Video by Darcie Sanders, Ivory Dog Films
The birth of Camera Mama was in May of 2015 when founder Rebecca Malouf Franson started an Instagram page that featured photos from parents capturing their children along with tips on how the photo was achieved.
“Seeing the photos on Instagram that other moms were capturing of their children going about their daily lives gave me renewed motivation to photograph my own children. As I became busier with my photography business I realized I was taking fewer photos of my own family. I was going through a time in my life as a mother and a new step mom where I felt like the joy had been sucked out of family life. Blending a family was hard work and I desperately needed something that helped me see the positive side of parenting. Picking up my camera to photograph my family helped bring joy back into being a mother for me.”
Franson continues, “I am naturally a curious person and when I saw all these beautiful photos of home life that other moms were posting I always had a bunch of questions in my head abut how they took and processed their photos. The Camera Mama community is an uplifting place to learn and share. There are so many amazing and kind and generous people on this planet who are willing to share what they know about photographing family life. I find the process of photographing clients versus photographing my own family life to be quite a different process and learning from other moms, whether they were taking photos on their phones or on DSLRs was really helpful and inspiring to me.”
The Camera Mama page now has more than 10 moderators/contributors. With moderators who span the globe, from the United States, to England, to Ireland, to Australia, there are always beautiful photos and helpful tips to look at on the Camera Mama feed, along with lots of genuine encouragement. “I am so grateful for the mentoring I received from Hayley, founder of @candidchildhood. In the beginning I was doing everything myself, I had no idea about how to build a team around the Camera Mama hub and Hayley reached out and helped me figure out how to create a sustainable community,” Franson added.
“I love having “bite-sized” tips on the Camera Mama page. As a busy mom of 6 and a business owner I feel like sometimes I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to learning new photography methods, but with the tips shared in the Camera Mama community there are lots of quick ideas to try to keep things interesting. I learn new things all the time.”
Besides the main tag of “#cameramama” the Camera Mama has an ongoing tag “#getin52” that is a challenge for parents to get in front of the lens at least once a week. “One of the things I have learned from the Camera Mama community that has had the biggest impact for me personally are the tips from other parents about how to get in the frame. I love using the remote shutter release that I learned about from one of our community members, Laura Penley @lauraslensonlife,” Franson said. “I especially love her portraits of she and her husband and boys that she takes on their bed. They have the look and feel of a professional lifestyle shoot.”
The Camera Mama Instagram page also has weekly theme tags.