this one, but I still love it.

About a week later we did the same exercise–with the tripod and wireless remote–but this time we were outside in the back yard. Again, my son wanted the remote and I had countless throw-away shots. But this one was a keeper.

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24 responses to “Getting in the Picture

  1. Awesome. Scott just upgraded my Camera but I can’ t have it until Christmas. New Telephoto lens and a smaller lens so I can take close up portraits of Em myself. I will be taking some classes in January and a remote is also on my list. Your pics are awesome.

    xoxo

  2. Great job, Jessica! These are absolutely priceless.

  3. Beautiful pictures Jess!

  4. Jess I’m so impressed by your pictures:) They are wonderful and love the ones of Declan with the remote!! And by far the last one is Still my favorite!! I’ve been trying to read up on different settings and tips as we talked but may need some lessons from you:-) Any excuse to get the kids together and use our cameras! Keep taking amazing pictures!! Hugs!

  5. emily lehman 10-21-11

    Jess you are doing a great job and pictures are a part of your life. I love pictures as you know and they will be your treasures some day and your children will thank you. Keep up the good work. I love your story that is so true!!

  6. It was so fun to read about the “woman” side of a Mom. We seem to forget ourselves so easily… I love that you have made sure to keep at least this one thing for you. πŸ™‚ The photos are beautiful, and the self portraits of Declan are priceless. **love**

    • Thanks, Marguerite! Yes, if I have any one thing just for myself, it’s this blog! πŸ™‚ Hopefully my kids will thank me one day. That will come after the stage where they’re embarrassed that I have a blog with so many pictures of them on it! πŸ˜‰

  7. I finally found time to get on this thing and couldn’t wait to read your blog. I also wanted to respond before I read other comments that were made. I wanted to respond right away because it moved my heart so much. Your writing amazes me…..it makes me just want to keep reading…..but the pictures (especially in this blog, especially of my grandson) make me speechless. The honesty of his expressions, the magic moments you have caught forever are all because of the love you put into this work. I love that this work of art makes you happy and you LOVE it…..and it shows. You have given me so many proud moments to cherish…..and this is just another wonderfully proud moment……I love you and the mother you are…..mom

  8. Great pictures Jess like the idea of the remote.

  9. Woman, great photo’s. I love the second one of Declan smiling.

  10. jess…loved your photos, declan is adorable with the remote…but what made me cry…real tears…was what your mom wrote in response to your entry. beautiful mothers…both of you.

  11. happyhooligans

    Love this post! It sounds like my life. I’ve recently discovered that I have a passion for photography. I’ve taken a course, and like you, love to experiment and learn new techniques. I’m always grabbing my camera at every opportunity too. At 11 and 14, my boys don’t really love that so much any more though. That’s why I take so many photos of my daycare kids. They love the camera. πŸ™‚ So happy that you left a comment on my blog tonight. It led me to yours!

    • Thank you for visiting! I enjoy your site. I found you on Pinterest, I think. I love all of the good ideas for crafty kid projects. Mine are 4 and almost 2, so your ideas are perfect! In fact, we tried your “stained glass painting” yesterday. They didn’t come out as pretty as yours, but we’ll try again sometime. πŸ™‚

  12. Pingback: Embrace the Camera: Me and My Girl | In Lehman's Terms

  13. Greay job Jess. Steve just got a new canon (video and still) don’t ask me the model #, but it was $$$, he claims he will use it for work. He spent all weekend testing it out on the kids, so I finally have some awesome shots. But once again, we are never in them πŸ™‚

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