This file includes Photo Tips, Humor, Using Leftover Photos, and Using Up a Roll of Film. Also see Wedding Photo Ideas and Portrait Albums.
Few objects possess the ability to transcend time as old photographs do. They are our single, most immediate link to the past, outliving memory and closing the distance of years as if no time had elapsed at all. In the split-second wink of a camera's eye a photo refuses to let its subject pass into memory but instead keeps them fresh and vibrant long after death.
Remember, each photo you take documents 1/100th of a second of your life. So if you have 3,000 photos, only thirty seconds have been documented. When you look at this fact, you understand the need to embellish your family album with careful labeling and photojournalism. Without this, you have thirty seconds of memories . . . valuable only to those who can remember them. With the added details, you have a lifetime of memories valuable to you, your family, friends and future generations!
If, despite your best efforts, photos of an event don't turn out--or you forget to take any--all is not lost. You can journal the event and use this poem on the page:
Where was the camera?
Was it far away?
'Cause I have no pictures
for this special day.
What a crazy thing that I have done.
I can't believe there are really none!
So read the stories that I've written here
that tell about our memories, so dear.
VARIATIONS: You can substitute the words "Christmas day", "special birthday", etc. for "special day" and use the word "we" in place of "I".
For the sixth line you could substitute " there is really not a single one!
Farmers reap wheat,
barley, oats and corn--
food to fill and keep us when the
nights are long and cold,
and little grows.
We keepers of the memories
gather in a season of time:
a child's first glimpse of a frog's antics,
a breathtaking view of Yosemite at sunset,
beach firelight on the faces of friends,
a dog walking his boy up a crookedy
the summer of '92.
Moments captured through a lens;
saved and recorded on a
food to fill and keep our hearts when
the loneliness of winter descends,
and emptiness threatens.
The kingfisher will sit still
I have my camera focused
The picture composed
The light ready
To push the button . . .
He dashes away again.
Which is why
I will be very happy to let you see
My picture of where a
kingfisher used to be.
(by: The Sherman Brothers)
Long before the old Model T
Smile, hug, look at the camera
Birthday faces and happy places
Then the flappers appeared on the scene
Snap shots, hug the whole family
Now we shoot whatever we see
Hey don't look into the camera
Take photos of your child in the same place or pose as photos of you as a child--vacation, sports, Christmas, etc.
Don't be afraid to get up close when taking a photo. I needed photos for the "E" page of an ABC book so I took closeups of my granddaughters eyes and ears. The photos turned out so cute that I also did noses and toes.
Do this with objects as well as people. Here is an example of a layout of an old tractor.
(A summary of information presented at convention by Janell D.)
When we take photos we usually get the 'Big Picture' but do we tell the whole story? Did you get pictures of everyone? Have you captured the mood? Ideas for setting the mood include current headlines or weather. Would a picture of a thermometer give you an idea of what the weather was like or do you have pictures of snowdrifts or everyone bundled up? Did you get the cook in the kitchen preparing for the celebration? Take photos of the preparations or the house ready for company. Take photos of the table laden with food before everyone starts eating. Remember--each photo only tells part of the story.
We all have photos of everyone dressed up or lined up in a perfect row but in real life we aren't always ready for Church. Your photos will tell as much about the people or events as you will let them.
Here are some tips:
Have disposable cameras all around the house. Your camera may not always be there when the perfect photo opportunity arrives. Don't lose a picture or mood while you run to get a camera. A picture taken with an inexpensive camera is much better than a missed picture that would have been taken with your best camera.
Take close-ups. If you are taking close-ups already--TAKE MORE. A group photo is great but take pictures of individuals so you can really see them.
Make sure to plan a follow-up, say in ten years. In an early 1990's Life Magazine article a photographer went back to where he had previously taken photos. He got the same groups together, posed them in the same way in the same place. The photos tell a story by themselves. Children are grown, a few wrinkles have appeared and the most poignant photo of a four-generation shot taken ten years later is punctuated with two empty chairs.
(A summary of information presented at convention by Janell D.)
Determine which photos are a must and write them down. Then check your list to make sure that you have taken them all. Did you get a picture of the Grandpa holding the new baby?
Have a "picture phrase" to let your subjects know to get ready for a picture, look at the camera and lean together. Whether you say "Smile," or whatever, it gets everyone ready. Don't use this for most candid shots, just ones where you want eye contact. The more your family is used to your phrase the more natural they will respond and give you the casual shot you are looking for.
Analyze where you take photos. Are they almost always in the living room--or outside? Work to vary the location.
Make a "picture wish list" of photos that were never taken that you wish had been. I wish I had a picture of the view from the bedroom window in my childhood home because I spent so much time looking out that window. Is there a favorite place you liked, such as Grandpa's barn? What were your favorite events that you wish had been captured on film? If Grandma was famous for her delicious pies, did anyone ever take a picture of her making them? While discovering the photos that were missed in your lives, you will also discover pictures you need to capture before the chance is gone.
Capture Everyday Events. Pictures of your children doing homework, your teenager on the phone, the new car or bike, your home, moving day, where you work, your child's school and classroom, your child with the teacher, new neighbors, friends, Grandma's house, the park, the kids at the pool, the golf course and of course don't forget the adults in your life. What is mealtime at your home like? Are you always taking the pictures but never in a picture? Occasionally give the camera to someone else.
(A summary of information presented at convention by Janell D.)
The first day and last day of school are a yardstick where you can compare changes. Take the photo in the same pose and spot.
What other photos can tell us about your life? How about street signs or city population signs? Take pictures of places such as church. Take photos of your child with their doctor and dentist. Include larger pictures to capture the modern equipment. Take photos showing what your family likes to do on special days.
Take pictures of your teens. While they may often discourage you, work with them. When you go to their events bring your camera. When taking photos of a sports team take action shots instead of just team poses. Make extra prints for them to share with friends. You will develop a reputation as the "picture lady" and when they see you they will feel free to say "Take our picture."
Last summer I arranged for my grandchildren to stay at my house for two weeks. We spent our time making memories. We also worked on scrapbooks. I included a cut out of their hand, vital statistics and signatures. Every year we will add to these albums and watch the changes. I captured as many moments on film as I could.
I thought their albums were complete until we got together at Christmas. I was full of stories about the things we had done but they were more interested in telling stories about me. Their favorite story was a trip to McDonald's. They told about my giving them instructions about crossing the street, staying together and that we had to place the orders at the same counter. We had an good time but when it was time to leave, I couldn't find my car keys. We looked all around. Finally one of my granddaughters suggested that maybe I had left my keys in the car. She went to check and came back with a grin on her face and said, "Grandma, the car is still running." While I thought I had captured all their memories on film for them, I discovered that I had overlooked something. I returned to McDonald's and took a picture of my car in the parking lot to add to their scrapbooks.
Don't miss a better picture by concentrating on the "Big Picture."
(Nancy D - these are good photos to take even with digital camera)
A great use for left over photos are in ABC books but here are other ideas.
Either cut off the first 5 or 6 feet of a metal tape measure or buy a sewing tape measure (most of them are only 5'). Attach the tape vertically to a wall in an out of the way place or to the back of a door. Use photos to indicate the child's height. You can use it for multiple children and change photos each year and move them up. Or use it for one child adding a new photo each year above the previous ones.
You can put the photos in little frames and make an arrow out of paper to point to the correct height mark. Or you can crop the photos so that the child is on one edge and taper the other edge to a point. Another way would be to cut a strip of paper about 2" x 4". Cut one end so that it tapers to a point. On the other end put a wallet size school photo of the child.
You could also have photos of adult family members where they measure.
You need portrait-oriented full-body photos where the people fill the frame. It is best to have more than one of each person and some where people are wearing unusual shoes or hats, etc.
Bind them into a booklet and cut them so that the heads are in the top section and from about the knees down are in the bottom section. You can also cut them again at the waist but that would only work if the people are proportioned similarly.
(Susan Campbell in The Wichita Eagle-Beacon, May 1985)
About a year ago, when I was great with child, I granted my mother her lifelong wish and promised to listen to one piece of parenting advice.
She raised her eyes heavenward and answered, "Take pictures."
We took her at her word. Only in the delivery room was my son allowed peace from the popping flashbulbs. Since then, we've shot him asleep; we've shot him awake. He got a new high chair, we shot him. The last roll we took, he threw his hands over his face and cried, in a tender 11-month-old voice that would melt your heart, "No paparazzi, no paparazzi."
I wonder where he gets this stuff.
We take pictures of him because we would feel guilty if we didn't.
To practice for his pictures, we shoot everything else in our spare time. We have eight slides of three ducks my husband found minding their own business in the Chesapeake Bay one vacation. My husband is a sucker for wildlife. Every time we have a slide show, he drags out the duck shots.
My pictures tend to be more surrealistic, like the corner of a building with a hand reaching up. Because no one was around to take my picture once, I lay on a beach by the Atlantic Ocean and took a shot of my foot over the water. It looks sort of like a long hand in a mist.
I can't help it. I had no good role models. In a sentiment that only in my family could make sense, we allow my nearly blind mother to take the family pictures every gathering. Never has she framed it so that everyone has a head, but usually she's polite enough to rotate the honor of appearing headless among those of us who don't really mind.
This is all well and good, but I'm beginning to notice that mingled in our pictures are nondescript shots of I-don't-know-whats. Actually, I know what. One is a picture of Century II's parking lot. Another is the inside of our car. Then there is a slab of Velveeta. At least I thinkit's Velveeta.
Whatever, the pictures are always in perfect focus and usually centered reasonably well.
Who takes these pictures . . . And why won't they admit it?
At first I blamed my husband for trying to be cute. He, in turn, blamed me. Because there's no wildlife involved, I have to believe he's innocent. Because the pictures are so good, I'm off the hook. I now believe the camera is being operated by a power not known to us.
About a month ago, we started a log of who shot what, just so when a really good one of our son came out, we would know I took it. The problem is that neither of us can read our handwriting.
The phantom photography galls me, but what angers me more is that I just can't bring myself to throw the pictures away. It seems almost bad luck. What if the person who took them shows up one day to collect them?
I've been keeping those pictures in a separate box because I can't see sitting down with my son when he's an adult, going through our family albums and saying, "Here's you in your crib, and here's you on your first Memorial Day, and here's a Taco Tico."
Then again, maybe he's taking them. In that case, I wish he'd teach me how to focus the camera.