TWiP Family 004: Framing Your Story with Me Ra Koh

In this episode of TWiP Family, I talk about framing your story with Me Ra Koh.

0001-MeRaKoh_HeadshotMe Ra Koh is a mother, photographer, author and speaker. I have loved her work for years and am very happy to share our interview with you.

Me Ra Koh never imagined being a photographer. In our interview she shares, “I never thought I was smart enough to take photos.”

After the loss of her unborn son, Aidan, all Me Ra felt like doing was sitting on the couch. One day during this difficult time, she looked at her daughter sitting in the afternoon light. She thought, “I can’t hold on to Aidan’s life but I can capture what is in front of me.” She went to Costco, bought a camera and began teaching herself photography. She wanted to become a voice for her daughter’s story and in doing so began to heal behind the camera.

To teach herself how to frame photos, she carried around a small wooden frame. Me Ra would adjust what was in the frame to make the image one that a viewer would lean in to. Already a writer, Me Ra used principles of storytelling to make compelling photographs.

In her book, Your Family in Pictures, Me Ra writes, “I see a dynamic happening among parents with their picture taking. We initially set out to chronicle our child’s life yet somehow things tend to shift. Equipped with faster cameras and bigger cards, we start taking thousands of photos. We unknowingly burn out our kids and they start of feel invisible.”

How do we avoid this? Me Ra suggests limiting the number of photos you take. Imagine you only have thirty-six frames to tell your story. Also, try using a kitchen timer. Tell your child how long you will be photographing and then put the camera down. As your children get older, make picture taking a collaboration. Get your kids engaged with the creative process.

Me Ra Koh shares the idea creating photos of your child’s ten favorite things. What do they choose? How does this change over time?

Me Ra’s Top Tip:

Take one thing and work on it. She started with getting the buttery, blurry background she was drawn to. She says, “Once you figure out one thing, you will have an idea of the next thing to work on.”

Instead of aiming for perfection, aim for progress.

Me Ra’s Camera:

Me Ra loves her Sony a7R and a7 mirrorless cameras. She doesn’t have to lose eye contact with the kids she is photographing. This is especially important when she is photographing children with special needs.

Photographing Family

“It’s so much bigger than learning how to take photos of your kids… If a mom finds a new sense of confidence in her creativity, it will seep through the whole home. Everything will never be the same again. This is so much more than taking photos of your kids. Expect it to be difficult. Don’t expect it to come overnight.”

I hope you enjoy this interview with Me Ra Koh. She has helped so many mothers dig deeper into their creativity through photographing their family. I knew this family photography podcast was a great place for her to share her encouragement and enthusiasm.

Connect with Me Ra Koh – website, facebook, twitter, instagram


  1. I’ve listened to all of your episodes, and you’re now my favorite show on twip. I discovered your show when it was launched a couple of weeks ago and it was just three days after my father passed away. As I’m planning a slide show for his memorial and going through countless old boxes of slides/negatives/prints I’m reminded more and more that while I may take thousands of photos at a wedding or for a client, it’s just as important to remember to capture the moments in my life, and to include myself in the photos.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Jeremy. I am sorry you lost your father recently. What you say about making sure you are in the photos is so true. I have recently scanned some old slides from when I was about two years old. I love seeing my mom and her parents when they were so young. Seeing myself as a toddler is much less important to me in those photos.

  3. I’ve been meaning to mention this for a few days now…but only had a moment to slow down. I was shooting my daughter playing with my rabbit and I was angling for the right shot when I realized I should put the camera down and just enjoy the moment as my daughter chased the poor bunny around trying to feed her some fruit. As you and Me Ra discussed on the podcast, sometimes its better to let life happen. Cheers!

  4. Hi Justus, Thanks for sharing this story. It is important to document and it’s also very important to just be. ~ Jenny