Hey there Friend!
It's so great to be able to celebrate love on Valentine's Day! We sure hope you enjoyed your loved ones. We really did, from the handmade cards to the chocolate covered strawberries to balloons!
If you've been following our blog, you'll recall that last week we gave several reasons for investing in professional photography services. You might have said to yourself, "That's all good, but sometimes I need to capture a special moment for myself."
We hear you! We feel you! With children of our own, we understand how important it is to take pictures on a cell phone when you don't have time to whip out (or maybe you don't even own) a DSLR camera. (If you have a DSLR, you may not have it with you at all times either!) We also understand that the nitty gritty of your day in and day out memories are moments you want to have and cherish, not just "posed" pictures. (The word "posed" is in parentheses because we prefer to allow our families to interact with a little guidance, and take pictures of action!)
So, with that being said, here are 5 ways to photograph your family as it is now (AND get great pictures!):
- Look for the quiet moments - for example, one of our favorite things to do is take pictures of bedtime routines, or our children sleeping or riding in the car. These moments are worth remembering, putting in a family photo book for Father's Day, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas, just as much - if not more - than the ones you pay a professional to do for you. Don't be afraid to get up close with your camera (sometimes zooming in makes the picture grainy or blurry), or take a few pictures from different angles then make a collage to tell the story. If you have an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, there's a Portrait feature that is really nice to capture the main subject while blurring the background.
- Find moments where your family is interacting or there's action you want to remember. Birthdays aren't the only time to bring out the camera. Don't wait until you feel your house is all tidy or everybody's dressed up. Take snapshots of dinner time, the kids at the park, your spouse kissing one of the kids, your parents or in-laws interacting with the kids, school functions likes games or choir concerts, and the list goes on. When our kids do activities we always want to remember, we try to capture that moment because someone once quoted, "Collect moments, not things." Look for opportunities to document your family history through your eyes. Think about what's important to you and your family, then it will be easier to know what you want to photograph.
- Don't forget to see the moments through your children's eyes. Our little 4 year old loves her doll babies and stuffed animals. Sometimes, she'll ask us to take a picture of her with her toys. It might seem silly, but when we interact with our children and listen to their requests, we can learn what makes them tick. That makes it easier to relate to them on their level when a lesson has to be taught or you need them to cooperate. So, one day, we encouraged our little princess to bring her toys down and we had a tea party. We video recorded it and every time we watch it, our faces light up with smiles. She'll probably look at that video 10 years from now and laugh, but one thing's for sure, if anything ever happens to us, she'll have tangible proof that she was loved. Smilebox is a neat place to upload videos and photos to make all sorts of a variety of treasured keepsakes.
- Plan to do a day in the life project once a month or every six months, whatever works for you. For example, on the first day of snow for 2017, my wife photographed snow scenes around the neighborhood, the kids at the doctor's office for their checkup, took a screenshot of the weather for that day and made a photo collage. She'll no doubt make a Father's Day photo book too, as she likes to do to surprise me with pictures she's taken throughout the year. A day in the life can include the kids brushing their teeth, eating (or picking over) dinner, getting dressed, your cup of coffee, you holding hands with your child on the way in to school, and more! When your kids look back on these photos, they'll laugh and tell you stories of what they remember, or ask questions about stuff you thought you'd never forget! Either way, these moments are a great way to connect with your family, see your life as important and document the love and bond between those you love. Don't forget to include selfies of you with your children, because they need to see you in the picture too! My wife complains about all the weight she's gained since having children, but you know what? Our kids don't see her the way she sees herself. They see mommy. They see the loving moments of butterfly kisses and Eskimo kisses! They in turn remember the love shared when they experienced that moment.
- Document big moments and milestones - such as graduation, a new baby being born, a child going off to college...These are the times in your life you want to remember. Two of the greatest moments that we are proud to have been able to document are when our twins were sworn in as United States Marines and when they graduated from bootcamp. Besides all the new birth photos, reminiscing on these moments make us especially proud as parents. Guess what we learned? If the photo doesn't look so great, give it a journalistic feel by cropping out the distracting stuff and make it a classic black and white. One thing we've learned is that sometimes the not so good photos have a wonderful story - so don't delete it. Use an easy photo editing app like Snapseed or VSCO to bring out the best in your photos.
You want and need to have significant moments captured of your life, love and legacy. Doing so doesn't always require a professional photographer or an expensive camera. This is your season. King Solomon penned the words, "To everything there is a season." The beautiful thing about seasons is that they change. Find and admire the beauty of your life as it is now, even if it seems like a struggle. Document that one skillet casserole dinner like you're submitting your photo to a magazine. You'll look back and rejoice on how you overcame that trial! See the importance of taking a selfie in the emergency room, because that's your life - right now.
We sure hope this has been helpful and an eye-opener to see the beauty already around you (if you needed help in that area) and to be equipped to document your story, your way, through your eyes.
Until next time, be blessed my Friend.
From our hearts to yours,
Gary and Angenise