Be Present In Photos

How to be present in photographs - and therefore your child’s memories

Kicking those insecurities to the curb with Megan Maundrell

This past summer I dedicated this lake vacation with family friends to taking lifestyle, totally in the moment shots of the kiddos. I was really inspired to capture MORE. I had captured more than a smile already in my business, but I wanted these kiddos to look back on these photos and smell the water on the hot concrete, feel the joy and freedom that comes with hopping through the overly cold sprinkler on that hot day.

H Jumping as high as she can!


After taking a few shots, I hopped in to play with them. What I didn’t realize right away is that their Dad picked up my camera where the settings were already adjusted to take the perfect shot and he one upped me. He captured us playing around and having fun, but he also opened my eyes in a lot of ways.

I’ve heard you say it; you don’t want that photo session or are just wanting to pay your niece to take some quick photos for you because you need the photos but aren’t going to like the way you look in them anyways. I ALWAYS had kind of furrowed my brow at that answer. Like suuuuure, I’ve had pictures of me that I didn’t like, but they were always selfies or ugly pictures my mom took (sorry mom). I thought that if I took a photo of a genuine moment, it would be impossible to hate it, until…

These shots captured a perfect moment with joyful smiles but my immediate reaction was EEEKK! Look at my rolls and non bikini body! My teeth look yellow. I shouldn’t have tried to dye my own hair, it looks stupid. Yuck! Just all around YUCK!! Then I vowed to not look at them ever again. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about how cute the moments were! How cute H & C’s faces were. How these photos captured our relationship with each other. I noticed how much I would love to show them these photos of “young Megan” in a time in their lives when I could pick them up.

C screeching as we spin around!

C screeching as we spin around!

I noticed that if I let my insecurities surrounding my body image stop me, I wouldn’t be fully present in photos. If I had the same mindset that I had when I first saw the photo’s (or the mindset you’re holding onto right now!), when he was taking them, I would have hid my tummy in the photos, smiled without teeth etc. And if I continued with that mindset, I wouldn’t be able to look back on certain parts of my life. Just imagine how many people ONLY have selfies of themselves because that what they’re comfortable with? In 5, 10, 15 years, will you look back loving the way those look? Probably not. In years to come will I love how my squishy tummy looks in this shot? Probably not. But its about more than that! It’s about capturing a moment and the essence of my connection with this lovely family. That’s what I would be missing out on if I let my insecurities delete these photos or not even allow myself to be in front of the lens in a bathing suit. Now I want you to think about what moments you’ve already missed out on; with your kids, your boyfriend or husband, your grandparents, your mom and dad! I want you to be present in photographs.

So next time a stranger see’s you taking a selfie and offers to take a photo for you, accept it, and show your real smile! Get photos done with your family by a photographer who you connect with on a friendship level (it WILL make a HUGE difference). On vacation take more photos of yourself rather than the scenery; You can google the scenery but can’t get those moments back. You won’t regret it. I promise. Future you will thank you.

H being a cute airplane!