Thursday, April 14, 2011

Helping your family tolerate your photography

A comment on Mostly Photo, a new podcast from the TWIT network prompted the thoughts below on what to do if your family complains that you take too many photos at family events or on vacation.

1. Get kids and family members involved in the process. My wife was less inclined to stop for photos on our trips until she got a decent camera and started joining in on the photo portions of our trips. Buy your kids "kid cameras" as soon as they can hold one and push the button and a decent digital camera as soon as their dexterity is up to it.

2. Get them involved in low-stakes photography assignments in between family trips to get them used to photography as a fun thing to do. Ask your child to be the photographer for your birthday party or some other family event that would not otherwise be terribly exciting for them (don't ask them to photograph another child's party where they would probably have many other things to distract them. Work with them to make a photo book of the event on blurb.com, etc.. Also work with them periodically to make small books of photos that they take on their own.

3. When planning a family trip, plan in advance to create a photo book using photos from all members of the family. Decide together what locations and shots you want to get, what story you want to tell and perhaps draw up a simple storyboard. Assign each family member to get particular shots. Perhaps have recurring shots built in such as self-timer shots of the whole family in front of the Eiffel tower, Big Ben, etc. or a wide angle shot of one of you holding a souvenir of each building in front of the building so the souvenir (and the family member) looks bigger than the building. Have each kid research the best photo opportunities in a particular place.

4. Bring the video cables for each of your cameras and have a slide show each night around the hotel room TV. Make sure you build in time before it for each person to delete their duds (or delete them while your are traveling from one site to another).

5. If this still doesn't give you enough time to shoot without annoying them, just let them know that you will be out of the room early in the morning, get up before everyone else, and shoot during the magic hour around sunrise. Arrange your mealtimes to be either before or after sunset and plan on doing an hour or so of concentrated photography during the magic hour at sunset and the blue hour immediately after it. Anyone who wants to join you for that can do so, or they can hang out in the hotel. Just about everybody needs a bit of time alone, no matter how close your family is.

6. For birthdays, family reunions, graduations, etc., schedule a separate event or part of the event where everyone gets together in their good clothes before they get messed up for a formal or semi-formal group photograph in the environment of that day. Make a special event of it and make it fun in its own right. Again, get everyone involved in planning the photo shoot and have an opportunity for people to take turns shooting.

Mostly Photo can be found at: http://twit.tv/photo .

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