March 5, 2013

Text and second image by Gabrielle. Top image by Ben Blair.

Friends. I’d love your thoughts on self portraits — or “selfies” when the word portrait implies more thought and intention. : )

The other day, I wondered if I was taking enough of them. Then immediately was embarrassed for thinking such a thought! I’ve been instagramming in earnest for a year now. As I write this, there are 520+ images in my instagram stream, and with a quick count, of those 520+ photos, there are only one dozen that show my face. (Two of the dozen are pictured here.)

Am I not showing up in my own life? Will my kids have pictures of me with them? Or just photos of me posing in my Alt Summit outfits? Does it matter?

Then my thoughts travel here: why are some people so comfortable with selfies while others avoid them? I’m thinking of people like writer and creator Amy Turn Sharp who does a great job of showing up in her own life. Or Stephanie Nielson. I’ve been reading her blog since before I started blogging, and she has a long history of being comfortable snapping photos of herself.

I’m confident. I like the way I look. I love my body. But I was so hesitant to hit publish on this post. What’s the story?

And related: how many selfies is too many? If we came up with a concrete goal to instagram ourselves once per week for a year, is that an interesting record, or do we leave our instagram followers gagging at the over exposure?

What’s your take on self portraits? Do you take them often? Do you take them at all? Like me, are you aware of how often you’re taking (or not taking) them? Would love your thoughts!

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{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah B. March 5, 2013 at 9:54 am

I was just thinking about this yesterday as a perused family photos on our computer. Of the thousands of family photos we’ve taken over the past 13 or so years, I am in very, very few of them, and even less have both me and my husband together. I often wonder how our kids will interpret this as they get older and look back through our albums.


2 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:34 am

I know what you mean, Sarah. My husband and I have a happy marriage, but I don’t know if there’s much record of it in our images. : )


3 Aimee March 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

I know for me I’m always afraid that somehow taking pictures of myself may come across as narcissistic. Who wants to be guilty of that? Its a fine line I guess. My mom always hated getting her picture taken and so I have very few pictures of her and the ones I do have she is usually putting her hand in front of the camera or frowning. However sometimes for me its as simple as loving being behind the camera thinking my subjects are way more interesting that me.


4 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:36 am

The fear of being narcissistic makes me put the brakes on selfies, too. I find that people assume a certain level of narcissism from bloggers in general, and I feel so awful about that and have an instinct to combat it.


5 suzanne March 6, 2013 at 8:08 am

I agree with the narcissism angle. That said, I think ensuring you appear in family photos and your **family’s** photographic record of your life does not require a public representation of “selfies” on social media sites/blogs, etc. I love seeing pictures of my parents when young, and I know having those for my own children will be a gift to them some day. Our whole culture has changed, though, with what is private or what is for public consumption. Everything seems to be public, and I don’t know that serves us best in the long run. Every time I post pictures of myself online it seems unnecessary, so I don’t do it much either. (But I love the courage Nie Nie Dialogue shows in posting her face/life. It speaks deeply to ideas of beauty and teaches us with each photo she posts.)


6 Molly March 5, 2013 at 9:59 am

I think a little can go a long way when it comes to self portraits. That being said, I am pretty liberal with the selfies on my Instagram feed. Maybe it’s time to start self-editing. :)


7 amy j. March 5, 2013 at 10:01 am

I am a photographer. That being said, I am always on the backside of the camera. I take nearly daily photos of those I love, as most of us do nowadays. I have thousands of daily photos of THEM. Yet, there are barely any photos of ME! And the reason is because of practicality, obviously. I am the one with the camera and the skills, so therefore I use it. When someone takes a photo of me I get all out of sorts. I do not feel comfortable out from behind the lens. When I’m put in front of it, I feel anxious and put on the spot. It’s not only insecurity, but also lack of control. So, hence the wonder that is a selfie! When I am in control of the images of ME I am capture how I want to be captured. I make sure to capture myself in the way I “see” myself and hope others see me in photos…just as I do when I am taking photos of others. So, I do not think taking photos of yourself is bad or weird. I think it’s sort of required if you want to be documented in the life you devote so much of your time and energy capturing already! My favorite photos of me with my children are selfies! Learning to preserve YOU in the memory keeping of your life is critical…if not for you, then for those in your family who will not want all those photos of themselves in 20 years, but be desperate for just a handful of YOU!!! Make it a priority for others benefit, as well as your own. : )


8 Sunshine March 5, 2013 at 10:01 am

I love that you wrote this post! I’ve been thinking about it so much lately… I rarely ever take pictures of myself, ever. And the ones I do take and consider instagramming or posting usually never get posted… the narcissistic bathroom mirror shots that I see on my feed on a daily basis have scared me from taking any pictures of myself! I think it’s time to get over this and be bold – thank you for sharing the lovely pictures of yourself – your face (and not just your writing voice) are beautiful!


9 Zoe - SlowMama March 5, 2013 at 10:09 am

I hear you on this! I have very few shots of myself and there are two main reasons: I’m usually the one with the camera and I hate pretty much every shot of myself so I avoid them. I don’t mind myself in video, and I’m a very confident person, but stick me behind a still camera lens and I’m suddenly awkward. I guess that’s the reason photos rarely turn out being a good likeness, and it’s not just my imagination — a friend of mine is a professional photographer and even *she* has said I’m one of her hardest subject to photograph well. Sigh. Maybe I just need to make more videos? Not sure, but I do wish I had more and better shots of myself, and I definitely want more of me with my daughters.


10 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:37 am

I want more of me with my kids, too.


11 Jenni Bailey March 5, 2013 at 10:12 am

I am just as torn on this one as you. Part of me does want to show up more, if not for myself then for my little girls to see later – my six year old currently has taped up in her bedroom a polaroid of me when I was a toddler, she absolutely loves it. But part of me just can’t get serious when I point a camera at myself. And can’t get confident about asking someone else to. I see so many awesome selfies on Instagram and I really admire those shooters for just going for it. Maybe I’ll put it on my mid-year resolutions list.


12 Rebecca Alexis March 5, 2013 at 10:13 am

I have always been so very awkward around the camera -so very self conscious that most of the time I would duck out of pictures or mess them up on purpose. recently I have come to realize that it is important for my boys to have pictures of me from the here and now. While they are young. And though I still don’t take the best pictures, I am a little more loose about them letting the people take my photo etc, especially with the boys. I also started a blog recently and still struggle a bit with my profile pic. so much so, I put it down at the end of the blog and was just considering taking it out all together. What do you all think, are self portraits on blogs distracting or inviting? xxoo


13 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:38 am

Inviting! I like to have an image of the writer that I’m reading.


14 Rebecca Alexis March 8, 2013 at 7:04 pm

you are lovely. I of course think its distracting when it comes to my blog, but most of the time, not other blogs! I do so love having an image of the writer in my head. xo


15 Laura March 5, 2013 at 10:19 am

I was thinking about this the other day when it comes to pictures of my kids and I. So many pictures are just of the kids, and I want more of all of us together, largely for their memories. However, I want these for our own personal collection. Whether or not this is right, I do think negatively when people post way too many selfies on facebook or on other social media. I tend to think people do it for a couple of reasons. Either they are a bit conceited, or on the flip side, they are looking for praise and validation to feel better about themselves. I know this may not be true in everyone’s case, but they unfortunately are the first thoughts in my mind when people overexpose themselves through selfies. I tend to purposefully underexpose myself in photos online though, so I”m probably on the extreme opposite end. Nothing to do with self confidence. I just don’t see a need for it.


16 Lisette Wolter-McKinley March 5, 2013 at 10:19 am

I always small bigger and brighter when I am in a photo with someone rather than just solo.


17 kalanicut March 5, 2013 at 10:22 am

Totally something I’ve been thinking about and trying to make amends about. I have about 5 photos of me & my little family that I actually like. That’s awful. We need to take a lot more photos together. I need to make more appearances in the photos of my family and I need to not dislike myself in the photos we have. It’s neither cute nor likable to be so uptight about photos. I am getting in them now and trying to enjoy it. Great, great topic Gabby!


18 Kate March 6, 2013 at 1:55 am

I completely agree – I’m guilty of deleting loads of pics I appear in which make me cringe because I don’t look the way I’d like to – I need to tell myself firmly that I’d rather have less-than-perfect shots that my family adore than to appear to have been absent from the archives for the whole of their childhood!


19 Alex @ northstory March 5, 2013 at 10:24 am

My good friend who is a single mom says more than 75% of the shots she has of herself and her daughter are selfies. And it makes sense b/c there’s no other adult there to take a photo of them both. Timers work to an extent but there’s something more “in the moment’ about holding a camera in your hand for that type of shot.


20 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:40 am

That does make sense. And I’m sure if I tried it, I’d get better at capturing moments of me with the kids, with time and practice.


21 sofija March 5, 2013 at 10:25 am

I often ask my husband to take pictures of ME when we go places, just so I can prove that I was there, too. :) I love that two of my kids own cameras now and they do take pictures of me. It’s fun to see what I look like from their perspective.


22 Amelia March 5, 2013 at 10:28 am

I’m trying to get into the picture more. I love seeing my parents young with us. I hope my kids will feel the same. Regarding instagram. Its a photo sharing app, I think it is fair game to post lots of pictures!


23 Lauren March 5, 2013 at 10:39 am

Such a great topic! There are very few pictures from my childhood that include my mom and I am always wishing for more memories of her. It makes me want to be conscious that we are capturing family memories as they really are- with all involved parties :)
That being said, I’m super awkward in front of the camera and that is just something I have to work through.


24 Christina @ Homemade Ocean March 5, 2013 at 10:53 am

What an interesting post. It’s so true.


25 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag March 5, 2013 at 11:10 am

I take 99.9% of my own pictures. I started largely so that my daughter can see what I looked like when she was young. Maybe a couple per month might show up on my blog. I feel like I should do more but I feel weird about it for some reason. Although the blogs that do feature a lot of selfies, like Nie’s blog and Nat the Fat Rat, I love it, I do feel a strong connection to those kind of blogs b/c they’re so free in showing themselves and it makes me feel like I ‘know’ them, you know what I mean? (also, these shots of you are lovely!)


26 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:41 am

I’m the same. I tend to feel more connected to the authors of blogs that share lots of photos of themselves.


27 Grace@ Sense and Simplicity March 5, 2013 at 11:18 am

I followed your link to Ben Blair’s instagrams and I noticed that there are far more of you on his than there are on yours (and your kiddos too). I thought that was interesting. It is difficult to take photos of oneself and as long as there are some good ones at each stage/trip/event then I think that is all that matters. I’m the photographer in our family too and I’m in fewer photos than the rest (but enough).


28 Jan March 5, 2013 at 11:58 am

Ya know, I’ve been thinking about this lately a lot. I need a headshot for a new project I’m working on, and I could find about half a dozen photos of just me over the past five years. And half of them are of my feet. I’m thinking that is too few, but I’ve never been comfortable with selfies…….But surely there’s a middle ground in there for me!


29 Sandra Gonzales March 5, 2013 at 12:07 pm

There’s nothing wrong with selfies in my book. It’s just a way to document your life, which goes way back to the cavemen drawings.


30 Bryony March 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I don’t have much anxiety being in front of the camera, but I always overthink it after the fact. Pictures at my sister’s graduation from uni? Great. But looking back all I could see was, “how fat am I? Look at how much baby weight I was *still* carrying.” I suppose, even though I don’t take many (except for strategic blogging purposes), that’s why I’ve been a fan of selfies: I can always get a flattering angle of myself. It’s the volume of pictures I get uncomfortable with…I always hate to seem too self-obsessed if I have to be in every picture I post.


31 Thelma March 5, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Yes, definitely you should be in the portrait. Your kids are going to want it, and need it someday. I always wish I had more photos of my mother and grandmother. I’d love to see what they looked like at my age, and if I look like them. Also, I’d love to have had more photos of me with them. I have to do a better job at having ME in the photo w/ my son!


32 Louise March 5, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Yes, we should have more pictures of ourselves, but let’s share them with those close to us and not with the whole world.


33 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:43 am

That sounds like a solid idea, Louise.


34 julia [life on churchill] March 5, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Most of my instagram photos are of the house, vintage finds..and then a mix of the kids and husband too. When I post a picture of myself I instantly get self conscious. So in a way its easier not to. I’m in the picture 1 or 2 times a month and I’m okay with that!


35 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:44 am

Once or twice a month would actually be a significant increase for me. But might be just the balance I’m looking for.


36 Sarah March 5, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Thank you for this very interesting question, Gabrielle! I think it is completely and totally up to you how much you choose to show your face via social media. You write a very interesting, beautiful, and thought provoking blog. I personally respect that you choose to keep your family life somewhat private (although I completely LOVED that recent video of your little June). I think that the world likes to see your face, but it is completely up to your own discretion how often you choose to share it with us. If it feels forced, don’t do it. You’ve built your readership by being who you are!


37 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:44 am

Thank you for the kind words, Sarah. I really appreciate it!


38 mau March 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm

I tend to avoid being in pictures, too. Being the wife of a photographer doesn’t help. There’s always a camera pointing in my direction, whether it’s a candid shot he’s trying to get (usually unsuccessfully) or because he’s shooting the kids and I happen to be next to them. If I’m not aware that someone is taking a photo of me, then I don’t really care but I find it very hard to take photos of myself. I dislike Instagrammers who fill their feed with selfies, too. It just feels too vain. However, I like seeing the face of the blogger I’m reading the words of every now and then and the same goes for Instagram. Just a little, not too much.


39 annie leavitt March 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm

What I think about is am I taking too many? Because I don’t want to turn into “that lady”. The one that ONLY takes photos of herself and nothing else. But I don’t think it’s all or nothing. I’m glad I take them later one, but catch myself deleting many of them afterwards and thinking, “man you are vein”.

Let me know what you finally decide : )


40 This girl loves to talk March 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm

there is that fine line isnt there? I actually take lots of selfies because noone else is going to take photos of me, and I can take lots and lots and choose those few ones that turn out good :) I like to have the control.
A few years ago I thought about the blogs I like most and want to emulate. I found that those blogs heavily feature the writer in photos. Its like you can connect to them. So I started to change my blog. I sometimes do wonder if people think I love myself or naricissitic.. (I hope not) cause most of the day I’m not really preoccupied with myself at all. I stopped reading some blogs cause as much as peoples kids are cute, if thats all it features it gets boring to me (I have my own cute kids!) But if you are totally self absorbed and put up a TONNE of self pics than that would turn me off too I suppose…. so back to the fine line?

I think given the nature of your blog you actually walk that fine line well. We see pics of your family and you. You could probably give us a few more of you but I think youre doing ok :)


41 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:45 am

I know what you mean about the control. I feel the same.


42 Eva March 5, 2013 at 2:36 pm

This has been a topic in our friend group lately, partly because of this article in the Huffington Post:

I say the mom stays in the picture!

By the way, drop-dead gorgeous pictures with the peonies.


43 Kate F. March 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm

I was just coming to post that link! My friends and I now tag our occasional selfies (w the kids) w #themomgetsinthepicture.


44 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:46 am

Thanks for the link, Eva! I can’t wait to read the article.


45 Christy @ My Invisible Crown March 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Wow! It’s like you took a tiny peek into my brain and thoughts. Looking through my Instagram feed you’ll only find a few at most of me. It’s mostly food or everyday randomness. I’ve always felt a little strange posting pictures of myself like I’m saying “hey, look at me” and picture everyone gagging. Not because I look hideous but because it feels like self promotion. Is it excepted more than I realize? Am I making it harder to get to know me through my feed by not showing my face? If so will it be accepted or turn people off? Great post. I’ve been wondering this. Now, to read through all these comments and see what your readers’ consensus is. Thanks Gabby! Hope you’re well. :)


46 Lynet Witty March 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I HATE selfies. But I do them because no one will take pictures of me. The only other person who will is my sister who is about 250 miles away. My husband is NO photographer. My children are too young. I do get discouraged when I do not come out in a good light in my pictures, but if 1 in 2o photos make me think I look decent, it’s a keeper and I’m proud of it. The others I am quick to hit delete on. And I don’t do this often, maybe once or twice a year.


47 Jeanne March 5, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I try and make sure I am in a picture here and there when we are out as a family. I used to not because I gained a lot of weight during my career as a mom, but I felt sad that I was the one who spent the most time with my kids and was hardly in a picture. So if I want to remember I am there I hand the camera to a child or my husband and ask them to get a picture of me, usually with someone. I am so not comfy in front of the camera. But it is nice to realize that if I give the picture some time (like a year or two) I don’t look as awful as I thought I did when I first saw the picture. But then I am usually comparing how I look in a pic with how much better I thought I looked in the mirror on that day…. if I forget that part, the rest is okay. I am not a poser though. I wish I knew how to position myself to not hate that first glance! :)


48 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:47 am

That is so true, Jeanne! Sometimes, a photo I simply couldn’t stand of myself, seems not so bad after a year or more.


49 Kathy March 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I don’t have enough selfies FOR SURE! It’s pure laziness – or inattention. I don’t ask people to take pix of me and my kids or hubby enough. Usually it’s me behind the camera. I love this post. I agree that it can be too many but I’m also always impressed with people I know who show up frequently in their own photos!!! I’m going to make the once a week goal. I’m sure it’ll end up with at least once a month – that would be 12/year which couldn’t possibly be too much!


50 Amy @ LittleONE March 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

I think we are all guilty of this – usually because we (as mothers) are the ones behind the camera! I would love to see more of you though, Gabby…I especially love the posts you do when the kids go back to school – it is lovely to see how ‘French-styled yet still childlike’ they all are. A version of you in ‘what mama wears around the house/in to town/out and about’ would be most welcome!


51 robin March 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm

there is a big difference (to me) between a “selfie” and “being in the picture”. selfies, posted on instagrams and blogs, i believe are mostly to draw compliments from followers. not that there’s anything wrong with that! we all do it! if we didn’t want to hear the praise, would we publish it? methinks no. i agree with louise… of course we should have pictures of ourselves, and more of them… but they do not all need to be public.


52 Shannon { A Mom's Year } March 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Really interesting conversation! It seems like we’re talking about two different things, though: selfies that will just be for your family vs. selfies that are part of a more public forum, like a blog.

I think we moms definitely need to get ourselves in more family photos, no matter how forced it feels! It’s for a good cause. :)

As far as public photos go, I think most of us respond well to authenticity. It’s tricky to explain what I mean, but if you’re posting photos of yourself and they truly feel like part of the story you’re telling, then it’s going to be a good thing.


53 Koseli Cummings March 5, 2013 at 5:09 pm

I love this post, Gabrielle. I don’t take many (I think my Instagram hosts only a handful w/ my face in them) but I actually want to take more because I think by doing so, I would be kicking my shyness and “my post-baby body isn’t perfect” scaredy-cat-ness in the butt. If I was there, in that place, and had the time of my life, why would I just take a picture of the place and cut my person out of that experience? It’s cheating my future self, really.

On the flip side, there can be too many selfies! Ditto Robin who said they don’t all have to be public.


54 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:51 am

“If I was there, in that place, and had the time of my life, why would I just take a picture of the place and cut my person out of that experience?”

I love this!


55 Carla March 5, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Selfies are like poetry. A lot being produced, but only a small fraction ringing with truth and beauty.


56 Mary March 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm

I absolutely understand this. There are very few pictures of me in our albums. I am not good at taking them of myself, and I hate forcing someone to do it. I want spontaneous pictures! But I think I’m going to have to start nagging the husband to take control of the camera once in a while.


57 Kristine March 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm

I am so rarely in photos – and that has been my story always. I’m a photographer. Am a child of two professional photographers – and still there are so very few. I so often have my camera in my hand, the idea of purposely being on the other side (of my own doing) rarely crosses my mind. For the first time since the novelty of having a mobile with a camera wore off years ago, two days ago I photographed myself for a blog post (where I’m chronicling my hair) and I had an a-ha moment. I should photograph myself (whether I like it or not) … or I should hand the camera to someone else now and then. I think once-a-week is reasonable. I may join you.


58 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:52 am

I hope you do, Kristine! Send me a link to your next selfie.


59 nancy March 5, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Oh please, please read this post. Shawni also references Alison Tate’s article, and she makes a really good point of getting in the pictures with your kids!

(I’m not affiliated with 71 toes, I’m not even a mom, but that post is along the same lines)


60 juliagblair March 5, 2013 at 6:51 pm

I LOVE to see your lovely face as often as possible! And the faces of the little ones and not so little ones and Ben. I wish we had more pictures of my mother and my grandmothers. One of my problems is that I look so different in the mirror than I do in photos and that can be very discouraging! Must have something to do with my eyes, or my mirrors. Your opening photo is stunning to say the least!


61 Elena March 5, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Lovely post Gabrielle, I love reading all the comments too. The link to Allison Tate’s article was great. I will make an effort to take more pictures of me and more with me and my kids :)

I read somewhere it is a good idea to keep a folder in your computer with favorite pictures of yourself… I love the idea! Anytime you need a nice picture of you (alone or with the kiddos) you can go there (instead of searching everywhere in your computer)…

For fun pictures and family portraits we like to use an “Extendable telescopic handheld Self Portrait Monopod”… You extend it and take a family picture with one hand. It works like a charm for us, especially if there is nobody around to ask for pictures…




62 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:54 am

Off to search “Extendable telescopic handheld Self Portrait Monopod”…


63 Gia March 5, 2013 at 8:13 pm

I am the main photographer in our family as well. I love photos, of all kinds and I don’t just take them of our family but of where we live and where we travel and anything really that catches my eye and I want to capture. A couple years ago I noticed that I had no pictures of myself. I had a handful from my various pregnancies but nothing recent. I was just having this thought when I started reading a blog post by Vivienne McMaster. She was writing about a favorite self portrait artist of hers. Vivienne was also introducing her new e-course. It was all about putting yourself in the picture and using your own image as a muse. Appropriately called “You are Your Own Muse” it was a several week long e-course about photography tricks, lighting, styles and community building, using your own image as the inspiration. As a newly postpartum mama for the third time I wasn’t super excited by the idea of taking a bunch of photos of myself in my sweats and driving carpool but I signed up anyway.
The class changed my life. The way I see myself, the way I photograph myself and my world. I don’t share all the images I take now, but I have a lot of fun trying out new techniques and remembering the tricks Vivienne taught.
If anyone is interested in learning more about self portraiture and how to create great images of yourself I *highly* recommend Vivienne’s courses. The other students in the course were so supportive of each other’s images and gave the best feedback. The tricks I learned I still use today and share with my other photography nerd friends. Her class didn’t require a bunch of fancy equipment, many people just used their cell phones, and the layout was super easy to follow and have fun with. If you’re interested, here’s her website.

PS. I love the image of you and Ben driving! Such a regular moment but when captured it became something really special.


64 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:55 am

I love that image, too! We have spent so much time in cars on roadtrips and previously have no record of it. I’m so glad about that little image.


65 Kate S. March 5, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I am utterly awkward and self-conscious in front of the camera, and as a result I tend to dislike photos taken of me. At the same time, there are probably ten or so photos of me from the past five years, which makes me sad. Last Christmas, my dad put together a photo slideshow set to music of the first five years of my parents’ marriage, from 1973-1978 and it was so, so beautiful. It made me think about how important it is to document our lives and to be part of that documentation ourselves. I know I will treasure the photos of my parents for the rest of my life, even the photos that were taken well before I was born. Even if selfies may seem narcissistic to some, what a gift for your children to have that extra little way to know and remember you.


66 Denise Laborde March 5, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Great subject! Allison Tate wrote about a similar subject a few months back (and I blogged my thoughts here :

I say, shoot away! Get in the picture :)



67 Jillian March 6, 2013 at 12:27 am

I love the road trip photo of you and Ben – so fun! Your children will adore it in the future (if not already)!


68 Lori March 6, 2013 at 12:50 am

My husband lost his mother when he was quite young (six). We have less than five pictures of him and his mother together. We wish there were a few more. It really is a very special thing to have candid “life” shots of you and your children.


69 Sunny Day March 6, 2013 at 2:27 am


My mom has passed away and I really regret the fact that there are some periods of her life that we have almost no pictures of her ! My husband and I try to take one picture of us together per month, since our families live far away. We send them a monthly virtual album, so they can check out what we’ve seen that was beautiful or funny.

On the other hand, unless your blog is about photography or “yourself” or “you and your family”, I don’t really see the point of taking so much pictures of yourself for public exposure. If it’s doesn’t mean anything in specific, it seems a little like ” self adoration”. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t feel good about yourself, but what does the public have to do with it? Even if we love you? Do I really have to see the face of the blogger 4 times a week? I am not sure it’s necessary.

I liked your outfits for Alt Summit, but it also made me think about all the people going there who were already nervous and excited, some to present, somme to attend and then they also had this new pressure of being well dressed, maybe not too much well dressed, but cool enough, fashionable enough, etc. I felt sort of uncomfortable, because I thought it sort of shifted from what really matters at the Alt Summit. So, in my humble opinion, it wasn’t you in the pictures or your lovely clothes, but what the message said, even if it wasn’t your intention…


70 Jane March 6, 2013 at 3:46 am

My mother died when I was eighteen. I would love, _love_ to have more photographs of her, and of her and me and the rest of our family together, in the relatively brief time we had together. It is definitely worth making sure you are part of the story.


71 Wendy and tyler March 6, 2013 at 5:00 am

Here are my selfie rules:
1. Every day is too much
2. You must not have duck face
3. If you post a lot of selfies on insta, don’t feel the need to post a bunch or words, too. Basically a selfie is usually a photo you actually like of yourself… So post it, an own it!

I sound like a jerk, don’t I…


72 Design Mom March 6, 2013 at 5:57 am

You don’t sound like jerk at all! I love that you have selfie rules. Maybe I need to write a second post on this topic and poll everybody about their self-imposed selfie rules and guidelines.

Also, I’m not totally sure what duck face is.


73 Angry Baker March 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

Oh Wendy, you make such a good duck face though! I wrote an entire post of instagram rules, including selfies and feet shots. It needed to happen.


74 Ginna March 6, 2013 at 6:35 am

As a reader, I love seeing the author’s pictures show up in their blog posts and instagram feed. I think it gives another peek into their life, and helps you feel like you “know” them better in a way, vs always just seeing photos of the other people, places, and things in their lives. Also, I’m sure your children will treasure the photos of you, and even more so your grandchildren. I love looking through the old photos of my grandparents to better understand who they were, what their life was like when they were younger – to me they are treasures that I can hold onto forever!


75 Christa the BabbyMama March 6, 2013 at 7:31 am

I love them, always have, and they’re my solution to the fact that when it comes to family, I’m usually behind the camera. I want to remember ME as I was, not just my kids. And I want to have something to show them. If other people don’t like it (and I really don’t think I go overboard) they can always unsubscribe :)


76 Kate Frishman March 6, 2013 at 7:39 am

I rarely take pictures at all – even of my kids! I just never got into the habit, I guess. I don’t really know why, I enjoy photos immensely. Most years we have a lot of pictures from something specific, like a vacation or a birthday party, but almost no pictures of everyday life. So before I start trying to be in more pictures, I’m trying to learn to just take pictures of our everyday life in the first place.


77 Stephanie Nielson March 6, 2013 at 7:55 am

I know I always get so excited when I see a photo of you on Instagram!!!
Keep them coming!


78 Design Mom March 8, 2013 at 2:03 am

You are my selfies role model, Steph! You seem to get the balance just right.


79 Tove March 6, 2013 at 8:00 am

Since having a daughter, I’ve been more deliberate about getting in front of the camera rather than staying behind it. I love looking at photos of my own mom when she was my age and especially cherish the photos of us together from my childhood. Pictures hold a special magic for me and I never tire of looking at them. I hope my daughter will see how much both her father and I love her when looking back through the story of her childhood in photos.


80 Dee March 6, 2013 at 10:27 am

I take self portraits daily but they don’t often end up online. I feel they most often reflect the person I see when I look in the mirror. Moreso than photos taken by others. I love to look back and see what I was wearing and what hair and makeup I was into at any point in the past. And I love looking at pictures of my mom by herself in days long gone. She had many photographer friends and so has some fantastic shots of her as a young woman. Like this one: I post self portraits on instagram about 2 or 3 times a month and they are usually well received, by friends who want to see me (and I want to see them too). I enjoy looking at others’ self portraits and don’t find them narcissistic at all!


81 Design Mom March 8, 2013 at 2:04 am

“I feel they most often reflect the person I see when I look in the mirror. Moreso than photos taken by others.”

I totally get that. I like how you put it into words.


82 Jessica March 6, 2013 at 12:58 pm

I want to do this better. I work to capture my kids as they are: messy and in the moment. I don’t know why it is that I insist that pictures of me be any different.


83 Design Mom March 8, 2013 at 2:02 am

I think you’ve nailed one of the things I struggle with, Jessica. I’m so hesitant to capture myself “messy and in the moment”, I think I’m afraid it won’t be beautiful. What a dumb fear! Life is beautiful!


84 Jenny March 7, 2013 at 7:28 am

I feel so uncomfortable taking photos of myself, but I’m more comfortable doing that than I am having others take photos of me. I’m REALLY uncomfortable having others take photos of me. And don’t ask me to pose! Ugh, that’s even worse! I agree with an earlier comment that you made when you wrote that you feel more connected to blogs in which the bloggers post photos of themselves. I feel like it’s an important part of connecting with your readers… and I hardly ever do it. On Instagram I’ll take plenty of photos of myself with my kids. That’s not a problem. I guess I feel less conspicuous that way. Like you, I feel comfortable in my skin, so I think I really need to get over this, but I don’t have an answer to how much is too much. :) Great discussion!


85 Alysa March 7, 2013 at 7:52 am

I have kind of noticed that there are fewer pictures of you on your blog than I would expect, Gabi. That’s fine, if that’s how you roll, but if you want to post more photos of yourself I’d say you’ve got LOTS of room before I personally hit overload.


86 Design Mom March 8, 2013 at 2:01 am

Thank you for the reassurance, Alysa!


87 Sara March 8, 2013 at 3:03 am

I am the photographer of the family and therefore I am not in a lot of photos. I have to ask my husband to snap a picture of me with our children or it doesn’t happen. Most often though the camera settings are off or the image is not very nice because he just doesn’t know how to work my fancy camera. It’s tough but I’ve vowed to try to get more shots of myself with my kids. I also think I avoid taking photos of myself because getting really close up expands my flaws and I don’t want people to think I’m overly in love with myself!


88 ats March 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm

loved this. and super honored xo I wish I would have taken more selfies in my 20s. I think we need to document our lives so if we are very lucky and get to be an old person, we can look back. Look backs are the best. xo


89 Sarah March 9, 2013 at 1:05 am

When I look through the thousands and thousands of pictures I take each year, there are not many of me, and even less than I like! So, I feel like I should hand my camera to my husband (or kids!) more, just to increase my chances…


90 Liz | somewhere north March 9, 2013 at 7:02 am

such an interesting topic! to me, Instagram is for how the user sees the world. so if people show up in photos, it’s the people the photographer sees, not the photographer. to another commenter’s point, you “show up in your own life” by allowing yourself to be photographed by others. so I often find frequent selfies to be narcissistic, mostly because they’re outside *my* definition of how Instagram should be used. which is a bit silly of me!

that’s my point of view on selfies, but reading other commenter’s thoughts about how they view them is helping to expand my views on selfies :)


91 Karyn Norris March 9, 2013 at 11:09 am

My mom passed away last summer. As we were preparing a picture slide show for her memorial, I was struck by the small amount of pictures we had of her alone. A fair amount of her with others, but hardly any selfies. I wish now we had more… To capture her isolated beauty. I think it’s a wonderful idea to ‘show up’ in the photo memories, especially for our loved ones’ sakes. So my kids know I was actually there, not just behind the camera.


92 Katie March 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm

I always love to see photos of you Gabby. It makes your blog more personal and I always admire how effortless and chic you look. And I love your Alt Summit outfit photos. Thanks for sharing. I think it takes courage to be vulnerable like that but the reward is huge – you have an enormous following of women who can identify with you because you have put yourself out there.

Now, to selfies in general (I’ve never heard the term selfie before but I’m whole hog rolling with it like I’m so in the know): I agree, we need to take pictures of ourselves. We need to be present. One thing that I am terrible at is taking photos of just me and not of me and one of my precious babes or husband together. We need to have our own identities in addition to being mothers and wives, and standing infront of the camera and saying that I am important enough to have my own photo is part of that. There, now I’ll have to go take a self portrait sometime today. :)


93 Sarah Sloboda March 18, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Love this thoughtful post. I am super into selfies, as embarrassing as that might be. I follow a lot of actors and comedians, and they seem to be taking them constantly – maybe that gives me permission to do the same? As a professional photographer, I have always thought of taking pictures as sending love letters to our future selves. As much as I might find flaws with myself now, I know that some day I will look back and think I was young and beautiful — I want to have a record of what I might think that of.

Your thinking, of what you should be recording now, in order to have a memory of it later, is exactly what compels me in all of my work. You are gorgeous and photogenic! Take as many selfies as you want. There’s no rule to what you should want to cherish about your life. This face, this body, you get just one trip in them, and you are welcome to enjoy and celebrate them in whatever way you like! It’s a wonderful example to the rest of the world when someone appreciates themselves, in my opinion.


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