Ok, so in my last post I said tell your story after suggesting a couple of different scenarios (mom at the sink, dad with the car). Lining the kids up against the wall doesn't count as a good picture, most of the time. Especially if little Cindy is wearing a black dress. Why make things harder than they have to be for yourself and your camera? When you do take that picture-against-the-wall you have a record of what your friends or family were wearing at about what size, but you don't know when and you don't know where, and you either get the 'say cheese' smile, or the 'can I break the camera now' look. It may surprise you, but there are lots of white walls out there, so you probably won't be able to identify yours. Granted, there are times that the only way you're going to get a picture of the kids is by doing that, but usually there is some sort of background or way to take the picture that's a little less painful for all involved. 😉 Worse yet are the pictures where we back away and take a group picture of everyone right in the middle of the frame like a target in a huge expanse of green lawn. Years later we're getting out the magnifying glasses and saying 'I think it's Aunt Tilly. She did have a pair of those purple polyester pants...' Granted, in this scenario you at least didn't cut off their feet, but you're probably going to show Aunt Tilly at her worst face-forward angle. With those polyester pants. Woof... She's going to cut you out of her will! We've all had to be satisfied with that more than once, but if you have a choice, try to get a picture of your loved ones doing something they enjoy, at a place they like, something that shows where you were and what you were doing. Don't worry about perfect, although it's always good to look for the best angle. Actually, some of my favorite family pictures are flawed in focus or lighting, but they show what was happening at the moment in such a way that you can really feel the moment. Technically this is not a great picture. I was losing the light behind the mountain, you can't see Dad's face under the hat and he's a little out of focus, but it's one of those great memory shots. Our down time is to go walk along the river bank and talk. No, we don't usually go walking in full motorcycle gear, BTW) The things that are right about this picture was that I didn't sit my subjects on a log facing me looking like they're sitting on the toilet and waiting for the click so they can get on with their lives. They are also not right in the middle like a target. Instead, it's a picture of what we really do, and the subjects are off-center so that you can see what they're looking at, the mountain and river. Now, if this was the only picture I was ever going to get, yes, the subjects would be facing me somehow, but even with all it's fault, this picture tells a story to me, and in years to come will bring back memories. And that's what most of our photographs are for. Us. Not for impressing people with awe-inspiring technique, but to make us happy and bring back memories. 🙂
Photographers have a saying: The most important part of a camera is the 12 inches behind it. That's right. The most important part of your camera is you. This does not mean that everything that goes wrong is your fault. Cameras are machines and have limitations. They can't capture the things that the human eye can. The point of the quote, however, is to remind you that you don't have to have the best and brightest equipment to make truly good photographs of your family, friends, and surroundings. If you fall in love with photography the way I have you may eventually invest in a dSLR, but until you do so there is no reason you can't capture many of your family's important moments. That's what this blog is about. I've been taking pictures of any willing victim (and some unwilling) for many years, and I'd like to share a little of what I've learned with you to help you take the best picture possible to capture your memories. My intent is to keep this simple and understandable, as well as eminently 'doable' so that you're not overwhelmed with technical jargon, but do come away with a better understanding of what you can do and why. I will suggest ways to improve your photography by helping you to learn to pay attention to the way the light falls on your subject, the angle you take your picture at, and share what I can about how to fix the photos that weren't as good as they could be. I'll also share some tips about various types of software out there, some of which are free! I welcome your questions, comments, and feedback. My intent is to help, to teach, and to have a little fun doing it. Welcome to The Camera Mom... even if you're a Dad!