1st January 2014 rolls around and, as usual, it was kind of dull as dishwater. So we headed out for a walk around one of our favourite places, which just happens to have this old run down red phone box and I’m all like “hey, lets take a group shot!”. It’s not a very good photo technically speaking, for a start Glen’s face is blurry as he’s too close, Ava isn’t looking and I manage to cut half my face off plus there’s a hideous no smoking sign in the background (and my huge nostrils that could probably be seen from space). But what it does manage to capture is the fun we were having together and how that walk turned our day around and our frowns upside down.
This was the start of it, this was the moment I decided that my New Years Resolution was to be in more photos. Like many people I had often shrugged off being photographed and slunk away from the camera, hiding my face (and my big bottom) as I went. But not this year. I had come to the conclusion that I wanted to exist in the photos with my kids and show them in the future that we had fun together, that they weren’t alone while out walking up hills/playing on pedalos/laughing in the kitchen/those times we saved the various swifts who flew into our door, that we did it all together. Side by side. I also wanted for them (and myself) to have pictures of me, so they could maybe remember the me that I was when they were growing up and so I would have photos to look back on to remember the good times (you know, for when I’m all wrinkly and such). I quickly realised also that it wasn’t that I just wanted to be in photos with my kids but with my friends too, four-legged or otherwise, and once I started I just couldn’t stop!
Do I wish my nose/bum/stomach etc were smaller and more attractive? Well, yes of course but what I have come to realise is that it doesn’t really matter. Those things may show how I look to others but really for me it’s happiness that counts, and when you are happy you don’t see those things (or at least not as much). Plus if I waited until I thought I was perfect I would be waiting forever. And because I’ve taken so many photos of myself I’ve found my ‘best side’ and learned how to pose so that you don’t always see my ski slope nose or my large rear end. I’m pretty sure my kids don’t care what I look like, at the moment anyway as they are too young to be embarrassed by me still. However the day will come, and much sooner than I hope, that they will not want to be in a photo with me or in any photo for that matter.
I have taken many photos of us together with my big girl camera too (Canon 5D mark iii) but we always seem to have more fun when we take photos on the hop with my iPhone. The kids love getting silly and trying to crowd into a photo together plus it means I am not the one left holding the camera and missing out on the action. We have made good use of the timer function on the Pro Camera app so that we can all do something silly from a distance and I’ve even bought a tiny little tripod and a shutter release remote (isn’t Amazon amazing these days?!). Sometimes the kids get to take the pictures which they love even more, although it really does make for some interesting angles! But when they are involved in the process and get to see how their pictures turned out their faces just light up even more and they want to take another, and another and another…
My husband also bought me an Instax Mini 90 camera for Christmas and it is just the best Christmas present ever! It is so much fun waiting for the picture to come out on the old-fashioned little bits of paper (like old Polaroids but smaller). The kids have been desperate to take pictures with it and I’ve even caught Glen taking a selfie with it!
So, this year, I’m urging you – come out from behind the camera and get in the photos with your kids/partner/pets/friends. Inject some fun into your family photos while you document all the little moments. I promise you won’t regret it, plus if you don’t like the photo you can easily delete it. If you have a big girl (or a big boy) camera of your own as well then invest in a wireless shutter remote, my kids love being the ones to get to press the button to take the shot and things always get kind of silly and fun but you get to see their real personalities coming out, and not just the staged smiles. Get the photos now while they are young and want to have fun with you, I promise the day will come all too soon that they will not want to do it. Professional photos are better for obvious reasons and are probably the ones you will put on the wall and are really the ones that are for ‘you’. Your kids don’t care about the quality or the lighting, they just want to see the fun and the memories.
So, here you are, my favourite Instagram pictures from the last year of us all. Not perfect, not always in focus or particularly well edited but I love them all the same. I apologise now for the stupid faces, lack of makeup and the giant vegetables.
If you want to follow along with me and my brood on Instagram search for @cottonfox