Hey mama, get in the photo.

I've been asked a few times over the years how to take better "selfies" aka photos with YOU in them. It's not easy, but with a bit of practice and patience, it can defintely work out! A few pointers would be to dig out your "good camera" and figure out how to set the self timer mode on your camera. There are also self timer apps for your iPhone too. Put the camera somewhere sturdy (yes, I put my good camera right on the sandy ground for the above photo) Focus on something or someone. In the above shot I had Bryce and Elliot sitting already so I just focused on them. If you are doing it solo with your kids, just throw a doll or a chair or a pillow or anything really into the spot you will eventually be. Focus on the pillow or whatever it might be. I usually take a few test shots OFF of self timer mode, just to ensure I have the proper settings and exposure. Then set back on self timer, release the shutter (usually setting to the longest setting will give you enough time to get in) grab your baby/kids on the way and sit where the focus was (pillow, doll etc). I always leave the most reluctant child for last. Just grabbing at them at the last minute. Repeat times as many as you need to. Sometimes it just doesn't work out, in which case my advice would be to abandon mission and try again another day. Sometimes you get one... just one great shot, and thats all you really need. The above image was one of two photos taken. The first one is not even remotely good, the second... perfect. Don't try and force everyone to smile. Sing silly songs, talk about dinosaurs, tickle them or just engage your kids. Maisie loves looking at the photo after, and that helps get her going for the selfies. Using a tripod is of course ideal for some, but I never have it together enough to actually have my tripod either with us or out of the closet. I use chairs (turning a chair so the back of it is actually on the side) so you can set up the shot by looking in the viewfinder. I use the counter, a stump, driftwood, a log, whatever really. At home, I've also used a mirror before for them so I can make sure I don't look incredibly ridiculous. I'll set the camera up and then prop up a mirror in behind it, jump in the photo and make sure I don't have a double chin in the mirror (always my main concern).

The important thing mommy's is that YOU get in the photo? Why? Because this moment will not pass by again. Your kids will not EVER be this age again. Whether they are 3 or 30. Life is moving right along. If you think... "but I want to loose weight first, but I want to get my hair done, but I want to wait until I...." I promise you, you are doing yourself no favours by waiting. For one thing, there are no guarantees in life. For another, I've read many articles before on moms not getting in the photos and it is all just so sad. You gained weight having babies. So what. Me too. I gained 60 pounds with Maisie and a few more with Elliot. Am I my ideal 'weight' right now, not even remotely. But what does that mean? Really. Who cares. Get over myself. I have a body, it is healthy. Get over myself. I was talking to a few gals a while back, and one was talking about how she never wore tank tops because her arms were too big. I thought WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. I had never noticed her arms, ever and I've known her my entire life. Not one time, did I ever look at her and think... "wooaaaah better work on the tone in your arms". Never. Another one said she had never had a flat tummy, ones butt was too big, one hated her legs. I have my own insecurities as well. Isn't that ridiculous? Aren't we all just a little on the crazy side. I know the media has messed with us and that we have been programmed to think Barbie is the way to be... but people, ladies I'm telling you know... we are smart women. The media hasn't striped our ability to think for ourselves. All we need to do is stop focusing on what we think other people think is beautiful and just focus on what is truly beautiful. We grew human beings. In our bodies. Then we brought them into the world. A miracle in itself. Then we feed them, clothe them, love them when we are too tired to even love ourselves, we cut their nails, brush their teeth and hair. We find matching socks in an abyss of unmatched ones. We clean up their messes and their accidents. We try and feed them as healthy as we know how, we read stories, we make up silly games to make them smile. We dance around kitchens with them. We instil values in them daily. We correct them if they are mean, we teach and show them compassion. We take them to the water park, even though we really REALLY don't want to. We can do all of these things, for our children... but we can't be kind to ourselves, love ourselves and just get in the freaking photo??? This is your official lecture, get in the photo. If you hate yourself in photos, get over it. Do it for them. You don't need to hang every single one on the wall. But take a deep breath and get in the photo.

Take a few hours or minutes and figure out how to take a nice selfie of yourself (POINTERS HERE). Higher angles are better for double chins, (ps. EVERYBODY AND ANYONE has a double chin from the wrong angle. Yes, even celebrities have double chins. Don't believe me? Look for yourself HERE) If you don't love a certain part of you, hide it a little in the photo. Put a child on your lap and lean over them.

We are all so hard on ourselves. (I am no exception) as much as this is a pep talk to you, it is also my inner dialogue gently reminding myself. If we choose to see the beauty in ourselves, we focus on our own beauty instead of getting hung up on our flaws... we will be better off. After all, what we do is being carefully monitored by our children, and do you want your daughters and sons to hate what they look like? Or would you rather they grow up celebrating the amazing vehicle that they have to carry their soul around the world. I don't want her seeing me looking in the mirror and picking myself apart. I want her to see a confident mama who travelled the world on cruise ships. I want her to see someone who's made a living out of capturing the beauty. I want her to see that I have a good heart. I want her to see that my eyes are blue and full of love when I look at her. I want her to see that I. love. myself. Even if it takes us really trying at it. I'm pretty sure that if we can do a thousand things in a day for our kids, we can at least, be kind to ourselves and get in a few photos. Ladies, let this be your gentle reminder that YOU are beautiful. ox