Mother’s Day is a wonderful celebration for some, but for others it can be bittersweet, perhaps because they have lost their own mother, or don’t have the relationship they wish to have with their mother, or their relationship with their own kids is strained, or they are disappointed with the celebrations that others plan.
Some long to be mothers. Others have lost a child.
Photography can be more than documentation. Photography can be expression, gratitude, celebration. Photography can even be therapy and self-care.
Here are five ways you can take matters into your own hands and celebrate yourself and those you care about this Mother’s Day–with lovely Mother’s Day photos.
1) Get in front of the camera
This idea may fill you with horror but open yourself up to the concept of loving yourself exactly as you are. You are enough. You do enough. You deserve to be loved and you can love yourself.
If you really don’t like being in front of the camera, use the front facing camera on your phone to take photos of yourself. Experiment with different angles to find a few you like. Indirect natural light, like from a window or when you are outside in the shade works best. Focus in on your favorite features. Remember, this is about really seeing yourself and loving yourself for how you are. You don’t have to share these photos.
On the other hand, photographing yourself with your kids is fun and it is easy to smile naturally and look genuinely happy. You may feel more comfortable not being the only one in the photo, and for me it is always powerful for me to see myself with my kids. It helps reaffirm for me that yes, I really am a mom, which is still, after six years, hard for me to believe sometimes.
I also recommend that you ask someone else to photograph you with your kids. I do this every Mother’s Day. If you are celebrating with your own mom in person, make sure you get a photo with her too.
2) Photograph the people you love
Maybe you do this every day, or maybe you don’t do it enough, but for Mother’s Day, photograph the people you love not out of a sense of duty or the need to document, but as a way of celebrating yourself and everything that you have. Don’t ask them to pose, don’t worry about the results, just photograph them exactly as they are. Let yourself feel surrounded by their love, even if they don’t always show it exactly as you would like.
3) Photograph the things you love
You don’t have to just photograph your kids! Think about the things that you love, the things that make you feel the way you want to feel. I don’t just mean objects – how about the way the light comes in through your bedroom window in the morning, or your favorite coffee mug freshly filled. Create a beautiful moment just for yourself and photograph it.
4) Print and frame a photo
With everything digital, it can be easy to fall out of the habit of ever printing any photos. But I still believe strongly in the power of the printed photo to promote confidence and well being. Chose a favorite, it doesn’t have to be of your kids, and print and frame it for your office or your mantelpiece at home.
There are tons of great inspirational quotes out there these days, but did you know it is really easy to create them for yourself? Rhonna Designs has my favorite app for superimposing text on a photo. A message, written to yourself, paired with a favorite photo and saved on your phone can be a great pick-me-up for those moments when negative messages are stuck in your head and you are questioning yourself. I save mine to a shared iCloud photo album that I don’t actually share with anyone. This keeps them easily accessible on all my devices. You could also put them in a Dropbox folder.
Alethea Cheng Fitzpatrick is a family photographer and photography coach for parents with Photosanity. A former architect and interior designer, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and her two boys Liam, age six, and Jack, age three.Alethea is on a mission to help parents more fully experience the precious fleeting moments of their children's lives through photography. Find her on http://photosanity.com