I am writing this post specifically to the family photographer. You know who you are. You are behind the lens at every family event. You faithfully document all birthdays, while on vacation, and every holiday. You love photography, and you love recording memories. All of that is great.
There’s just one problem.
You aren’t in any of the pictures. When you look back, you’ll see that there is no record of you being at anything. Maybe every once in a while, you are visible as a shadow in the foreground of a picture, or maybe there’s a piece of your thumb covering the lens once or twice. But when you flip through the photographic record of your family, you are shockingly absent. As far as family pictures are concerned, you may as well never have existed.
I am sure you have your reasons. Maybe it is even intentional. Perhaps you don’t like the way you look in pictures. Or it could be that you are the best picture-taker of the bunch and get the job by default. Or maybe you just really like taking pictures. All of these (except the first one, you really need to just get over yourself) are acceptable reasons not to be in pictures. However, whatever your reason is, there is still one end result: there are no pictures of you.
Think about your family. If something were to happen to you, your family wouldn’t have anything other than their memories to look back on. After a while, it will be hard to remember the exact way your eyes crinkled when you smiled, how great you looked in that awful sweater you insisted on wearing every Christmas, or whether your eyes were more green or blue. I know that sounds morbid but it also has the benefit of being true. These things are important. You are important. You are worth remembering.
My advice is to get in front of the lens every once in awhile. I know it is hard but it is doable. Take a selfie if you have to. Or turn your camera over and let someone else take a few pictures of you. You don’t have to like the pictures. You don’t even have to display them if you don’t want to. These pictures aren’t actually for you. They are for the people who love you. They deserve to have pictures of you. They want to remember you being on vacation with the rest of the family, they want to see your smiling face with the birthday child, they want to be able to see you doing your traditional New Year’s toast—or whatever it is that made you memorable and special to them.
An even better idea would be to hire someone to take the pictures professionally. It will take the pressure off you. Maybe this isn’t practical for everyday things. But for significant events like special birthdays or family reunions, it can be a real lifesaver. Everyone can be in the picture. Just think about it the next time you are planning a big family get-together. Even a couple of hours with a professional will be worth it in the long run!
However you go about it, remember the most important thing: get in a few pictures every once in a while!