Why You Should Be Jumping In Photographs


Hello! I’m Kristen Duke, and I’m a lifestyle photographer in Austin, Texas. On my site, Capturing Joy, not only do I share photo tips and my sessions, but also favorite family recipes, home projects, and other fun family activities as well.

Lifestyle and photography blog

Today I’m sharing a photo tip for all the photographers out there who aren’t jumping in pictures themselves.

As a photographer, I love capturing those sweet candid moments between a parent and their children. It’s always felt important for me to have those moments documented for myself as well. I’ve found it quite shocking to talk to other photographers and hear them lament that they really aren’t in that many pictures, and I’ve felt it a crusade of mine to make sure that photographers get in more pictures with their loved ones!

In the images above, we were having our family pictures taken on the beach, and I asked my photographer friend to take some of me spinning my daughter. It’s something we did often, and I wanted that memory captured. I love how carefree and fun the images are.

Below, our family was headed out on a road trip. The excitement was palpable, and I grabbed this with a phone selfie.

road trippin

The selfie’s seem to be readily available as so many people are getting smart phones.

However, I’ll pass off my dSLR to my husband, or a stranger in a public place. I just have to be slightly detailed about how it’s done. I’ll have my family stand in a certain spot, get my settings right, set my focus (I use back button focus), then tell the nice stranger to “stand where I am standing” and take it of our waist up. Or sometimes I’ll say, “make sure you get our shoes.” It’s WORTH the hassle to me, and worth my husband and kids rolling their eyes a little as I instruct the nice stranger.

I’ve even had my 7 year old daughter take pictures of me when I need to model something for my blog, I just make sure I put the strap all the way around her neck!

I also have a self timer app, TimerCam, that I LOVE that I can prop up my phone and get in pictures with my kids more. I set up my phone timer for this shot of my daughter helping me paint this dresser. She was SO excited that I let her paint. I could have just taken it of her, but it was something we worked on together, and I wanted that to be a memory for her.

painting dresser with annie sloan chalk paint

I’ve come up with a list of ideas to jump start your creativity. They are prompts to get the thinking flowing. More than just taking snapshots or in famous landmarks, get the kids involved in helping the creativity flow to be in more pictures together.
Ideas for photographers to be in more pictures with their family:

  • silly face
  • cuddling
  • playing an instrument
  • reading a book
  • baking in the kitchen
  • grabbing a special treat
  • at the park
  • getting ready for the day
  • dance party
  • peek-a-boo
  • working on a puzzle

What is something you love to do with your family and/or kids? Find a way to capture it! Sometimes it can feel awkward to stop and ask someone–even if it is a spouse–to capture you doing something, but it is SO worth it, I promise.

Below, I had my husband snap a few shots of me being silly with my brothers. As adults, we don’t get to hang out too often, and it’s fun to just mess around and be silly.

photographers get in pictures

If I’m cuddling or reading a book with one of my kids and my husband walks by, I’ll say, “Hey, can you take a quick pic?” and then get that picture later.

Don’t tell me you see the importance of preserving memories for clients, but don’t do it for yourself. Even if you need to lose a few pounds, or you aren’t happy with something about yourself, do it for the sake of your family who will want those images later. You will regret it down the road if you don’t, so do something about it now!