It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle of daily life and let these moments pass you by, but every day, they're happening, and they're incredibly beautiful. Whatever you do, please photograph them or have them photographed for you, because these moments only grow more powerful and valuable with time.
1. Quality Time with each Parent
When you're knee-deep in parenting, we know it's hard to stop and take a photo of you doing it. Most of the time, you're in the thick of it anyway, so without a tripod or a person taking the photo for you, it's a struggle to document. But no matter how much of an inconvenience it is, or how much you may not want to be in front of the camera at that moment, we're begging you, get in the photo with your children. Be their parent, and get photos of you being their parent. They will appreciate it more than you'll ever know when they're older.
Ten years from now, when your children are looking back at old photos, what do you think they'll want to see? Yes, they'll love and appreciate being able to see photos of what they looked like when they were younger, the fun experiences they got to have, and the landmark moments like birthdays, first days of school, and so on. But did your child grow up alone? Probably not, so don't give them photos and albums and heirlooms that include only them!
They had someone, or likely more than one someone, very important in their life to help to grow and raise them and be there for them. If that's you, then they'll want to have pictures with you, and not just smile-at-the-camera pictures, either. It speaks volumes to have photos that show you holding them, caring for them, loving them, sharing experiences with them over the course of their life. You do it every day; you just need to document it for them.
We know there's so much pressure as it is for mothers to be "supermoms," to work full time, raise perfect children, keep a perfect house, have a perfect marriage and a perfect body. We don't want to add more on your plate by compelling you to be a perfect documentarian for your life, too. But even if it's just taking one photo a month where you're in the frame with them (with the help of friends, family, or a tripod), or hiring a photographer to do one Day in the Life Session a year so that your children can have a visual record of you spending time with them, that will make all the difference in the world.
2. Kids with their Pets
This one's 20% for the "aww" factor, 20% for you, and 60% for your kids. If you have a family pet and an adorable little one, we can all agree that the two of them combined into one photo makes for cuteness overload. But you likely treasure that pet, too, so having photos of your children and pets together can make for a goldmine of memories to look back on when you're feeling misty-eyed and nostalgic. Photos like that are food for the soul.
But that's not the only reason to take these types of photos; the bigger reason is, once again, to do it for your kids. If you had a family pet growing up, particularly if it's one you loved, chances are, it was a big part of your identity and your life. Those early bonds between children and animals are so incredibly special. Documenting moments when your child is snuggled up with their cat, meeting their new puppy for the first time, playing on the floor with their dog, or any other animal you may have in your house-- those photos are special. Even if it's a photo of your kiddo feeding their pet goldfish or looking at them through the fishbowl, it's still a photo that they'll love having later on. First pets are a big first in a child's life.
3. Wake up or Bedtime
Wake up and bedtime routines can be some of the most touching moments in a day. These are often the quieter moments, the calm before or after the storm (or it may BE the storm, if you're being woken up by kiddos jumping in your bed!) But however it may look for you and your life, these moments are special.
You may wake up to the cries of a newborn at odd hours of the night and morning, or to the sounds of a cooing, babbling baby over the baby monitor. You may wake up to your two children hopping into bed with you for some cuddle time before breakfast. You may wake up to an alarm and have to fumble your way through the house, rousing the kids before school in the morning. You may be up so early that you have to rush off to work, and just get an opportunity to sneak into their room to give them a kiss on the head before leaving for the day. Whatever your routine and however you start your day, it's something that you do on repeat. And repeated moments are memorable moments. They're part of your normal, and that normal is worth capturing.
Wind-down time at the end of the day can be just as special. Your routine may be bath time, reading a book, singing a lullaby, tucking them into bed, or you may have no routine at all. You and your child may crash on the couch after a long day, or your kids may have the enviable ability to sleep literally anywhere. You may have cuddle time with your child as they quietly drift off to sleep, or experience a nightly meltdown when your kiddo is feeling stubborn and doesn't want to sleep yet. However you do things, you and your children will remember these nightly routines. They might be sweet, or they might be frustrating, but one thing I can promise is that with time, once that phase has passed, the frustrating moments make for hilarious pictures.
Meals are interwoven into the cultures and traditions of a family. Have you ever tasted a recipe or had a food from childhood and immediately been transported back to that time in your life? For example, maybe you've enjoyed a Christmas cookie and thought back to the years you helped your mother decorate Christmas cookies when you were little? Photos taken of making or baking family meals or treats together have that same power. They give your child a feeling of legacy and ancestry, a way to feel close to their roots even when they're not living in your home anymore. One day, your child can cook these meals, share them with their significant other and friends, and then show photos of them making that same dish in their childhood with their family. How incredibly valuable is that?
Add to that the practice of sitting down together to enjoy a meal or snack. There's something special about taking the extra effort, if possible, to gather around a table and enjoy food together as a family, or of getting ice cream cones at a local shop and having a treat together outside. Moments like these are beautiful memories for many, and they bring families together. Setting the table, passing plates, talking and laughing about your day, or watching your little one make a mess of their ice cream cone-- this is the stuff that makes for the best photos.
And it doesn't have to be all home-cooked meals and traditional family recipes, either. Half of the fun of childhood is making a mess, and getting a chance to eat sugary cereal, chicken tenders, or boxed mac and cheese. Of learning to navigate a fork or spoon. Of licking the plate, drinking straight from the bowl, and spilling from the cup with wild abandon. Of food all over their face and the dog enjoying what falls to the floor. These moments make equally beautiful photos, to smile and laugh at one day when your child has mastered the art of feeding themselves.
5. Kids Being Kids
Building on the idea that childhood is all about making a mess, embracing it, and capturing those moments, it's equally as important to document your child's personality, energy, and the things they get into when left to their own devices. Perfect photos of all of the kids looking at the camera are nice and pretty to look at, but do they really represent who your child is, right now?
Instead, we encourage you to capture the things that your child does that reflect his or her interests and who they are as a person. Are they a quieter personality, a child who loves reading, drawing, playing independently? Awesome, document it! Are they a wild, free, loud personality, a child who wants nothing more than to run, jump, and get into mischief? Awesome, document that too! Document the messes and magic that happen in childhood, the scraped knees, the muddy feet, the mismatched clothes, the silly faces, the first attempt at painted nails, the pillow forts and cartwheels. What kind of message do you think it sends when you photograph them being who they really are, instead of a perfect, polished, postcard version of who they should pretend to be? Taking these types of photos of your family tells your child "I value this. I value you. I value this time in our lives. I value our real life, right now, just as it is." Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of trying to capture these moments for yourself, but still agree that they're valuable? No problem, that's where we can help! Click here to contact us and start planning a full or half day session. We'd love to help document your family's story!