Photo by: Paul Reynolds

A Study in Self-Portraiture

Photo by: Paul Reynolds

The other morning, our 2 1/2 year old son discovered the camera just sitting there on the table waiting, nay, begging to be picked up and used. He obliged said camera and came running to me saying, “Cheeeese Mommy, Say Cheese!” while pointing the lens portion at himself. My first reaction, of course, was “Please be careful, that is delicate, we don’t want to break it” and I reached to take it…but then stopped myself. How can he learn to be careful with something if I just take it from him, I thought?

So, we sat down on the sofa together while I tried (ever so hard) to show a 2 1/2 year old the proper ins and outs of working a camera – ‘no point it this way’, ‘oops, you can’t put your finger over the lens’ (as he looks at me quizzically – Lens Mommy?), “um right yes, uh, you can’t cover up the little window right here”, “here is the button you push”…As I started to feel slightly frustred at my 2 1/2 year old not paying attention to me teaching him the proper way to use a camera, I again had to stop and check myself – helloooo 2 1/2 years old you crazy loon. Kieran was having a great time just doing what we were doing – spending time together learning something new – together. As far as he was concerned, he was a professional photographer and this is how it is done.

Then came the actual picture taking – I call it ‘A Study In Self-Portraiture’. While there were some pretty good shots (as in no heads cut-off) of both Mommy and Daddy, alas they are not posted – it was morning and we were all still in our PJs.

When deciding that I wanted to post the pics, I knew I had to figure out a way to tie it into my blog somehow – but HOW? How do you tie a bunch of silly pics of your son taking his own picture with your camera to ‘celebrating your life’s events’. Well, for one – our kids are always a celebration of life are they not? So, there, check-mark.

But, to go one step further, I thought about those little cameras that are often placed on wedding reception tables. Wouldn’t it be cool to place those out for a kid’s birthday party? They know it’s a fun adult toy, they’ve seen you using one with glee since they day they were born.Imagine the funny shots those kids would take? And, there’s always at least one set of parents who forgets their camera…it’s usually us ;)

Shauna Henry is a full-time working Mom to Kieran and Founder & Editor of Weddings, Nesting, Coupling & Kids: is your one-stop daily destination for celebrating and navigating all of your life’s events.

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Cute idea for the cameras at the birthdays! My greatest joy is going to download photos I've taken only to discover a montage of bizarre self portraits and random toys and furniture shots taken by my 4 year old. Always including at least a few very close up self portraits of her distorted grinch grin (the close proximity stretches her mouth the same way every time)...

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I received a new camera (still & video combined) a couple of years ago & have allowed my 2 daughters to use my old digital camera. At Christmas last year, my then 4 1/2 y/o and 3 y/o took dozens & dozens of photos - I kept every single one of them! When I downloaded them onto the computer, I titled it "Christmas through the eyes of my children"...

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My 2 1/2 year old daughter loves to play with mommy's camera. I have had pictures of the floor, the ceiling fan, the cats, both my husband and I and her favorite is when she is watching a movie she has to take a picture of it LOL. This past Christmas I bought her a Fisher Price camera to call her own. When she asks for my camera I give her hers and she just clicks away...

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Learning by doing and letting go. I found that my 16 year-old with autism has an eye for picture taking. Once I relaxed and let him do his thing, it was amazing to see the results of his amateur photography. Check out some of the pictures ( in the stories about James.

Like Trese, I let my kids (5 and 2) play with my old digital camera when I upgraded. The 5-year-old is actually pretty good. She got a kids' digital camera (that was not cheap) a few years ago from my mom, but it's not as intriguing to her because she knows it's for kids. Both kids prefer REAL cameras. My daughter took some great pictures of her baby doll sitting in the bluebonnets last spring!

I LOVE my digital camera bc, like others have said, when I'm uploading photos, there will always be photos that one of the kids has taken - of their lovey, their brother or sister, me (blech, lol) or something that was important to them. I save them and we talk about them and laugh about them.

My son is 2 1/2 years old also and he loves to get my camerea and look at the pics i have taken. I also hook my camaera up to his tv and he can see them on his screen! I am planning on getting him the kids camera for Christmas. I can't wait to see what he will so with it! He knows Momma doesn't leave without my camera and now he can take his along with him! I kinda like the idea about the cameras @ bday partys...

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I got the V-Tech camera for my son for Christmas. It hooks up to the television and you can play games on it. He rarely uses it. He prefers my digital camera. He's actually very good (at 2.10 months)

The idea of a small cheaper camera for them to use is great. We let our kids use our old digital until it died for good. But when it comes to our regular camera, no way. In a similar situation as described here, my child dropped our $1400 camera and broke it. It took us a year to have the money to replace it. Needless to say, it doesn't get left sitting around.

These pic's are so darn cute! Great article, free expression....I love it ! Under water cameras are great fun too, especially at a pool party.

I was photographing my nephews wedding and was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my 4 year os daughter. Who only wanted mommy to "pick me". So I grabbed my point and shoot from my purse and had her be my assistant for the day. She was really good, which I already knew since she has been shooting since she was just under 2 years old. One of her pics is hanging in our house and will make its way into the wedding album...

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