Your child is growing up so fast…how is it that it feels like just yesterday they were following you around everywhere you went and now all you seem to get are requests for rides? These high school years seem to go faster and faster and all of a sudden you realize that the last photo you were able to get of your son or daughter was on the fist day of the previous school year. Now more than ever you need to be getting photos of your children, and the easiest way to do that is to get them on your side.
photo disclaimer…I asked my son to pose that way for me (and he did it several times until I got the image I wanted), he’s really pretty great about allowing me to photograph him and now that he’s a teen I always make sure he knows what the purpose of the photo is before taking it.
Make sure you set clear boundaries and expectations with them about when and how you’re going to photograph them and what you’re planning on doing with those images. When you’re planning on posting an image of your child online, ask them first (don’t you ask the same of others when they’re wanting to post images of you?). Show them the photo, ask if it’s ok with them to post it. Explain why it’s important to you and let them know how proud you are of them. And remember, not every photo needs to exist online. Take photos just for your family…and print them.
Don’t use the photos that you take of your child to embarrass or tease your teen and try not to bribe them for photos. This is important because it builds trust with your child and you become more of a team.
Talk to them often about their lives and what is important to them…if they ever ask for you to take a photo of something that they love, do so without hesitation. Ask them to see the photos that they take on their phones…selfies are awesome (ask them to send you a couple) and see what else they are taking photos of.
Explain why it’s important to you to document their lives and the role those images will play in their own lives when they are older. If you have images of yourself from your teen years, show them. Tell them about your life at that time. I love looking through old photos with my kids, showing them the things in the background, some of the furniture that their grandparents still have and the strange technology that we had “way back then”. You don’t want them looking back through their teen years and only having yearbook images to prove that they were there…and you can’t rely on the 10, 000 selfies that they have on their phones.
Ask to take photos with your teen. GET IN THE PHOTO WITH THEM! If we expect to take (and potentially post on social media) images of our children we must show them that is a safe and reasonable request. If we are constantly shying away from the camera ourselves and saying “I just need to lose a few pounds first”, how are we going to instill confidence in our own children? And the most important thing to remember? They love us, they simply see their parent and they want to exist in photos with us. Trust me. There will be a day that those silly photos you take with your child will be some of the most important things that they possess.
If you’d like to read up on more tips to document the everyday, take a look at the blog series I wrote a while back about Documenting Your Everyday. And come back next week…we’ve got more to discuss.
Feb 3, 2022