getting in the shot

So yesterday was crazy in regards to SnapShops. For those of you that were not able to get a spot, I hate that it happened so fast. Within 90 minutes all four were full! I currently do not have any plans for more in 2011, but that could change. I know a lot of you are waiting for news about an online version. I am still hoping to get that going, my goal is June (maybe posting that will help me get it done!). When that day comes I will share it here and on Facebook. The online version will be a bit different (it is online afterall). One benefit is that more will be able to participate at a time. I’ll let you know….


I’ve been asked about how I get into so many shots, so I thought I’d share on that today. I don’t want to be ‘missing’ from our yearly photo albums, but the reality is Chris isn’t home 24/7 so I have to find other ways to get in the pictures. Here are a few of my methods:

Method 1: Chris

A lot of times I get the camera settings where I want and tell him exactly what I want in the shot. Sometimes he just captures what he wants.

Method 2: Self-timer

To take pictures using the self timer I first decide where I want to be in the photo. Next I place someone or something in that spot, focus on the spot & take a trial picture. If everything looks good I leave the settings alone, turn it to the timer and then jump in the shot.

For this picture I left the sanding block on the floor, focused, set the timer and got back in.

For this one I set the camera on the countertop behind us. She was standing in the chair, so I took one focused on her…set the timer and stepped in.


Method 3: Me

Usually this means shooting on automatic (my focus button is on the back so it is difficult to hold the camera with one hand, focus & shoot). For this photo I just held the camera high over my head. Some of you asked previously what is in this bowl: Greek Plain yogurt, granola, berries, white chocolate chips & honey (thanks Meredith for showing this to me at the frozen yogurt place).


For this one of my niece and I…I held the camera out in front of us and hoped we were in the frame.

I don’t shoot into mirrors very often, but every now and then it works. I’ve also set the timer and shot into a mirror so my face isn’t covered.

Method 4: My kids

My kids are always around and always love to take pictures. I switch everything to automatic (again because my focus button is not the same as my shutter button on Manual, but on Automatic they are both on the same button).

Below my oldest was using my cell phone to take a few pictures. His perspective always makes me smile.

My oldest with my big camera…a little out of focus and on automatic, but it works.


My 3 year old son took this one. He wanted to take a picture with my big camera. He was sitting down, I put it on automatic. He can barely lift it so I just squatted holding FireCracker until I saw my reflection in the lens then I told him to ‘push the button’.

If you are thinking “I don’t want any pictures of myself” or even if you do want to be included…

you should read this post I wrote in 2009.

And along those lines have you seen Emily’s Embrace the Camera? I’m linking up today (since this post just so happens to fit!)

back to top share on facebook tweet this post pin site image email a friend
  • Melissa - Awesome tips! Thank you!

  • Danielle - I love taking pictures with my boys! I realized over a year ago that I had barely any pictures with me in them so I did a 365 project of self portraits! I have some of my favorite pictures of all time with me and my children from that project. I think it is important to be able to give that gift to our children.

  • Lindsay - Great tips! Thank you for sharing. I have a baby on the way, so I’ll be sure to get creative. This reminds me of the movie… Now I don’t remember the name, but the one with Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams and a million other people – Craig T. Nelson… about the big family. Anyway, I love how they show the picture of Diane Keaton at the end holding her baby. It’s such a precious memory and one that will come and go so fast. I don’t want to forget those days! Who care what we look like. I would never think twice about seeing a picture of my mom in sweats and messy hair. We are our worst critics so we all need to just let. it. go. Thanks!

  • Lindsay - Family Stone. πŸ™‚ per comment above.

  • LeeH - Wow, you’re right.. I hate seeing pictures of myself (for all those reasons)so I hate having my picture taken, but I get it. I have plenty from when they were young (I was thin then) and there aren’t so many opportunities now but I hear ya. They don’t see what I see and aren’t critical of me because they love me.

  • Caroline - Cool!
    I always like the photos kids take. They always have a very different perception which is very true and beautiful!
    Last photo taken by big brother is nice! πŸ™‚

  • Erin - The Smallest Sparrow - Thanks so much for these great ideas. I’ve tried the self-timer a couple of times but need to get more courageous and try it again. Who cares if I’m in my jammies. My kids certainly don’t.

    Can’t wait for more info on your online class. I’m pretty sure I’ll be signing up (if there’s space available) once you post.

    Would have loved to do the snap shop. We were almost going to be in your town for a wedding the weekend of April 30 but alas we have a commitment in Chicago. Bummer.

  • Kaylee @ life chasers - great post. couldn’t agree more πŸ™‚

  • Wendy - Your pics are always so fabulous…. wait your blog is in general πŸ™‚ Great tips and techniques! Thanks!

  • Jane - Love your ideas, it’s a shame my daughter is already in college and I have so few pictures of her with me throughout many years. As mother’s we tend to take loads of pictures when the children are really small but as they go to school and our lives are filled with activities we take pictures of events but not every day like before. I love love love the simple ways to get in the picture and I definitely won’t let the fact that my hair is sticking up and no makeup has made the scene. We know we want our children to be real genuine people and not worry so much about superficial things. Our photos should be the first place to show our real selves!

  • Allison - Thanks for the photo tips Ashley! I always love when you do those. And I especially love the photos your kids took.

  • Jess - I love this post, it is such a great reminder. I always struggle with getting in pictures with my son, since my husband always complains about taking them. So needless to say, most are self-portraits of us or timer shots. But who cares? At least I’m in them πŸ™‚ That’s what matters the most to me, so he sees that I was present in his little life.

  • Jodi - Great post Ashley, I never ever get in my photos!!! All of your photos of you and the kids are just beautiful! I need, need that online course. I can’t get out of AV mode. ;))))

  • Kelly - I have to say it – people ask you the weirdest questions. Somebody really wanted to know what was in the bowl? I don’t know why I find this so odd, but I do. πŸ™‚
    That post you wrote in 2009 is one of my favorites. I found it via Julie from Joy’s Hope back then and have it bookmarked. I think of it often.
    Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

  • giozi - Thanks for your tips

  • Lesley - Glad you posted tips on self-timer. I can never get it right – and alas, I don’t put an object there to focus on first. Well duh. Thanks.

  • Abigail - I have some family members who never want their picture taken, I used to be that way, until I realized that there would never be proof I went anywhere, did anything, had any fun with my family…in a photo-album-oriented-family like mine, the absense would be conspicuous. I decided to get over my tween self, and I’ve been a ham ever since.

  • Kimberly - GREAT post today! Thanks for the reminder to come out from behind and be in front with my children. Something I don’t (and they don’t) have enough of is photos with mommy.

  • around here | san francisco photographer » Krista Lund Photography - […] *updated to add…how fitting! one of my fave photog blogs i read (mentioned above) has a post up today about getting in the photo and how she does it…read here: Ashley Ann Campbell blog […]

  • Jill E. - i am still working on mastering the self timer, the focus is a killer and i always forget to put it on auto when i hand it to someone else and they i the photo usually ends up with me about the say something.

  • Abby P - I LOVE reading your blog, I refer to it alot in my blog:)
    I’m about to buy a camera, and so I asked my photographer brother what he would recommend for a stay at home mom wanting to capture her kids and not having alot of money….He sent me to B&H camera online and sent me to the Canon EOS Rebel XS SLR Digital Camera and to get the (blurry backgrounds that I want) he said to buy the lens with F/1.8…..Does that do it? I saw where you posted that we need a 2.8 do get blurry backgrounds, but I do not have 1,000 to drop on a lens?

  • Rhonda Steed - I am trying to do this MORE this year so that I am in some too! Great tips!

  • kassondra - thank you sooo much for this post!!!! big help now i wont be ‘missing’ in my family album either πŸ™‚

  • Stacy - Thank you for that… I am new to your blog, but already an admirer of your photography and your sense of family, fun and style. I have an almost 5 mo. old and I’m so glad I read your post from ’09. It’s absolutely right on and I don’t want to miss opportunities for precious, priceless photos w/ my daughter… double chin or not!

  • Jess - I’ve really gotten into doing self portraits, although I need to do them with the kids more. I really struggle with the arms-lengths ones, because I also use back button focus… and something (pride?) kept me from realizing it’s okay to flip that switch to “auto”. If you can do it, I can too!

  • Kristine - Love the tips!! And yay for mommas getting in the pictures too πŸ˜‰

  • Heather @ Cookie Mondays - ONLINE VERSION! πŸ™‚

  • cailan - This is really good for me. I’m always taking pictures, but only have a handful of pics of myself with my kiddos. It’s sad! I need to make this effort – thank you for showing me how. And HOW I WOULD LOVE TO ATTEND A SNAP SHOP! Someday, I hope!

  • Jessica - I’ve been better about rockin’ the self-timer myself, because like you said, otherwise we (as moms) will never be in any of the pictures. I did some baking with my 4 year-old yesterday and got a couple decent shots of her and I- it was fun!

  • Jenny Joy - I just read your “She left proof” post from back in ’09. It made me cry a little. I am horrible about having my picture taken. I hate it. HATE IT. But, point absolutely taken. I will start including myself in all those photos I take every day, double chins, fat thighs, zits on my nose and all. Not for me, but for my kids.

  • Andi Adams - I love reading your posts! And I am so glad you joined E.T.C.! πŸ™‚ Thanks for the advice! Very helpful!

  • Sheila - What a coincidence – I’ve done a post about Embrace The Camera on my blog today too!! I’ve been meaning to start doing it for ages and have finally started what I hope will become a great habit πŸ™‚

  • amanda torres - I remember that post well. Since then Steven and I have been more aware of who and when is in the photos. We cherish the photos of our grandparents and parents so it’s important for us to make an effort to put us in pics. Even if that means I look like dookie!

  • keely - Yet another inspiring post. Thank you! I linked up, too!

  • Lisa Pummel - I need to take a shower and put make-up on before I get in any shots! Man…that takes effort!! I love your blog and your photography and your kids. Thanks for being a constant inspiration.

  • Dana Reeves - You are so thoughtful to share these tips. It was helpful.Thank you!!

    **Your kids look like they could be “Gap” models. I see who your daughter takes after……YOU. She is a cutie!!

  • Laurie J - LOVE all the fun pics and tips to get behind the camera! I just bought my first dslr camera yesterday on clearance w/an add’l 30% off b/c it was the last one… were my inspiration, AA! thanks πŸ™‚ (now I just have to read the instruction manual from cover to cover and review your blog!)

  • Erinn L - You have no idea how badly I needed these tips. I hate it when I try to go back and find photos of me with my kids and I realize there are none. NONE!

  • Jami - Ok, you are my hero right now! You just answered so many questions for me.Thank you, thank you , thank you! This is why I love bloggy land. Your blog is great!

  • Leanne - I have a hard time getting in front of the camera because I’m the only one home to take them. thanks for sharing your methods, I want to be in the pictures with my kids too!!

  • Kristin Eldridge - I embraced the camera: πŸ™‚

  • Mommy Girl - Love all the photos and tips – thanks! And I love the dresser in your room – how fun!

  • Sarah Doerfler - I am so with you on this one! it is crazy; we are our own worst critics like another comment said. you have compelled me to use the timer more often!! I think I’ll even try letting one of the littles take some shots of me. I’ve heard that scrapbookers story before, and it is touching. I treasure photos of me and my parents and me and my grandparents. I do want to give that gift to my kiddos. a great reminder! Thanks!

  • Mrs. Dunbar - I love it when you give tips.

    Still hoping for the online version of SnapShops.

  • Kelly - Alrighty! First comment here, I think! Jumpin in=) But, have been a faithful follower of your blog for some time! Love this post! Thanks for the challenge and the tips!

  • TidyMom - LOVE this post Ashley…….thanks for the reminder and tips

  • s h e r r y - πŸ™‚ Thanks for these tips! I love it.

  • pattilouwho - I really needed this post today because you are totally right about being in the shot. I’m in very few photos with my kids and it’s usually when we are on a trip and my hubby takes the photo (he is a great photographer, so I don’t need to coach him!) But we have a problem with always taking photos of the kids and never getting us in the shot…so thank you for the reminder to always try to get myself in there. πŸ™‚

  • Sara - Great suggestions. I too find myself behind the camera the majority of the time and it’s hard to remember to include yourself sometimes in the hectic-ness that is life. You inspired me to do some shots of me and my daughter today (without makeup on…gasp!), so thank you!

  • Emily - Thank you!

  • Natalie - Thank you for the advice. I have hardly any pictures with me and my 10 month old twins and I regret that decision already. Look out camera here I come!!!

  • Corrie - Thanks for the reminder. I just asked Kyle the other day to please take a picture of me with the boys πŸ™‚

  • Amanda D - I stinkin love your posts Ashley!! EVERY SINGLE ONE. I WILL be in more pictures from now on, thanks to you!

  • because love is a lifestlye - Thanks for the tips! I love your blog! It’s my most favorite. I feel like we have a lot common… Thanks for all that you put into it!

  • Danielle J. - Ashley, I stumbled upon your blog some time ago. What is funny is I just moved to the Tulsa area and can’t believe you are in OK. I really have taken this post to heart. I never get in the pictures with my kids. And I now feel horrible. Lesson learned…..I will take more photos of my kids with myself in them. I want them to remember me too and not just their childhood with me behind the camera. Thanks you!

  • Melissa | ISβ€’LY - I remember reading your post about this back in 2009, and quite regularly I think about it. It’s always been so frustrating to get pictures of me with my family, since I’m almost ALWAYS the one behind the camera.

    Thanks for sharing how you get in front of the camera! I made my husband buy me a wireless remote for my birthday. It’s amazing how less stressful taking pics of me has become. Although, embarrassingly enough, it hasn’t changed the amount of pics I get with Penelope (and now Felix). That’s going to change.

    BTW, I’m just noticing, you’ve got the Prophoto 3 theme! I just got it & am in the process of installing it. I LOVE IT so far. Have you liked it?

  • lutachi - Your pictures are amazing. I’ve attempted to take pictures of myself and failed lamentably. Thanks for showing us how you do it. It really helped.

  • Gabrielle - Design Mom - Such a helpful post! Really wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to write it up and teach us. Seriously. Love this!

  • amy - Ashley, A couple of months ago I started reading your blog. I love all of the practical things you write about. I’m a wannabe photographer, homeschool mom of two boys and I recently started my own blog. Your post yesterday about capturing images of us moms with our kids really hit home. I wrote about it today on my own blog and posted a link to your blog at the end. I hope that is ok. I only shared my own thoughts on the matter, encouraged my readers to check out your blog, and issued a challenge for all of us to capture moments with our children. Thanks so much for drawing attention to this matter for all of us! God bless! ~amy

  • Sarah Doerfler - great encouragement! I saw that post by Emily too, and with both of you challenging, I’m in! πŸ™‚ Yay!

  • Kara - Your photos are truly amazing. This is a really helpful post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Carissa - You inspired me to “get in the shots” this coming week! Really, I’m horrible at it and was hardly in our album last year at all. I’m going to do better!

  • amanda - It’s so great to remind mothers how important it is to be in pictures with their children. I read that post you linked from 2009 and the story really moved me. My mother passed away 8 years ago, when I was 13, and I have few treasured pictures of the two of us together. I often wish I had more to remember her by.

  • Laura - Thanks for such a good reminder, Ashley. Love your photography, grateful for your tips and your encouragement. I wrote a little bit at “the given life” about following your advice and linked back to this post.

  • pam heggie - Hi Ashley,
    Another wonderful post!! I am dying to know what the name of the cursive font is that you used on your pictures to say where you placed your camera?? It’s to die for cute…I have a problem getting this excited over a new font, but that’s okay, right?? Oh, and your newest post, with Firecracker’s sad face after you tried to smooth her bangs down made me giggle right out loud!!! I have two cowlicks, and have never been able to have bangs, though my mom certainly attempted a few times! πŸ™‚ Growing bangs out is where it’s at anyways!!!

  • sayonada thomas - I have to say thank you so much for sharing this and your previous post on this topic. I often thing to myself that as the family photographer, I’m not doing enough taking pictures of myself. You’ve inspired me to learn how to use the timer on my camera. Thank YOU!

    On a completely different note, thank you for sharing your beautiful style and family with us! I often read your posts and think to myself that your life — the 3 boys and a girl, the fighting, the chaos, the playing and the treasured joyful moments are JUST what I want to create in my home. I’ve got one little boy and am working on a second child now, and I can’t wait for all of our little adventures!

  • Yolanda @ Miss Refashionista - I wish I lived closer so I can join Snapshots.


  • Marisa - These are fabulous tips! This is one of my goals for the year.

  • AmberLee - this was the best post. i really needed this reminder. i always forget until I go back to find photos that I’m never in them. now I have a strategy.

    p.s. love greek yogurt and berries, can’t wait to throw in white chocolate! mmmm.

  • Jolie - Ashley, this is such a wonderful post, thank you. I have all sorts of (self-imposed) reasons why I don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera – but I am am truly trying…it occurred to me a little while ago that if I died tomorrow (God forbid!) the kids would have memories and quilts and crafts, but no photos of me, nevermind of us together. And memories don’t last forever when you’re 4, and quilts and things wear out. So I really just need to get over my issues – if I have body issues and don’t particularly like what I look like, then I need to do something about that, and for today, well this is me today and I owe it to my kids to record that. So thank you, every post of yours like this feels like a personal reminder for me to forget the vanity and remember the priority – being there with my kids. Thanks!

  • A Tiny Little Ponytail | snippets :: by Leslie Ann Jones - […] read a post on Under the Sycamore last week about “getting in the shot” that inspired me to make it work. I’m always a little too sheepish to ask other people to […]

  • down time | giverslog - […] and having picnics of chips and salsa and playing for hours. It was perfect. (Ever since reading this I have been trying diligently to be good about getting in pics with my kids. I’m getting […]

  • Seedpod Craft » Blog Archive - […] free resource is chalk full of classics.Β  Hooray for free! May 18th, 2011 getting in the shot filed […]

  • Mom's photo challengeBecoming you - […] Getting in the shot and She left proof @ Ashley Ann Photography […]

  • Miscellany Monday | Just A Night Owl - […] albums of their growing up years and I will be missing completely! He’s right. Well, I read a post. This needs to change. I’m gonna work on […]

  • Dhini - wonderful pictures and thanks for the tips.

  • Learn to Love the Camera | Natural Parents Network - […] that Ashley Ann writes one of my favorite blogs. She crafts, she parents, she photographs. And this is my favorite post regarding putting yourself in the picture. She also recently posted a quick tutorial on how she got […]

  • Seed of This Land Photography - Hi Ashley Ann. This is how we get all our shots too. Lots of me thinking “This would love awesome in a photo!” so I set it up and retake it. Thank goodness for autofocus and self-timer!

    Lovely pics, by the way!