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Friday, September 12, 2014

The Family Photographer

Summarizing today's post: Reasoning for carrying your camera with you all the time, taking photos of family, happiness in photography, & a few photo tips.

62mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/60th of a sec, ambient balanced with flash
I recently read a good blog post by Joe McNally, where he elaborated on shooting some nice photos of his mother-in-law's 80th birthday party (read it if you like here). He explained what it's like to be the "resident photographer" in his family.

It's funny how we relate things that we read--or see in a movie, or while watching the evening news--to our own lives immediately. And this time it was no different for me. His blog post made me reflect on my own life a bit. 

Over the years I have often taken my "big camera" (as my wife fondly calls it) to many family functions. It can be cumbersome at times to take, and even get in the way. [To see some of the equipment I use, see here.] And then there's my poor family...the victims at the end of my camera's lens. They see that bigger-than-what-they're-used-to camera staring at them and they get nervous. 

I applaud them. They put up with me quite nicely. (At least they don't throw things at me.)

What I have realized is that I have become the "family photographer" without even realizing it. We have others in the family too (like my sweet mom) who snap photos when they can at family get-togethers, so I'm not the only one. So credit given, because they have gotten some great family snapshots...long before I could even hold a camera.

I guess I have "taken the ball (or the camera) and ran with it" without anyone asking me to however. Maybe the torch has been passed to me over the years gradually without me even realizing it. That's okay, I don't comes naturally to me.

It is so important to stop for a moment--no matter how aggravating--when you are enjoying your family time and take some photographs. You will realize that those photos help solidify precious memories. So, yes...being the family photographer can be a little work. But it pays dividends for everyone involved.

Pictured above are my sweet grandparents at Thanksgiving, 4 years ago. November 25th, 2010. My grandmother (who we all lovingly call Mubber) passed way last month. She was  one of "the best" and meant a lot to all of us. When I ran across this picture of the two of them, it made me smile so big. Memories flood back into my mind. I'm so glad I hauled in my big camera that day.

I have a handful of photos of Mubber, but it's never enough. I wish I had taken more when I had the chance. 

65mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/60th of a sec
Here's another picture of Grandaddy, taken that same day. He is still with us but is very frail now. I hope the Good Lord keeps him healthy and allows him to stay with us a long time. To say he means a lot to us as well is an understatement. 

I encourage you guys to take your camera with you almost everywhere you go...and it's for good reason. Please take all the photos you can at family get-togethers. I promise you won't go away saying..."Dang, I took too many pictures."

Here's a tip for you: Don't always feel that your loved one has to be "posing" for you to get a good photograph. Sometimes the best shots are the ones where they are in their natural state, not even paying attention to you. 

Another photo tip during family functions: Have a designated time to get a group shot when everyone is there. Do this in the beginning before folks are ready to leave. If you do this year after year at important holiday celebrations, it will eventually be expected and welcomed. Then email the photos to your family members so they can see the fruits of your efforts. I will guarantee that you will shine a little happiness into their lives the day they open that email.

I challenge you to become the "family photographer" in your house. If you already have one in your family, be tolerant of them when they whip out their "big camera". They are helping to create wonderful memories for you all.

Have you ever been looking thru photo albums of cherished family events and been glad you remembered your camera that day?

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful Friday!


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