The Glass Family | January 2k17

In addition to my 2017 goal of stepping in front of the camera a bit more, I'm challenging myself to share more personal snapshots of our family on a monthly basis. This is mostly a plot to get myself to actually edit our personal images instead of just throwing them on a hard drive but so long as I think the internet is holding me accountable, I should become none the wiser. 

2016 turned out to be one of our most-traveled years to date. Though we hardly left the state, we had opportunity to explore the vast topographies and climates of our dear california and we soaked up every minute of it. Some super sweet family time for the three of us before we welcome this fourth member any day now. For personal work I try to shoot mostly film as it adds to my being more present and aware - I'm not just firing away at every little moment but more choosy about what I document and less distracted by my camera. And then we get to relive the whole experience when the film comes back a few days later. I 100% recommend it. below are some favorites from our time in sequoia, big bear, twenty-nine palms and joshua tree.

Why I'm Taking More Photos of Myself in 2017

Like most of us, I take photos because I want to remember moments. And selfishly I wish my husband would do that, too - he has the memory of an elephant so doesn't always feel the need to document visually. When I have to ask for a photo I feel arrogant or find myself wishing he would suggest it. And when he does I make excuses like "the light is all wrong" to avoid feeling awkward and he hands me the phone saying "these are probably all bad" to which my self conscious spirit immediately agrees and deletes all record of the previous moment. It's something we're working on.  

why i'm taking more photos of myself in 2017

I remember the first time I put on makeup after Ruth was born and I asked him to take a photo of us snuggled but when I looked at the camera and saw one bra strap down with my nursing pads sticking out of my tank top I burst into hormonal postpartum tears. Of course, three years later, I'm so happy to have the photo now, but something that was obvious to me didn't even cross his mind - which actually resulted in a more truthful image, anyway. 

why i'm taking more photos of myself in 2017

I'm a very expressive person and sometimes expressive people don't always photograph in a flattering way... there's lot of hand movement, big eyes and scrunched-into-your-neck laughing faces. You would think that someone who strives to make other people feel comfortable in front of the camera would have a list of tips running through my mind (all your weight on one hip, raise your shoulder, chin down a bit), but put a camera in front of me and every ounce of awkward comes out (think any Kristen Wiig SNL character).

But then I think of my favorite images of my mom or my grandmother. I've always loved looking through the old black and white images that capture my youthful grandma riding on the shoulders of some hunky high-school guy, posing in front of her new car, dancing in the kitchen with a cigarette, no less -- and now that she's passed they mean even more. It's a look into a season of life that I otherwise wouldn't be aware of. And my mother - a young, beautiful mama with Farrah Fawcett flowy hair that rocked the 80's jumpsuits like no one's business. Their life and vitality are present in the images, their personality shines through and in my mind, that's the most important thing a photo can capture. 

why i'm taking more photos of myself in 2017

My paternal grandmother hated being in front of the camera -- in our home videos you can hear her protest and then run out of the room the second the camera turned her way. And so we are left with only a handful of posed holiday photos and I find myself longing to know her more fully.

And so, I'm determined to change my attitude about being in front of the camera this year. In the midst of these "little years" -- interrupted sleep, first ballet recital, new big girl bike, sparatic work hours and new baby brother adventures. Such a sweet season of life, of course I want to remember it. Who cares about that weird grown-woman acne (thanks, hormones), or that unidentified crusty spot on my t-shirt... that I've worn for four days in a row.

why i'm taking more photos of myself in 2017
why i'm taking more photos of myself in 2017

I know I'm not alone when it comes to being self conscious about my photo being taken. I work with women all the time that spit out a list of their worst features the second they step in front of my camera. When as a photographer all I see is beauty and the way you melt when your rambunctious four year old settles for just three seconds in a tender hug around your neck. The way you blush when I ask you to cuddle in a little tighter with your husband and in that moment you both realize you haven't down this in a while. I know the value of these images and it's high time I allow myself to be in them, too.

why i'm taking more photos of myself in 2017

So this year I want to stop making excuses and take every opportunity to document this season of life with my tiny family and I encourage you to do the same. So that years down the road we both remember how wonderful this time was. So my little girl has a healthy and accurate sense of what being a woman is -- sometimes a little frazzled, most of the time with stains on her shirt, and quite often there's a double chin involved, but also so much light and love. I'd be the first to correct my little one if she were to say something negative about her body or appearance. Lead by example and be comfortable in your skin, proud to be yourself.

Let's all step in front of the camera a bit more this year. And for when you do, a few tips to make the most of it : 

Let go of expectations - your kiddo might not want to "smile for daddy." Twirl them around, ask for a big bear hug or sloppy wet kiss and embrace the truer moment.

Don't wait for an occasion - those every day snapshots are often more cherished than any posed occasion photo and reminds your kid years down the road of the beauty in the little moments. 

Move that body - hold down the camera button as you dance, twirl or tickle. This will give you lots of options and less disappointment when there's only two images of blinking and sneezing.

Embrace the mess - it's truthful and honest.

Hire a professional - someone with whom you feel comfortable and can trust with your space, family and story. This removes any and all portrait responsibility from your husband... plus gives you the opportunity to just enjoy one another and have some lovely mementos when it's all said and done.

the glass family three | by nicki sebastian

oh boy do I hate getting my picture taken. my spine locks up, my face freezes, my hands do all sorts of weird gangly things and when I see the result of my "cool, confident and sexy" face, I want to run and hide. I 100% understand when my clients share that they feel uncomfortable in front of the camera and honestly, the challenge of bringing them to a place of ease where they can be themselves is one of my favorite things about my job. but at the same time i know the importance of having your photo taken - and deeply value any photograph that exists of ruth and I. it's my desire for her to have a visual record of each season of our life and I fully believe that when a mama is present in the photos, that speaks volumes to a little girl. and even more volumes to that little girl when she becomes a mother herself. and so with this in mind, I took a deep breath, slapped on some lipstick and readied for nicki sebastian to enter our tiny abode and work her magic. and boy did she bring her magic. one minute with her and you feel completely comfortable. she allowed us to be ourselves, for ruth to be wild and perfectly captured every essence of her being -- tender, sassy, adventurous and confident. what a beautiful gift to have fresh eyes on our family -- ones that offered grace and freedom to be ourselves in our most intimate place. just a few weeks before our session i had a miscarriage -- it was quite early, so early in fact we hadn't had the chance to even tell some of our friends but there was still a very real and deep hurt present. and these photos proved to be the reminder that we needed of the beauty that existed even during this season. and now, a few months later as we anxiously await the arrival of our little boy, we are extra grateful to have such beautiful documentation of this sweet time of just the three of us. thank you, sweet Nicki for sharing your gift and your presence with us. we will treasure these always. xo