Photography tips – a philosophy

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Looking back at my childhood pictures, my parents occasionally took us to get the professional cookie-cutter shots at the local department store studio.  They were against a trendy (at the time) backdrop with cheesy smiles.  Are those pictures of my sister and I indicative of our personalities at the time?  No, they were not.  The snapshots that my mother, my grandmothers, and my aunts took were the truths of our characters.  They showed our joy, our goofiness, and occasionally, our tantrums.  They showed our childhood.

Children and family photography today has evolved to a blend of professional portraiture and candid moments.  This is the style that moves me to take pictures.  Studio photography has it’s place and most people want at least one of those shots on their wall.  We have them ourselves.  However, I love environmental photography of real moments.  It adds a story and a depth to the photograph.  It leaves the viewer asking themselves, “where are they”, “what are they doing” and “what are they thinking”.

When I take pictures of my children, I don’t (generally) say “smile”.  I say “look at me”, “look at the bird”, “do you see the bunny?”.  I try to capture their curiosity, which is the essence of childhood.  I don’t need a picture of my children smiling, I want a picture of them, at that moment in time, being a child.

That is what I want to capture and hold in my gnarled hands when I am old and gray.  A piece of our little place history…and a piece of our hearts.

Take time to understand what you are trying to capture with your lens.  Practice and learn all you can to make those photographs in your mind a reality.  However, remember not to delete those “moments” where it may be a little blurry, the light is wrong, it’s underexposed, etc.  Remember that capturing this time in your lives is not secondary to perfecting your ability with your camera.

6 Replies to “Photography tips – a philosophy”

  1. Stacy, you’d be such a wonderful friend for me to have around. In reading your blog and viewing your photos, I find much in common with my own life and thoughts.

    This is an excellent post…I not only read your philosophy, I feel it.

  2. Is it sad when you get emotional just writing out words? I am glad that my post struck a chord. 🙂

  3. YES! I take my kids to get studios pictures quite often. But mostly because I have horrible lighting at home and can never get quite what I was looking for. But I try to get unusual pictures. I don’t always dress them up. Last time I took a box of Nilla Wafers for Anya (yes, my little girl is Anya too)to play with and eat during the shoot because it happens to be her favorite right now. And I know I’m going to love having all the pictures I have taken later, because they will remind me of the every day life that I enjoy so much.

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