Your kids: Cropped, chopped and filtered
I'll be the first to confess that I'm an Instagram addict. Just like most moms out there, it's hard to resist this quick, fun way to document my children's lives.
But, I can't help but wonder... what are my kids going to think when they look back on all of their childhood pictures that are perfectly cropped, filtered and doctored? Am I creating a distorted reality by making every moment an Instagrammed moment?
Don't get me wrong...
I have a major love affair with Instagram and similar photo editing apps on my smartphone and tablets. After all, the last thing that I have room for is a camera, so being able to snap some quick pictures of my kids doing the day-to-day stuff with the phone that I already have attached to my hip (not literally, of course!) makes me far more likely to take pictures in the first place.
On top of the on-the-go popularity of Instagram, the ability to share the pictures with family and friends with the click of a button is a bonus (no more emailing huge files of pictures to grandparents!) and we all can admit that we don't mind the way some of those filters seem to erase the bags under our tired mama eyes and add a little rosiness to our cheeks! Guilty as charged!
Feel like you're using your camera too much? Moms: Put down the camera and get in the moment >>
Looking back and looking ahead
Before the huge shift to taking photographs with our phones, the camera technology that was available to the average mom (versus moms who rocked professional quality photographer cameras!) had come a long way! If you grew up before the millennia, which l did, the pictures that fill our childhood picture albums leave a lot to be desired, as far as quality goes.
But, what they lack in quality, they make up for in memories — before you could preview every single picture you took because all of your photographs were on film, there wasn't the opportunity to crop, enlarge or simply delete the pictures that weren't perfect. The photos you took, or your parents took, were the ones that went in the albums and that was that, regardless of how your hair looked, if your eyes were closed or you were caught in a bad angle.
Compare your childhood photo albums with those that you've created for your children. There's no doubt that both were made with love — that's a given — but I'd venture to guess that there is a certain element of perfection in their albums, compared to yours.
I can't help but wonder, are we selling our kids out by creating a distorted memory of their childhood via the photographs that we alter to a point of a loss of reality? What are they going to think when they look back at the photos that we have taken of their lives and only see the moments that we've essentially, doctored? Do we need to put a disclaimer on our photo albums that read, "These memories sponsored by Instagram?"
What moms who Instagram say
Curious to see what moms who are addicted to Instagram have to say?
Mom to three, Erin, who admits that she uses a program similar to Instagram to take all of the pictures of her kids, shares, "Sometimes I think that I'm doing my kids a disservice by boosting all of their childhood photographs, but now, 'regular' pictures seem so boring to me." Erin continues, saying, "I love that my little girls' blue eyes pop out of the pictures when I add the right effects, because that's what I see when I look at her in real life."
On the other side of the filter, mom to one, Reece, tells us that she uses Instagram, but leaves the filters off. "All of the pictures of my own childhood have rounded corners and that tinted look — I hate it and don't understand why everyone is so into going 'retro' with their pictures!" However, Reece does find a use for Instagram, despite being a filter-less user, "I'm addicted to Instagram because it makes sharing pictures so easy — just by uploading, I can share with my friends and husband on Facebook and my parents and in-laws on email. The all-in-one makes me love it."
The (unfiltered) bottom line
When it comes down to it, for me, the point is that I'm taking photos of my kids and even the ones that are filtered to hide my toddlers' tears and cropped to disguise the fact that he's not wearing pants still beats no pictures at all.
If you're a mom who exclusively uses apps, such as Instagram, to take pictures of her kids, make the conscious effort to also have professional photographs taken on occasion and to even throw that old-school, point-and-shoot camera in your purse to capture those can't be missed moments, like his first homerun at T-ball or her ballet recital.