Why Isn’t Mum In The Photo?

What is it with mums and photos? I’m not talking about the lack of photos because all the mums I know are fabulous at taking them. I’m talking about mums not being IN the photos.

For whatever particular reason it was, I had to look for a decent photo of me with my both of my kids the other day. I went through photos dating back to the beginning of the year, ten months, and I think there were only a handful of photos of me with my kids. I didn’t even have a decent one of me and my kids on Mother’s Day! There were plenty of photos of the kids with their dad but, you guessed it, it’s because I took them.

If you’re a mum reading this, I’m guessing you’re nodding your head because it’s happened to you too. But seriously, why do we think about picking up the camera or iPhone yet our partners don’t?  For me, reminding someone to take a photo is yet another thing I have to stuff into my overflowing mind. God forbid if something were to happen to one of my kids or me, I would hate that there are very few photos of me with the kids to look back on.

mummy in photo with son

I rely on selfies a lot to capture my kids and me, but sometimes it can be difficult. I’d much prefer a photo from someone else’s perspective.

But I’m not talking “posy posy” portrait type photos that can look a little too perfect. I’m talking every day candid and real photos. Pictures of me playing with the kids, reading to the kids, photos of me bathing the kids, photos of me looking utterly exhausted but using my last ounce of energy to feed the kids dinner and clean up. I know I’ll look back on those one day when the kids are older, and I’ll want the chaos again, as much as I don’t want it now.

mum with sick baby

It’s these times that I want to capture too, but I don’t want to be the one taking the picture all of the time.

In her article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Kasey Edwards makes a couple of valid points about dads. She says, “Every time they do it [take a photo] they tell the mother of their children that she is important.” When I realised there were very few photos of me with the kids, I couldn’t articulate exactly how I felt, but Kasey’s comment hits the nail on the head.

Kasey even refers to it as being a sort of culture, that by excluding mums from photographs and the dad always being the one in them, is giving the impression that dad is the important one.

Of course, this can impact our kid’s beliefs, ‘Dad’s fun and mum’s for cooking and picking up after everyone.’ It’s a pretty “full on” concept that I never considered, but now that I think about it, it is extremely valid. The number of times my son has said to me, ‘But daddy’s the boss,’ has confused me because it’s most certainly not the way we raised him. Could it be that the mere act of a daddy not taking any photos of mummy with the kids lead a child to believe in the immortalisation that Kasey talks about? It’s a viable concept.

So how do we get dads to take photos without having to ask them? The thing with asking is that it completely changes the photo. Once you know a photo is going to be taken, it’s no longer candid and doesn’t capture the moment as it was.

It’s not a matter of lack of equipment these days with easy access to digital cameras, and of course smartphones, I think it’s more centred around dads understanding the importance of taking the photo. So with that, I’ve put together some tips to help get dads taking more photos of mums and their kids.

How to get your partner taking more photos of you with your kids

A simple explanation

Take a detached approach and simply explain to your partner about your concern of not being in many photos with the kids. Explain that you don’t want them to become adults looking for photographs with their mother only not to find any. Tell them how much it would mean to you if they could snap more photos without you having to ask.

Get specific

The thing I find with men is that you have to get specific. Explain to him examples of photos you’d like him to take. Explain that you don’t need to direct him, that they don’t need any posing and that they can be completely random photos like you and your kids brushing your teeth, you sitting down reading with the children, anything that reflects real life.

Praise, praise, praise!

When you do see him snapping photos, make a big deal of it and say thank you. Yes, it’s annoying, and we don’t expect it (although it’d be nice) but guys like a good pat on the back when they do something.

Photos don’t have to be perfect

Us mums, we’re used to snapping family photos and have almost perfected a decent shot. Dad’s can often fall quite short of decent. But the key here is to overlook the less than perfect photograph and jump straight to the praise and thanks. It’d be completely counterintuitive to complain about something you’ve wanted him to do for ages. The more accepting you are of the photographs, the more he’ll likely take.

Reminders

If worse comes to worst and none of this makes a difference yet you still don’t want to have to remind your partner, set a reminder with an alarm on his phone that says, “take photos.” If that doesn’t remind him, nothing will!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to take a stab at my amazing husband, I just think it’s a mindset that needs to change and hopefully, these tips will change perspectives, see more dads snapping and more mums in photos with their kids!

 

Are you in the same predicament as I am? 

Do you or dad perhaps need to brush up on your photography skills? Check out DSLR Photograph for a Complete Newbie.

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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6 Comments

  1. November 21, 2017 / 12:06 pm

    It’s not something I’ve ever thought about, not having kids. But now I’m curious if photos from my childhood also reflect this.

  2. November 21, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    YES I AM! I have to nag mine to take a photo and if it’s more than one then WATCH OUT! GAH. Love these tips. Em x

  3. November 21, 2017 / 7:18 pm

    You would think that considering I’m a photographer and bang on about the importance of this all the time that my husband would get the hint and take a few damn photos, but nope. He doesn’t. I try to remind him but he always forgets. Which is why I don’t feel guilty about paying one of my photographer friends a shit-load of money to come and spend half a day with us next year to take those photos of us doing everyday things and hanging out together.

    And hey, if worse comes to worse, I’m coming to QLD for a retreat in May next year, I can always come and take a few for you, everyday candids are my speciality!

  4. November 22, 2017 / 10:17 am

    I enjoyed this. I’m not a parent but I’m missing from a lot of the photos of my life because I too am the one taking them. Sure I have photos for the blog, but not day-to-day sort of ones. I’m going to ask Kel to take more photos and do my best not to be critical of them when he does {which, I have a tendency to be}.

  5. Tracy
    November 25, 2017 / 6:21 pm

    We realised this when my mother-in-law died. We had very few photos of her, so the one or two we could find became that much more precious. To be fair, she died before the inception of the mobile phone or digital camera, so there were fewer photos all round.

    • December 7, 2017 / 11:08 am

      OH, what a shame. You’d think though, with all of the wonderful digital gadgets it’d make it easier for us to be in the photos but it seems, that is not the case.

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