"" Writer's Wanderings: Say Cheese!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Say Cheese!

[This was originally written in 2007. My how technology flies! Today my camera still fits in my pocket but it's because it's in my phone. A lot of the tips still apply though. So read--and smile at the memories of old technology.]

A few weeks ago we were with four of our grandkids to celebrate a birthday. For once I remembered my camera. It’s a little easier to do that now that my husband gave me one that is small enough to slip in my pocket. He tells everyone he bought a “camera that doesn’t make her look fat when she wears it.”

            I snapped away as usual and about a third of my pictures were keepers. It’s tough getting great shots with excited moving subjects. With Thanksgiving here and Christmas around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to look at a few photo tips.

·       Get down on their level. This is hard for some of us—especially the getting back up part, but faces look better than the tops of heads. What I love about a digital camera is that you can hold it away from you and still frame your picture on the display. That gives you a little more wiggle room for those shots closer to the ground.

·       Use a flash outside. It’s just a good practice. Last year as we were playing in the snow, the best shots of my grandkids were those that I took with the flash. The bright sun reflecting on the snow created shadows on their faces that the flash erased.

·       Get close at times. Fill the picture with your subject. One of the best shots I took at the birthday party was an accident. My granddaughter moved right up to the camera and her face filled the picture I took. But I have the greatest shot of beautiful brown eyes and a grin from one corner to the other.
·       Don’t always center everything. Just remember to lock focus first before you move the subject off center. It makes for a much more interesting shot provided they give you enough time to aim and click.

·       Kids love to pose. Let them come up with some ideas for organizing the picture. They’ll be more cooperative. When you are posing a group, don’t just line them up like a firing squad. Use different levels—steps, kneeling, some sitting.

·       Give them the camera for a few shots. If it’s digital, what’s the harm as long as they are respectful of holding it properly? Both of my four-year-old granddaughters got some unusual angles from their perspective as they snapped pictures of their parents.

·       Begin a photo tradition. Perhaps there is one place you can pose your grandchild each year that will show his growth. I have a precious picture of four of my grandkids (age 7 months to four years old) sitting together on a sofa all dressed in Ohio State Buckeye gear. This year we have a similar picture and they are a little bigger. Next year there will be more grandkids to add to the picture and eventually we will see those little feet touch the floor.

·       If it’s worth one shot it’s worth six. That’s a statement my photography professor made at the beginning of the course I took. And that was when we were still developing pictures the old fashioned way! Now with digital images, what doesn’t work can be erased in a moment. So snap away! You’ll have more shots to choose from.

Taking my own advice, at the birthday party I got carried away snapping and snapping picture after picture. Finally, my granddaughter stood up and put her hands on her hips looked me in the eye and said, “Grandma, you didn’t let me say ‘cheese’!”

Finally, find a great way to store and display your digital pictures. There are lots of online scrapbooks where you can store pictures for family and friends to see. Or put one of those digital picture frames on your Christmas wish list. We have one that allows our kids to send us pictures via e-mail to store. There’s always the old fashioned way: printing them out and putting them in a picture album. Whatever you choose, don’t just put them away. A picture is worth a thousand memories.

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