The Importance of Being in the Photo | Spokane Photographer

Including Myself: The Importance of Being in the Photo

Lately I’ve been looking at my work feeling a little empty.
Something is missing. I felt a void when I saw my personal photos.

It took a while but I figured it out. I realized what was missing….


I’m missing.
Do I feel beautiful? Or photogenic?


I actually feel pretty bloated, my hair hasn’t been brushed in multiple days, and I’m pretty sure there is toothpaste drool dried to my cheek right now.

It doesn’t matter. At least not to them.

What Really Matters to Them

I love my kids. My kids love me. They’re not thinking I need to lose ten pounds. They’re not thinking about whether or not my hair is a mess. They’re thinking I am everything to them. I’m their mom and all that really matters to them is that I watch them conquering the slide, or that I’m playing the tenth round of Memory, or just being present with them.

They’re thinking they just want to be with me. And when they see the photos, and realize only a small handful have me in them, they’ll realize how much I’m missing from our photographic story too.
So I need to be in the photo too.
Photographs are more than just the subject. Or I should say, the people are not the only subjects.

What’s in a Photograph

Sometimes the subject of the photo is the relationship between the people. The way one person cares for another. The way moms quietly stroke the nape of a neck or curl their fingers around a ringlet when we’re just reading stories. The way we help them cross a road or help them climb a step. There are so many things we do with them and for them. We’re constantly engaging with them, sometimes in quiet moments and sometimes in loud moments.

me walking kids across the street

We’re More Than Just the Angry Moments

We’re so hard on ourselves as moms. We remember when we’ve yelled or shouted, we remember when we angrily send a child to time-out or when we walk a little more slowly to the driver’s side door after getting everyone buckled. But we forget, or sometimes don’t even notice, how really amazing we are. I love photographing families because it helps moms see how much work they’re really putting into their mommy-ing. It also helps them see how much kindness and tenderness they unknowingly demonstrate everyday. The tender hand on the head and the inside-joke smiles.

I photograph all these moments for my families. I want them for me too.

me holding eleanor

So that’s why I need to be in the photos too.

When we’re older, I want to see myself in those photos. I want to see me mommy-ing. I want to know I didn’t hide because of insecurities. I want to see my LIFE. Because when I’m 80-something, those insecurities will seem so miniscule to me. And I know the weight of a photograph and how much that builds on a memory. I don’t want to edit myself out of my memories. Not being there in the photos with them is cutting out a piece of their story.

I’ll be putting myself in the frame more. My kids deserve it. I deserve it. So get in the frame, mamas. Your family wants you in their story too.


{Photographs below are by the incomparable Tiffany Luong of Tiffany Luong Photography.}

Moms… are you realizing you need to be in the frame more? Ready to talk about a session that doesn’t just create pretty pictures but really HONORS your life? Your kids and family? Let’s chat

eleanor hiding under my clothes kids riding car with windows down riding the car with all the windows down me and e sitting on couch me and hubs on the couch


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