How to make the best memories

In her first feature for our new series on memory-keeping, columnist and 'queen of reminiscence' Michelle Sokolich shares her tips on ensuring the family photo album gives plenty of exposure to Mum.

I can see it now. My kids all grown up, looking through their baby photos, laughing and reminiscing – until one of them says “Where were YOU, Mum?!”. We’re missing from so many of our kids’ memories. I know you want to wait until you have lost a little bit of weight, maybe got some new clothes, or – sweet mercy – had just one unbroken night of sleep! I get it. The thing is, you can’t keep waiting for that magical moment where you feel like a million dollars, because it’s probably not going to happen. You need to take the plunge and make it happen now – and if you feel uncomfortable about how you look in photos, then please consider this: You are beautiful just the way you are. I mean hello, amazing lady, you’re raising children! This is no mean feat. You're cooking, creating, cleaning and cuddling ... day in, day out. This, THIS, is what makes you beautiful. The love you have for your children shines out of you and lights up your face. When your babies grow up and look back at their photos, they aren’t going to say “Woah, Mum, you look so haggard!”. No, they’re going to remember how you laughed, how you smelt, and how you hugged them tight when they needed you most. So, here are some common excuses we mums make, as well as some genius work-arounds!

I need to lose some weight first
There are some great tricks that you can try to help to boost your confidence on film. Lots of people know about holding the phone up high to achieve that slimming angle, but have you learnt the turtleneck? Pull your shoulders back and jut your chin down and out like a turtle, even just a little bit – it feels weird, but looks good! Also, remember that whatever is closest to the camera will look larger, so you could try standing or crouching behind your child if you are feeling self conscious. Giving them a hug from behind or draping your arms around them will help this to feel more natural.

I have no one to take photos of me with the kids
The best investment I've ever made was a $15 smartphone tripod. I don’t use it every day, but the moments when I really want to have a shot of my kids and me together, I whip out my tripod. You can use a self-timer, but I have a Bluetooth remote on my key ring, which makes self-portraits even easier. Another option is to ask someone to take a photo for you. I know it feels embarrassing, but we have this silly idea that we must be vain to want photos of ourselves. Keep reminding yourself that you’re creating precious memories that your grandkids will love one day.

I feel stupid taking photos of myself
Start at home. I’m not going to lie – I haven’t yet whipped out my tripod and set up a photo shoot of myself and my kids in a busy public place. But I do it at home quite a lot! Another way to make it less painful is to look and smile at your child. Maybe tickle them, or laugh with them. This feels more natural than both of you saying ‘cheese’ to the camera. If this still feels too scary, aim for some body parts at the very least. Your hand holding their little hand, your feet in the frame as well or maybe just your shadow with theirs. Little ways to say “I was there too” without pushing you out of your comfort zone. A word of caution though – don’t take these tips too literally. Natural wins over posed every time. I always pick a natural shot with real emotion over a super-posed photo, even if the natural one makes my nose look big and my chin double up. That said, if these tips mean the difference between you getting in photos or not at all, then knock yourself out!

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Michelle Sokolich is a filmmaker and photographer who truly believes every moment should be treasured. When she’s not enjoying time with her three feisty girls, you can find her crafting family movies and teaching inspired DIY types to make their own. Get her best tips and guidance over at



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