6 Tips For Capturing The Unique Relationships In Your Family

What would you do if you realized you didn’t have any photos of yourself holding one of your children? This was my own discovery last week!

Of course, I have the required hospital photos of me holding my youngest son, Aiden. But beyond that, it’s mainly the older kids holding him, or my husband holding him. I am only there in spirit; in other words, behind the camera.

Last week I was ready to scrap the “Hold-You” story I shared in a previous post. My four-year-old is small and I still hold him a lot. How could I not have pictures to match my story?

It’s a dramatic example of something I already wanted to write about: photographing the relationships between different members of your family.

Following are 6 tips to help you capture and document each paired relationship within your own family.

1. Make sure you have photos for every possible pair within your family.

In high school I took a lot of drama classes. I wasn’t a very good actress, but I did learn some things. One was that any time a character entered the stage, there should be some sort of subtle demeanor-change in the characters that are already on.

This is because different people bring out different parts of our personalities.

Who I am with my son Blake is slightly different than who I am with my daughter Trinity. Trinity is slightly different when she is with Aiden than she is when she is with Blake.

Each pair is a unique dynamic to capture and celebrate.

2. Make sure you have photographs of yourself with each one of your children.

Someday when you are gone, will your children have photos to remind them of their special relationship with you?

While we’re at it, make sure you photograph your spouse with each child as well. And not just once, but periodically as your child grows.

3. Photograph each of your children with their grandparents.

I am fortunate to have in-laws who devote a day every year to each of their 14 grandchildren, to spend time with them one-on-one. My desire to document those days in our scrapbooks made me realize I need one-on-one photos with the grandparents and each of my children.

Even if I never scrapbooked those “dates” they have together, my children will treasure a photo of themselves with Nana and Grandpa.

And by the way, don’t forget about photos of yourself and your spouse with each of your parents!

4. Take advantage of extended family gatherings to capture relationships.

Think beyond the event or the holiday. For many years, when our family got together I only photographed my kids taking part in the festivities. Now I try harder to capture relationships, as well.

These photos tell their own story, separate from the event in which they take place. You don’t have to include these pictures with all the other ones from that specific event. Separate them. Let them tell their own stories.

The photo in the layout at the top is from one of our geo-caching adventures. I will not be putting that layout with the others from that event, though. It is going into an album about us and who we are.

5. Crop new photos out of old ones to get the relationship you need.

Sometimes I want to scrapbook a topic about two members of our family, and to my shock and horror, I cannot find a photo of those two people together at the age that I want. Of course, that is always a wake-up call to pull out my camera.

Have you experienced this?

When a scrapbook page is calling and you don’t want to wait until you can take print new photos, you can divert to Plan B: Find a picture where those two people are together in a group, make a duplicate version of that photo, and then I crop a new photo of just the two people you need.

The result is two completely different photographs.

A New Purpose

Look through your pictures. Have you taken photos of each pair within your family? Writing this article, I realized that I definitely have not. I’ll be making use of my camera over the next little while with the particular goal of capturing more of the one-on-one relationships that make up who we are as a family.

Would you like to join me?

* * *

Daddy’s Girl: 8 1/2 x 11 layout.

Journaling directed to Trinity reads: He definitely treats you like a real Daddy’s Girl. I love to hear you two talking together. And I know you love it, too.

Products used: Patterned paper (Close To My Heart, Crate Paper); Journal spots (7 gypsies); Ribbon (from own stash); Rub-on’s (My Mind’s Eye); Letter stickers (Creative Memories); Pen (American Craft).

Layout is based on Sketch #19 from Janelle Richmond’s Sketch This website.

This layout will go in my “This Is Us, Together” album.

  • Love you!!! You are always so informative and helpful!!! What aan awesome memory to capture….Israel and Trinity look so cute!!!
    Love the layout!!!
    E.mail me!!!


  • Noell, you’re so right. I’m myself always the one who takes the camera and never been in front of it with the kids or my husband alone! After I got the pleasure to use photo booth I can take pics with one of my kids myself, but still its bad quality and limited.
    I’ll have your advice in mind from now on and push myself to give the camera away…
    Have a wonderful day!

  • Jacki

    Thank you for these important tips. Its so true – there are almost no photos of me with my children. I feel stupid asking someone to take a pic of me with them when
    its always me taking all the pics. I will have to change that. I love the suggestion to have pictures of each child with the grandparents. Great idea. I only wish I had more of mine with my Mom before she passed away. I am thankful for all the ones I do have though. I love your site and all the ideas you put out for us!

  • Awesome post and awesome page…always such a treat (to my brain and eyes) to visit, Noell!

  • detta owens

    I have learned so much from you since I started reading your blog. This is such a great tip. I am pretty good about handing the camera off to people. In fact, I can be pretty annoying about it. haha I learned my lesson when my Dad died 4 years ago. We had several pictures of my oldest with him over the years since she was the first grandchild but my youngest was devastated that there were no pictures of just her and her grandpa. Lots of group shots and shots with her sister in it, too but none of just the two of them since he died before big events like graduation, etc. Thank goodness for PSE. I created some for her. I am now taking pictures of everyone all the time.

  • Jacki and Detta-What a difficult way to learn a lesson–not having enough pictures with someone who has now died. Very sad.

    I thought I was really good about getting myself in pictures because Israel and I spend a lot of time shooting each other when we go on trips. It didn’t occur to me that I didn’t have pictures of myself with each of my kids until just recently.

    Katrin–I’ve tried the PhotoBooth thing too! Really bad quality, huh? Oh, well.

  • LOVE this layout – great colours & design. your tips are fantastic! thank you for sharing.

  • mel

    This post really got me thinking and I have been working on getting it done. I really enjoy the things you write about :)