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.
But I’m not talking about “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.
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 to take 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.
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.
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?