Photographer encouraging moms and grandmas to step in front of the camera

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) Do you have a picture of yourself that you are proud of? A local photographer is encouraging women of all ages to make it a priority.

She says it's an important heirloom that a lot of women are sacrificing, because of their own insecurities.

Elena Kannenberg says she often hears from clients that it has been 20, 30 or 40 years, since they have had a professional picture taken. The last nice picture that a lot of people remember is their senior picture.

She says women are often too critical of themselves to take a picture or they say they are waiting until they lose weight, but she says people often wait too long.

Elena has been a professional photographer for almost 30 years. She says one of her greatest regrets is not getting a professional portrait of her own mother. She says her mom didn't like to be in front of the camera. Elena adds, "she was all about her grandchildren."

That fueled Elena's passion for making mature women see their own beauty and it grew into a tribute to her mother. She started the Valentina Project, which is named after her mother. Elena is dedicating 5 years of mother-daughter portraits to her mom. She says, "I try to create a memory number one and number two something that you can hand down to the generations."

She reminds women how important it is to have a picture that shows the mother, grandmother and great grandmother you are today... not just what you looked like decades earlier. Elena says having a picture of the grandmother you remember and knew them looking like is important to people.

Elena says while snapshots and cell phone pictures have their place, she warns they are often disposable. She often tells people to think about how much they loved looking through old pictures of their grandparents and asks, "can you imagine your great grandkids going to your attic and digging through old cell phones?" She says, "we don't store those pictures. We throw them away."

The Valley Today's Lisa Budeau took the opportunity to take pictures with her mom. You can see highlights from the photo shoot tonight on Valley News Live 10 at 10.