Every year around Mother’s Day, I like to challenge moms to put themselves in their photos for a period of two weeks. Why do we always leave ourselves out??? I know why. The kids are cuter. They’re not worried if their smile lines are too defined or if the angle they are standing is going to make their upper arms look huge.
Plus, we feel it’s our responsibility to document our family. But documenting sadly means that when our kids look back through our photos, it will look like we weren’t even there.
Leaving myself out of photos is not just something that happened when I became a mom. I have a long time affliction. Recently, my mom pulled out my old photo albums from high school and college and I swear, 95% of the photos were pictures that I took of my friends with no evidence of my involvement whatsoever. All my kids wanted to see were old photos of their mom and I was like— ummm… do you want to see pics of the girl who lived in the dorm room next to me? How about some shirtless guy that isn’t Dad?
I don’t even remember most of the people’s names!
In that moment, I wanted to roll back time, give the camera to a random person passing by and make sure I was in the middle of every single one of my pics. Big upper arms be damned.
In case you are extra camera shy, I like to give added incentive for moms to put themselves in their photos. This year it’s an $100 gift card to CVS Pharmacy every day for 14 days to moms who post pics on Instagram with the hashtag #PutMominthePhoto. That’s a total of 14 winners winning a total of $1400.
As most of you know, I’ve been putting together my book for the past year, which in addition to the writing involves lots of pictures. When I was going over the first pass of the layout with my editor, she said, “I feel like you are missing from your book.”
She was right. I had tons of pics of Mazzy, Harlow and Mike, but I was oddly absent. Godamnit, I want to be in my own book!
I ended up going back through all my portable hard drives and old photo libraries and pulling every photo of me I could find. Luckily, I have done a few photo shoots for the blog in which my presence was required or else those pickings would have been even slimmer. I made a folder called “Pics of me” and gave a few to my editor for the book. Once they were all in one place, I realized— I LOVE THESE PHOTOS!!!! They show the love I have for my family and the love they all have back for me. You can’t see that when you are behind the camera.
Then I made a gift for myself, just for Mother’s Day. I took that folder, uploaded all the pics to CVS Photo and made myself an album. I am in EVERY SINGLE PICTURE.
Honestly, when I got the album back, it felt a little self-serving and ridiculous. But it’s also beautiful and shows me at my happiest. I created a premium layflat photo book, which in person, looks incredibly high quality with a hard cover, thick pages, full bleeds and great design. Not exactly what I’d expect from my local pharmacy.
You can easily create the books, as well as prints, posters, calendars, cards and special decor on the CVS Photo site and you can even get prints on-the-go right from the CVS Pharmacy Mobile app, available for same day pickup. A lot of the items can even be printed with same day service so you are not too late to make a Mother’s Day gift. (FYI, the premium layflat photo book takes 1-2 weeks.)
Make sure if you are printing a large high quality photo that after you hit “upload photos,” you click “upload preferences” in the bottom lefthand corner to select “full resolution.” Otherwise, it defaults to standard resolution.
Also, once you upload your high resolution photos, they are there forever in your account, so a few days later, I went back in and printed a large wood wall panel of our feet that is going to look great in our summer house.
I am very happy to have this album, even if it’s Ilana overkill. But you know who is going to appreciate it the most, I think?
My kids. One day, they’ll look back and know I was definitely there.
Maybe too much.
Don’t forget to hashtag your Instagram photos #PutMomInthePhoto for the next 14 days to win an $100 CVS gift card! There will one winner every day. You must follow both @mommyshorts and @CVSpharmacy to win.
And the winners are…
@wendymelissa, @mamaspotts, @demi365, @kelli_mdn, momarazzi412, @moricat, @natflylove, @akbaskett248, @wendybarry23, @peacelovencoffee, @wendi1976, @2creativesouls, @survivingtwins101, niknikboenigk
CONGRATS! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize
Every since you made that post years ago, I made it my mission to “momstagram”every May, and not just for 2 weeks, but the entire month! I got my friends working on it this year too. Last year I got all 30 days (to make it even I removed one day) worth of instagram pictures framed in a poster. At first I felt bad that the hubby wasn’t in them, but I got over that quickly. I hung it outside the bathroom door so when the girls are brushing their teeth I often catch them looking at it and smiling. So thank you Ilana for encouraging me to be in pictures, even if it is only for a month of the year!
That’s amazing! I’m so happy to hear you made this a regular thing. I’m really thankful that sometimes I need to include myself in photos for the blog or else I really don’t know how often I would do it!
How did the iPhone photos turn out in high resolution? I am always hesitant to print and be disappointed.
They turned out great! Maybe not as crisp as photos from a real camera but if you look at the pics in the album above, 7 out of 12 were taken with an iPhone. It happens that the full page photos pictured are all from a real camera but I am going to look back at my album to see if there are any full page iPhone photos. I’ll get back to you!
Okay, I looked at the album and all the full page photos are taken with a real camera so I can’t say how the iphone photos will look full page. They look totally fine half page so I would say just put more than one photo on a page and you should be fine.
I love this idea. I always tell my husband not to get me anything for mothers day but I’m going to ask him to do this for me! Wish me luck.
What a great idea! I don’t think it’s self centered at all–they show you WITH the people you love, and highlight all the emotions between you. It helps remind you of how you felt in each moment together, not just how the people around you were feeling.
I’ve been meaning to do this for some time. so today, I will 🙂
I love this so much! As a photographer, I photograph so many mamas with their babies and kids, but rarely take the time to get my own photos with my Lily. I’ll be handing my camera over to my husband a lot more often going forward.
I love this. When you first mentioned it a couple years back we brought a photographer in to the toddler group we run to take mommy/kiddo pics for Mother’s Day and so many moms said the same, that they were rarely in the pictures – they loved it that we made them have their photos done for free and the shots were beautiful, every last one. My main problem is the hubs, while always willing, does not take the best pics. I am over the fact my arms are nowhere near toned but I like to have my whole head in the picture. Bless him, at least we’re all working on it.
[…] before Mother’s Day, I launched a contest with CVS all about making sure moms put themselves in their family photos. We often feel it is our […]