When preparing for this article and searching my archives I realized how rarely I’m in front of the lens. Not just with my grandson, but in general. Like so many other moms and grandmas, I am the one who always has the camera in hand but never remembers to stop and get into the picture with her loved ones.
What Stops Us.
Many women (myself included), sometimes shy away from getting into the picture because of a bad hair day, not wearing makeup, or generally not feeling good about herself. Friends, we have to be kind to ourselves and remember that in twenty or thirty years your grandchildren will be so grateful to have a photographic record of your relationship. Some of my most treasured memories of time with my grandparents were documented in photographs. Even so, most were with my grandaddy because my grandmother was the one with the camera in hand.
Get in the Picture with Your Grandchildren
For those of you who are fortunate enough to see your grandchild on a regular basis, try getting shots of you doing something together that you do frequently. It can be anything. Maybe you like to make cookies, work puzzles, play games, garden, or something else. Remember, it’s not so much the activity but the memory you want to preserve and using a lifestyle approach can be a great way to capture the special times you share.
Our grandson spends most of his after-school time at our home and more often than not, it is just the two of us which makes getting an image of us together a bit tricky. It can be done with a little help from a tripod, remote trigger or timer, and practice. The most challenging aspect is getting your focal point set and this is especially true if your grandchild is prone to moving around often like ours is! Once you have your focus set, set the timer on your camera and go jump in the frame. Some models have the option to take a series of images when you use the self timer which helps the subjects forget about the camera. This is perfect for lifestyle images! If your camera has a wifi function there is a good chance there’s a phone app you can download and use to focus the camera and then release the shutter. It does take practice and I suggest practicing with just yourself in the picture until you get the hang of it because children can be a bit impatient with posing or waiting for you to figure out the settings.
In this example my focus fell on the Legos and Slurpee cup even though I was sure Caleb was in focus when I set the camera.
Another option is to hand your camera over to someone else to get a quick shot of you and your grandbabies. For control freaks such as myself, this is a harder thing to do than it sounds! In order to make things as easy as possible for the person you’re handing your camera to, get your settings in order before handing it over and asking them to “push the button.” Once your settings are set, you’ll want to give a quick and simple tutorial on how to take the picture. If you use back button focus like I do, you’ll want to show your shooter where that button is so he can focus.
Also, if you use center point focus tell your shooter where to place it so that the image is in focus. In this example, I coached my husband on how to operate my camera and I love the results! If you don’t have your good camera on hand or you don’t want to bother with a tutorial, your phone is always a quick and easy option.
And when all else fails, have a little fun and take a selfie with your grandchild! For those of you who have an articulated flip screen on your camera this can be a fun way to share your love of photography with your grandchild while capturing something silly.
My grandson loves to “do photography” with me and has recently discovered the flip screen. He loved that he could turn it towards himself and take his own picture. It was the perfect opportunity to grab a quick shot of us together. If your camera doesn’t have this feature, use your phone. Kids love being able to push buttons and selfies can be a great way to work together while capturing a memory.
Lastly, don’t forget to print some of the images you create with your grandchild. Children love seeing images of themselves especially when they are doing something they enjoy or are with someone they love. It can help them see themselves as a valued member of the family while building their self esteem and confidence. Our grandson loves looking at our family scrapbooks and seeing where he fits into the family narrative. And remember, the photographs we take today will be cherished by our loved ones for years after we are gone.
Join us in using the hashtag #momsinthepicture on Facebook and Instagram!
- Mom's in the Picture: Setting Up the Shot by Jessica Foreman
- Mom's in the Picture: Tools to Make Getting in the Photo EASY! by Gayle Vehar
- Mom's in the Picture: Photographing the Fun by Tammy Porter
- Mom's in the Picture: Photographing Motherhood by Zach Egolf
- Mom's in the Picture: Capturing Connection by Lea Hartman
- Mom's in the Picture: Keeping It Real! by Kelley Smallman
- Mom's in the Picture: Getting in the Picture with Your Grandchildren by Tina Auten