3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty for Not Taking Photos of Your Kids

Do you feel bad for not capturing milestones or family pictures? Here’s why you shouldn’t feel guilty for not taking photos of your kids.

Feel Guilty for Not Taking Photos of Your KidsI don’t post pictures of my kids on this blog. But how’s this for a (not-so) surprise: You won’t find me taking many photos of them in general.

Of course, in these modern times, this is all relative. My computer houses thousands of pictures, from the everyday to special outings. You’ll see me whip out my phone and snap a picture during our outings. And compared to the handful of my own baby photos, any number of photos I take these days is plenty enough.

Still, I realize I miss out on many photo opportunities, especially compared to other parents.

I never started those cute “first day of school” photo traditions (just a regular one taken on a phone with pretty bad lighting). We haven’t taken professional photos of any of the kids other than for school pictures. And we hardly have any photos of the five of us together.

Why you shouldn’t feel guilty for not taking photos of the kids

With enough of this thinking, the guilt starts creeping in. Am I missing out on memories? Should I be taking more photos of special milestones? Do I need to schedule a family photo before the kids grow up too fast?

It doesn’t help when you scroll through social media and see the opposite. The monthly snapshots of the baby’s birthday or the endless vacation photos.

Personally, this guilt is fleeting, because I realize why I don’t take too many photos of my kids. It’s certainly not for lack of love, that’s for sure. And if you find yourself feeling bad, these reasons can reassure you otherwise.

Take a look at why you shouldn’t feel guilty for not taking photos of your kids. As one parent said about the article:

“Thank you so much for this. I’m been completely beating myself up for two whole days because I only have a handful of pictures from my daughters 4th birthday. I didn’t get any pictures of her playing with her friends and I’m just so sad I can’t have pictures to look back on. This is so helpful to know that the memories don’t need to be a painful reminder that I didn’t take pictures but they can be good.” -Jessica Johnson

1. It’s hard to take photos of or with kids

“It was a horrible photo session,” a friend vented a few years ago. She had spent part of the weekend taking her family to a photo studio for portraits. “The photographer was running late, my kids were getting fussy, and I was in such a bad mood!”

Then she showed me a few of the photos. “At least it worked out in the end,” she said.

Looking at her family portraits, you would never imagine the hassles she had gone through. Instead, all you saw were four people in matching clothes, smiling like all was well.

You see, a huge reason you shouldn’t feel guilty is the practicality of taking photos in the first place. It’s hard taking photos of kids, with kids, and especially as a family. Kids squirm and protest, get tired of being told to smile and look at the camera, and would rather do other things than pose for a photo.

Of course, you’d never know any of this just by looking at a family portrait. Don’t assume that everything was “picture perfect” based on what you see.

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2. You miss out on the moment

I remember one happy moment with my family around the dining table, years ago. We weren’t doing anything grand—we weren’t even eating. My husband held one of the twins on his lap while I had the other on mine, and our eldest was sharing stories.

While there wasn’t any special occasion to justify bringing out the camera, I still could’ve pulled it out. That would’ve cemented this moment in memory. What better way to relive it than to see it “paused” as a photo?

But doing so would’ve meant getting up from my seat and rummaging through my purse to find my phone. The moment would’ve been interrupted.

So instead, I committed the memory to mind, happy to have lived it even if I couldn’t record it.

Imagine a simple outing like going to the park interrupted by a series of, “Look here!” and “Smile!” and “Say cheese for the camera!” I don’t want my kids to pause their life for so many pictures, especially when they’re having fun. Life isn’t measured in photos.

Of course, I still take photographs and videos (and enjoy looking through them with the kids). But I prize enjoying the moment above all.

Learn how to be a happy mom.

How to Be a Happy Mom

3. Some pictures aren’t worth it

Did you hear about the folks who ended up killing a shark because they wanted to take selfies with it?

Several families, including children, found a baby shark along the shores. Rather than setting it free, they continued to take selfies with it, oblivious about endangering the shark. They needed to snap that cool photo they could share with others.

That might be an extreme example, but I don’t want my kids to lose sight of what’s important, all in the name of taking a photo.

We’re so caught up with documenting our lives that we forget at what cost. In one extreme, it’s a shark’s life. And on the other end, maybe it’s simply the ability to be. To enjoy a beautiful hike or a joyful game of cards, without the visual proof of a photograph.

Read more about the dangers of raising narcissistic children.

Narcissistic Children


And so, I take my camera out when I can. That usually means when my phone is nearby, or when I actually remember to take a photo. I don’t berate myself for not having taken a photo of every milestone.

And the slight twinge of regret of not recording a special moment is swept away by the memory of it in my mind.

I’m not Super Mom. I don’t do crafts with my kids every day or decorate for every holiday. And no, I also don’t take many photos of my kids. For me, that’s okay. Yes, it’s great if I’m able to capture these moments, but no sweat if I don’t, either. Because I’ll know that at least I had lived them.

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  1. Nina, Reading your blog has lifted a ton of guilt weight off my shoulders. I can’t tell you how stressed I get about photographs. All of my friends seem to have these crystal clear beautiful pictures that they took of their kids with their expensive cameras & the few pictures that I do take with my phone are either blurry or average quality at best. But, my sister’s and I cherish all of our old blurry pictures from when we were kids because of the memories and that’s what I try and remind myself of often. I’m not on Facebook because I don’t want to feel like I have to capture every moment and share it with the world. Like you, I prefer to enjoy the moment and not make my family crazy by snapping pictures all of the time! As far as the professional photos go, I’m not a fan. Most of my wedding photos are candid shots and I adore them. they may not be as perfect as the magazine ones with the stunning backgrounds, but they perfectly captured the moment and isn’t that what it’s all about?

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Hi Lisa, I’m so glad the article resonated with you! It’s so true that there seems to be social pressure to take photos of kids or family photos. I have friends who take MONTHLY photos of their kids and family. But what I learned from their stories is that even if the photo looks perfect, the experience leading up to it isn’t. The kids were cranky, they waited 45 minutes, everyone was miserable. It just didn’t seem worth it to me.

      And yes I totally love those old blurry photos and I hope my kids treasure the ones I’ve taken of them, even if they’re not the best. Thanks so much for sharing and hope to hear from you again! ~Nina

    2. Hi. I feel the same way as you. I come back to read this article when the guilt sets in. One thing I do wish, though, is that I would have been in more photos with my babies. I’m usually the one behind the camera taking the pictures.

      1. Nina Garcia says:

        Hi Veronica! I’m glad the article is reassuring, especially when that pesky guilt creeps back in. And yes, I completely agree about having photos with the kids instead of just of them! Even if it’s not a “perfect” photo, I still like those pictures my husband would take where I was sleep deprived and a hot mess, but holding a baby 🙂

  2. Thank you for this article. I don’t know why it bothers me so much that I didn’t get cute pictures of my girls as babies. I look back at the pictures when they were about 6-8 months old and they were so adorable. I wish I would have taken them to a studio or at least dressed them up and taken a nice clear picture. I get really sad about it. It was actually always on my mind to get them done but I always put it off. It was something important to me that I had planned since I was pregnant with my first. I feel like everyone has perfect poctures of their baby girls but me. I can’t even look at their baby pictures without guilt because I have no cute pictures of them at that age to hang on the wall.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Big hugs, Elvira! Don’t be too hard on yourself. I hear stories of families trying to get professional or studio portraits and it’s definitely no easy feat, especially during that baby stage! Perhaps turn that guilt around and take photos of them now, so that you have something to hang, even if they’re not babies.

      But I know what you mean, especially about that baby stage. I don’t feel guilty for it, but one thing I did wish I had more of was videos of my eldest during the baby stage. I didn’t have an iPhone back then and only had an actual camera, but didn’t really take it with me to many places. So while I have more videos of my twins, I only have a handful of my eldest, and none when he was a super newborn. I take it as simply something that was the stage in my life (exhausted mom with no iPhone) and don’t feel too guilty about it though 🙂

  3. Finally, something that totally is encouraging! I am from the Philippines and I am on Facebook almost 24/7. Mind you, I am a Born Again Christian but it seems that I am being eaten by social media, influencing me about “perfection” and “beauty.” Haha. Facebook is always talking to me, those baby photos, monthly milestones that are totally mindblowing, stunning, I always feel sad and guilty not doing them with my son. He is my first born, I gave birth last May of 2020, which all of you know was the start of the pandemic and lockdown. I was discouraged because even if I wanted to get those milestone blankets or print out milestone cards monthly, I was not able to, first off because I was still recovering, and out of budget. I may have been able to if only I was creative doing a newborn photoshoot at home. But how? We have 5 dogs at my in-laws house, my baby is still a baby, furs are uncontrollable, they’re everywhere. We could not go to our house coz that time, neighbors were getting covid so we had to stay at my in-laws house infront of ours so we can be safe. To be honest, going back, I wish I had bought those onesies with milestones, or even was not busy enough so I could have more photos of him. I did take videos of some of his milestones, and I just laugh and cry whenever I watch them. Time flies so fast! He is now 8 months old. I feel like I have been overcome by the world. I should be focusing on my Christian journey and my parenthood and not overthinking about photos but I could not help but get sad and depressed whenever I see those cute baby photos from studio pages. or posted by my friends and relatives. I am also wondering how on earth they can take stunning photos on phone while I cannot? I really feel like I’ve been a bad mom because I was not able to get those magazine style newborn or monthly milestone photos and even our wedding photos. But thanks to you, I realized that I am not the only one who’s going through this and what’s good is that you’ve encouraged me a lot not to think too much about photos. And I like what you said. “Life isn’t measured in photos.”

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I’m glad the article resonated with you, Rena! <3

  4. jessica johnson says:

    Thank you so much for this. I’m been completely beating myself up for two whole days because I only have a handful of pictures from my daughters 4th birthday. I didn’t get any pictures of her playing with her friends and I’m just so sad I can’t have pictures to look back on. This is so helpful to know that the memories don’t need to be a painful reminder that I didn’t take pictures but they can be good.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      Absolutely, Jessica! I felt a hint of that this past Christmas when I hardly took pictures of the kids opening their gifts, but that’s because I wanted to focus more on enjoying the moment with them. <3

  5. Thanks for this. I always feel guilty for not taking enough photos..one or two at birthdays and never really great ones. I also feel bad at family events..weddings, christenings, sowers..that I rarely get a picture of myself with the person of honor; when I see other post their pictures I get a sinking feeling that I missed an opportunity. I often think of taking the photo, grabbing the bride or the groom..but then it passes because I don’t want to disturb them while they are celebrating..obviously many others don’t seem to mind because the pictures are plastered all over social media lol. Reading this made me feel better about it all..thank you!!

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I’m glad that the article resonated with you, Fran! You’re definitely not alone, and I’m the same—I hardly take photos at events, either. I figure someone will and I’ll get to see them later down the line lol.

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