My mom is a big family history buff. She used to work for Family Search in Utah and has soo many stories and family lines it’s crazy. She even found her grandfather from Ireland that she didn’t know anything about because her father was an ORPHAN. Yes, an orphan. She found her biological grandfather’s photo and family lineage even though there was absolutely no trace of him. Anywhere. Thats pretty crazy. I grew up know that writing in your journal was important and that it must be done. I would start a journal and a few months later lose interest. Story of my life in general. Honestly though, even in high school I didn’t have the time or attention span (or social life for that matter) to sit and write about myself. What was there to write about anyway? I woke up, went to seminary (slept.. through seminary) went to school, went to work, crashed on the couch. The end. There was a cute boy involved somewhere in all that too I guess… Pretty exciting stuff, no? Lets just say, I couldn’t get into the whole “writing my personal history”. It was pretty boring. It’s different now. My life is colorful and full of lots of things. I’m also older and more keen to spiritual promptings and learning than I was back then. I also have 2 kids who keep my life crazy busy and so “exciting”. hehe. But, if I thought I didn’t have time then, I really don’t have time now. That’s why I LOVE technology. LOVE it! I’ve been recording either by video or my “memo” app on my phone things of significance. I can do that in my car if (when) a random thought comes into my head. No writing, no notes floating around in my purse. Just an already organized list of voice recording or videos on my phone. And, once I’m ready to transfer them on my computer I have a file just for those things. Perfect. Then there’s taking pictures to remember things. Greatest part of technology EVER! My fave for reals.
So, why am I writing about this? I’ll tell you. I was asked to talk about photography tips and tricks for your camera or phone for my Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
). We’re pretty big on knowing where we came from and why it’s important. We believe families can be together forever. Families of all shapes, sizes and kinds. So, if these families are so special.. how can we make the memories we make with them (and memories of our family members) last? Personal history. Yes, I said it. Personal history. It’s not just about your own personal history but about your children’s, your parents and grandparents alike. It’s up to us to create memories for our families, preserve our own and cherish and pass on our parents. We are the link between generations
. How will our children, nieces, nephews, and cousins know about their family if we don’t preserve the stories and legacies our family before worked so hard to build and create? This is why I am so excited to share with you some tips on how to create a genuinely beautiful record of your life and your children’s life. So, let’s get started. First of all, personal history doesn’t have to be stiff and boring. This is PERSONAL! You want your great-grandchildren to look at videos and photos of you and instantly know who you were and what you loved. Personal history is more than just where you were born and who your parents were; it’s what you looked like when you belly laughed, what your voice sounded like when you were sad, the struggles you faced and how you loved the people around you. I recently came across this
article and it was awesome! It states,
“The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong family narrative. The research noted that children who knew the most about their forbearers—who they were, where they grew up, illnesses they struggled with, and tough trials they went through, had the greatest self-confidence and dealt with personal stress better.”
Not only do I have a passion for photographing families (mine included) but I have a pretty new passion for oral history. There have been so many times I’ve started recording a convo with older people in my life because they have such interesting stories I can’t capture other than recording it! If you have a smart phone, go to the app store or the android market and search “memo” or “voice memo” and there are FREE apps that capture darn good voice recordings. They are easy to use and can be transferred onto your computer easily. Be sure to organize them neatly so you can find them later. Visit familysearch.org or storycorps.org for lots of info about oral history.
Capturing all these things well is SO important.
Now, if you have a DSLR and you shoot in auto and you want to dive into manual mode ( a preferred mode to capture the BEST possible images) here’s a little cheat sheet for you to get started. If you want to learn more I do offer 1-on-1 lessons. Email me at email@example.com if you’re interested. It’s such a freeing feeling to be in control of your camera!
If you take as many phone images as I do, lets talk about basic tips for capturing photos with your phone. These days we don’t have to carry around a phone and
a point and shoot camera. You’ve most likely got one in your phone.. and it’s a pretty good one!
Basic tips for maximizing your phone-camera:
Note: Almost ALL the photos below were taken with my iPhone. You can capture amazing moments with your phone. Don’t think you can’t.. because you SO can!
1. Learn how to use your phone. Its critical that you learn the basics of taking a pic with your phone. Play around and see what you can figure out just by playing with it a little. Learn how to focus (usually tapping on the screen where the subject is. Making sure it’s well lit. Under exposed images usually turn out blurry and hard to see.)
2. Treat your phone like a real camera! Clean your lens before taking a pic and put a case on your phone to protect it
3. Don’t rely on instagram filters. instagram filters aren’t the best, especially if you want to print you photos off your camera. I’ve listed below some good apps you can get that are best for printing and sharing photos with filters that won’t make your photos icky.
4. Use to share. Share your photos! People want to see what you’re up to. these days it’s so easy to share images with loved ones far away or right next door.
5. Be still. When taking a photo with your camera, sometimes its hard to keep your hands from shaking. THIS my friends is really important to master.
There are two things I see most often and sometimes I’m crazy and offer people some advice before they take the photo.
First, people tapping the “shutter” button on their screen really hard as if its an actual button. This moves your phone a lot and never produces good results. Solution: use the fleshy tip of your finger, making sure your finger nails stay clear of the screen. Press gently and boom! You’ve got a clear photo!
Second, shaky hands. If your having trouble taking a “non-blurry” photo because your hands are shaky, try moving your arms closer to your body. This technique helps stabilize your hands. Also, try setting your camera on something steady like a table or park bench (keep your hands on the camera though!) And, if none of those things are working, do what I do! Ask someone to take your photo for you! Theres no shame in that. Plus, you might just end up having a nice conversation with a new friend.
Next, I’d like to talk about photo myths. I like this subject because a lot of people have certain ideas in their mind about what makes a photo good, printable and “save” worthy.
1. Photos don’t have to show everything. Sometimes zooming in to a situation and capturing a piece of whats going on highlights the emotion of what is happening better than a wide, general shot.
2. Photos don’t have to have smiling faces or a whole face or faces at all. Heck, they don’t even have to have the subject looking the camera! Mind blown. I know! Sometimes the best photo is of your kid throwing a tantrum with big tears streaming down their face, a super close up of your grandmas hands or even your dog’s tail wagging.
3. Blurry does not equal ruined, not good or trash worthy. SOME blurry photos are awesome. Not all, but some. So keep your eye out for them.
4. Well lit images aren’t all you should be looking for. Use shadows and silhouettes to make your image collection interesting.
Next, Lets talk about some key elements for good photography in general. You don’t have to be a pro, but there are certain things that make a photo better than others. Most likely, if you’ve seen a photo on Facebook, instagram or pinterest and it made you say, “Wow! I LOVE that photo!”, chances are the artist who created that photo followed one or more of these “rules”. Using these is essential to capturing a more interesting photo and thus telling your personal story better. Elements and Principles of Photography: Texture: The texture is the quality of a surface, corresponding to either its actual tactile character, or the illusion of how something would feel if touched.
Space: Space is an area that an artist provides for a particular purpose. Space includes the background, foreground and middle ground. Space refers to the distances or areas around, between and within things. It has two kinds: negative space and positive space.
Line: Lines and curves are marks that span a distance between two points (or the path of a moving point). As an art element, line pertains to the use of various marks, outlines and implied lines in artwork and design. A line has a width, direction, and length. A line’s width is sometimes called its “thickness”. Lines are sometimes called “strokes”, especially when referring to lines in digital artwork.
Color: Color is the element of art that is produced when light, striking an object, is reflected back to the eye. There are three properties to color.
Movement: Movement shows actions, or alternatively, the path the viewer’s eye follows throughout an artwork. Movement is caused by using elements under the rules of the principles in picture to give the feeling of motion and to guide the viewer’s eyes throughout the artwork. In movement an art should flow, because the artist has the ability to control the viewer’s eye. The artists control what the viewers see and how they see it, like a path leading across the page to the item the artist wants the viewer’s attention focused on.
Balance: Balance is arranging elements so that no one part of a work overpowers, or seems heavier than any other part.
Pattern: Pattern is a discernible regularity in the world or in a manmade design. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner.
Rule of thirds: An image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.
Composition: The way in which a whole is made up. The act of combining parts or elements to form a whole. The image below is a loose interpretation of composition.
Now that we’ve discussed all the curtail elements of taking am awesome photograph.. lets move on to the most important: THE SELFIE! I LOVE selfies! People may bash them but I love them! They are fun and if they are taken at the right angle, it makes ya look A-M-A-ZING!But seriously, lets have a talk about selfies. I’ve seen some pretty terrible selfies. Yikes. Lets do everything in our power to take awesome selfies, k? Let’s do this! 1. Make sure your lens is clean (again, no one wants a smudgy, fogged up photo!) 2. Take it in a well lit area ( soft, filtered light like through a window is the best. You don’t want shadows all over your gorgeous face now do ya?)
3. A selfie doesn’t have to be of your face. It can be your feet, your bling on your finger.. whatever! If it’s a part of you then it’s a selfie.
4. Consider the angle. The best selfie angle is a high angle, bringing your chin slightly lifted so as not to get a double chin. ( double chins only look good on babies. No one else! haha!) Also, the angle can make it fun and interesting.
Lastly, before you start falling asleep at the computer, the most important tip I can give is to get in the photos. Yes, you may be a budding iphoneographer now, but get in those pictures. Don’t worry about what you look like; don’t worry about anything. Worry about what your family will see when you are no longer here. Do you want them to say, “Yeah, your grandma took this photo…” Or do you want them to say,” Grandma looks so silly in this picture. She must have been a pretty awesome person!” ?
Tell your story. Tell it well. Tell it with passion. Tell it with love.
Right after Zoe was born I sang to her. I couldn’t really do anything else and Jared quickly snapped this photo. I cherish this photo so much and I’m grateful he took it even though its not compositionally perfect, but the moment was. This moment was absolutely perfect.
Totally Rad Actions
Michelle Kane Actions
Free actions: http://creativefan.com/500-free-photoshop-actions/
Apps for your phone:
camera+ app (manual exposure settings + focusing separate!)
pictapgo (everything awesome)
rookie app (design,filter,fonts,etc.)
vscocam (love the filters! high quality)
imotionHD (for fun time laps videos)
http://printstagr.am ( for printing your instagram photos)