Pink Reptile Designs Wanderlust. Kingthings Printing Kit font.
A few weeks ago, Steph sent me this nice email message:
“One thing I realized you are really good at after CHA is catching photos of the moments, real life. There were so many photos I didn’t even know you were taking, but I’m now so glad to have!! I’m not very good at that. I would love to read a post with tips for how to do it!”
I felt like this was a big compliment because capturing real life moments is very important to me. It’s what my memory keeping is all about and to have someone tell me I am doing a good job of that made my heart happy! After Steph’s email, I went and looked through all of my trip pictures to see what she was talking about. Since that time, as I’ve looked through my photo files, I’ve tried to think about my tips for capturing the moments and real life. I’ve come up with a few things that have really helped me over the years and some that I want to improve on as well.
Anticipate memory making moments
Think about what could happen and have your camera ready. I knew I would want to photograph some of the great people being introduced to each other at The Daily Digi hosted breakfast at CHA and I scored big when Becky Higgins met Liz Tamanaha (who has designed a new Project Life edition for Becky) for the first time in person. They were thrilled to meet each other and when Becky showered Liz with love, I quickly caught it with my camera. It isn’t a technically perfect photo, but you can’t beat the pure emotion it captured!
Take a minute to think about what might happen in an event. Will somebody be surprised? What kind of interactions will take place? Where will the action be? Point your camera in that direction!
Go behind the scenes
While we were setting up to record a live Digi Show from our hotel room in Anaheim, I knew I wouldn’t be able to take pictures during the show. It was hard enough to just talk while we were all sitting there looking at each other, so there was no way we could have handled a camera on top of that! I wanted some way to document the moment so I snapped a few pictures of Steph setting up. I love this one because it shows Steph deep in concentration and it captures the big tangle of microphones and electronic equipment needed to record a live show.
It’s easy to think of the standard photos most people take. When someone is opening a present, it’s natural to focus the camera on them, but what about the reaction of the person giving the gift? Sometimes the story is really unfolding somewhere other than the center spotlight.
I especially love taking pictures of everyone else while they are involved in the moment. On our photowalk in Disneyland, I was “supposed” to be taking pictures of items around Fantasyland. However, I was enjoying watching everyone else take pictures with their big cameras and serious expressions. I decided to take a picture of Katrina Kennedy and Steph while they were shooting. This also shows how we were in the middle of quite a crowd while we were photographing the park.
Approach the memory in several different ways
The fun thing about our trip to CHA (Craft & Hobby Association trade show) was that a bunch of us all shared our photos with each other afterward via dropbox. It was interesting to see how several people captured the same experience in the same place in many different ways. It just re-emphasized to me that everyone has a story to tell and a unique perspective. If you want to have a well rounded memory to document, hand the camera off to several people or if that isn’t possible, try to think approach it in different ways.
Here’s the same scene I photographed of the setup behind the live podcast, but this time I included Peppermint Granberg who was sitting on the couch checking her phone. We all spent a fair amount of time on our phones during the trip while we tweeted, instagrammed, checked photos, and texted each other. The phones were part of the memory as well.
I took a picture of the Storybook Canal boats whale Monstro. I seem to shoot him each time we visit Disneyland.
I also got shots of the whale “eating” Peppermint.
and then Kami Leonard jumped in for some fun as well!
Different angles, perspectives, & poses are all ways to capture the same memory in unique ways.
Tell YOUR Story through the photos you take
Even when you are at a group event where other people are taking photos, don’t discount your own individual perspective. You have a unique story to tell and you can capture it through the photos you take. When I flew to CHA, I had to overcome some big fears. I hadn’t flown alone in almost 9 years. I have some fears of flying anyway, but my son has terrible fears about it (which I’m sure have influenced me as well). I’m always his flying partner and we NEVER keep the window shade open when we fly. It’s just too hard for him. When I sat down next to the stranger I would be sharing my row with and saw the window open, I knew I would want to take a picture to help tell my story. It could be possible that nobody else on the plane that day would have any reason to take a picture of the window shade, but for me it was a meaningful part of my story that day.
But be safe!
lol! I guess you’ll have to listen to the CHA episode of The Digi Show if you want to hear about how I fell off of a couch and hurt myself in my quest for capturing a real moment! While I’m all for getting different angles for cool looking photos, I learned that getting the shot isn’t everything! Here’s the picture I was trying to take of the craft project on the bed before I faceplanted on the floor! Just a little embarrassing!
Don’t be afraid to take a lot of pictures as you work on capturing the everyday moments of life. When you practice shooting in different ways, you will find that you can tell a more complete story.