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Monday mom challenge: Take a self-portrait

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Who are you anyway?

The last time you put photos in an album, or even looked at them online, how many included you? My guess is not too many. In a very unscientific poll of my mom friends, we appear in approximately three photos per year. In my own family, there's a running joke in our vacation photo albums: somewhere, toward the back of the album, there finally is a picture of me with the caption, "Oh, look! Mom really was on the trip!"

Woman Taking Self PortraitIt's not really intentional. Moms often end up being the family photographer, the ones recording for posterity, rather than being recorded. We will claim it is because we don't like our picture taken, or think we don't look good in pictures, but those are things we need to just get over already. Decades from now, grandchildren will wonder what we looked like, if they even know we existed at all. Not to mention how much effort it takes to find a photo we're willing to put on our Facebook profiles.

A camera, maybe a mirror

The advent of digital photography is wonderful for self-portraits. You can experiment without being committed to a printed picture - you can just delete the ones you don't like. Believe me, with my tendency to photograph with a double and sometimes triple chin, this is a blessing for more than just me.

So here's what you do: you stand in front of a mirror and take a picture of yourself in the mirror. Try different angles. Take several picture until you are smiling or at least exhibit an appropriately mischievous grin. The picture should be you, all you.

After that first attempt, you can get more creative with self-timers and what not. Or not. The point is to take a self-portrait - and to feel more comfortable with your image.

Just as you are

You don't need to dress up for a self-portrait, or even put on make-up. You can if you like, of course, but you don't need to. Making too much of a production over it can just add more stress, and this is supposed to be fun.

What are you going to do with your self-portrait? You don't have to do anything, really, except keep it. Perhaps, though, your sweetie would love a new image of you at the office. If the kids need a photo for a school project, you've got one. Neighborhood association newsletter? Ditto.

A lovely side effect of taking a self-portrait is learning how to have your picture taken. You can learn a little about what you can do with angles and turns of the head that make a photo acceptable to you so the next time you are on vacation, you can hand the photo to someone else and jump in to the frame with far less anxiety.

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