Kaelee Denise Photography

Get in the picture and stay there!

I am so excited to be teaming up with blogger Wendy Manner of “Mind those manners” for an awesome giveaway. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I am ALWAYS behind the camera and hardly ever in front of it (unless Im taking a ‘selfie’). Now that I have a daughter I am realizing how important it is for me to get in front of the camera. Not only with her but without her as well.

Wendy puts everything into perspective . . . BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE GIVEAWAY AT THE END OF THIS POST


I have had a lot of great friends in my life.

throughout all the seasons of my life I have been fortunate enough to meet people willing to do super silly things with me. I have photo albums full of documentation of relationships and road trips, band geeks and camp kids, all sorts of ridiculous outfits (both intentional and unintentional). I love looking back and seeing my face pressed up against the cheek of someone else, both of us grinning as if having our picture taken together was reason enough to smile. high school musicals, marching band bus trips, camp costumes, residence life roll calls, it is all there in full glory. there are halloween parties from my early days with eric, backpacking trips to grand locales, photos of us at concerts and festivals.

then we had kids.

all of the sudden my photo-taking habits took a wild turn. there were lots of moments to capture, most of which didn’t really require me to be in front of the lens, but behind it. and there is a lot that is okay about that. there’s also a lot that needs to be changed about that. mamas and papas need to be in the picture, maybe especially mamas. we are the record keepers, the family photographers, the one there to witness these magical moments and pass them on to the world at large. a year ago there was a fabulous article on why moms should stay in the picture. the responses are as moving as the original article. powerful stuff, all around.

it is important for parents to be in the picture. it is important for our kids to have a record of our history, important for our families to have a feeling of togetherness, important for parents to feel valuable and worthy of being in the picture.

but here’s the thing: I don’t want to just chronicle my role in my children’s childhood. there is a lot I have given up in being my kids’ mom. I changed my last name, I lost a lot of free time, I learned to redefine myself based on my relationships in my family (“oh, you’re jamin and cora’s mom!”). and while those things are choices I am glad to make to be in this place in my life, there are a lot of other things that fell by the wayside as well that I am not convinced are good or necessary life shifts. I still have incredible friends. really really great ones. and there may not be as many backpacking trips and cool concerts on my calendar these days, but I still do a lot of fun stuff in some pretty amazing locales. my new challenge to myself is to document my life (not just my children’s) with vigor and enthusiasm.

so I am going to be taking pictures with my friends. I am going to press my check right up next to yours and grin because you make my life a better place. and I don’t want to hear how I can’t take your picture because your hair isn’t right or you are wearing your “fat jeans.” we are out of time on the excuses. I’ve missed too much already. I realized at the end of last summer that I don’t have photos of myself with any of my favorite kids from camp this year. I have photos with them and my children, but none of me standing proudly next to people that changed my life in the eight weeks I knew them. and my best mama friend? the one I have raised my children with, cried on her couch countless times, called in emergency “I need a beer on your back porch right now” situations? we took our first photos together last week.



(photos courtesy of Wendy Manner)

so get in the picture. yes, take tons of pictures of you with your kids, but do yourself one better than that. let your kids take pictures of you and don’t delete them all. we are going to be so glad to look back on our dark hair and youthful faces one day. hula hoop on your deck and make your husband take photos of you laughing because it is not as easy as it used to be. hold up your dirty hands in the garden and wiggle your fingers at the camera. take a damn selfie or seven; goodness knows everyone else on the internet is doing it. but be here, be all the way here, and pull a friend into the frame, too. our kids deserve to know all the best parts of our lives, including the parts that are not all about them. teach them how to be a friend by taking a photo with one of yours. teach them how to love themselves by saving that goofy shot of you in a bathing suit. and smile, big bigger biggest, every chance you get. you never know when I might be taking your picture, friends.

I am thrilled (THRILLED!) to be partnering up with kaelee beeson of kaelee denise photography to be offering a giveaway to one of you lucky, lucky folks! head on over to kaelee denise’s facebook page and give her the big thumbs up (“like” kaelee denise photography), then leave a comment on Wendy’s BLOG letting us know what you plan to do to get in the picture and stay there. one lucky commenter (who is also a fan of kaelee denise photography) will win a mini-session for you and a friend with kaelee AND a gift card to hobnob here in brevard, so you and a friend can have a fancy night out on the town! can you even believe all that awesome-ness could happen?

we’ll choose our winner monday, april 28, 2014, so leave your comment below, make sure to go like kaelee’s facebook page, and share this post with other folks who deserve a photo shoot and a night out! and then get busy grabbing a friend and getting in the picture together!


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