Monday, May 19, 2008

Tuesday Ten: Say Cheese!

My sisters, Busy Cristy and IrieMeg have cool fancy cameras too. And they've read lots of camera books and taken classes, and they write photography stuff on their blogs. I'm feeling a little left out. So I've written my own camera tips just so I can feel cool, like I'm in the photographers club.

Don't expect to learn anything, though.

Tuesday Ten: Camera Tips from a Fumbling Photographer

1. Kids like to make faces.
But it's way better than the "cheese" face. You know the one....your little camera hog sees you pointing the lens in their direction and immediately the head goes to the side and the photo smile appears. You don't even want to press the button because you've got hundreds of pictures of this kid with the exact same face, exact posture, exact tilt of the head.

I like to say, "What are you cheesing at, camera hog? I've got better things to photograph. I was taking a picture of...that....dead tree next to you." Or I pinch them. Then I take pictures of them crying. Because it's way more interesting than the "cheese" face.

Er....or I ask them to make silly faces.

2. When you go out with the kids to take their pictures, don't forget the camera. Yup. You read it here first. When you're asked, "What's the most brilliant photography tip you've ever read?" you can say that a very wise woman once wrote, "Don't forget the camera," and it's stuck with you ever since.

3. Hire professional kids. Pretend they're yours. They'll stand still. They won't expect you to play with them. They won't crab at you, "Mooooo-oooom. Stop taking my picture." It's way easier than taking pictures of your own kids, who don't care what they wear or if they're standing next to a plastic trash bin.

Not really. But darned if my little stinkers actually think I take them outside to play and stuff. They want to wear garish colors and that ugly Spiderman glove because it's really a magic gauntlet. They don't care if they still have breakfast on their faces (um....not that I don't make my kids sparkle when they leave the house, I just mean all of those other messy kids, that's it) or if they're standing in a shadow or if their grimy little feet are ruining the perfect shot of their brother drawing in the grass.

4. Shhhh....don't tell the camera snobs in my life, but this one is one of my favorites: If you don't want to lug around the giant camera, take the point-and-shoot. It works just fine.

I just got back from accompanying the lovely ladies on their choir tour. Loving husband was surprised I didn't want to take the new camera. Best decision I ever made. Well, besides remembering my Swiss Army credit card tool. This thing. I was a chaperone, and had to deal with a sliver, dropped camera (not mine), write down a number, and cut off tags. Back to cameras, I had to carry my luggage, my pillow, my travel bag for the bus, my purse, and all of the things my lovely lady dropped or forgot. The last thing I needed was another bag or a heavy (and breakable and very expensive) camera hanging around my neck. I got some decent pictures anyway.

5. If you share a camera, check the white balance before you start taking pictures. So your kitchen and your boy won't look blue. Even if you just put the camera down for twenty minutes. Someone will come along and mess it up for you. And look at the pictures as they come up on the review screen so that you figure it after the first picture. I know you can Photoshop it and stuff, but sheesh, I barely have time to read the camera manual.

6. Better yet, hide the camera. That way no one can take off with it and change it in the first place.

7. Even better, find out what white balance is, first. I know, I know. This one is almost as good as Tip #2.

Seriously, this is like learning a whole new language. Fun. Challenging. Time-consuming. Thank goodness for loving husband-- for two reasons.

First, because he understands cameras and can explain them to me. The guy can't take a decent picture to save his life--more about this later--but he understands how the camera works and how to get the most out of the camera settings, and he's patient enough to explain. I, on the other hand, know nothing about the camera yet, but I do know how I want the pictures to come out, and I'll take ten pictures of the same thing to get the best shot I can. If we could squish our brains together, we'd make the perfect photographer.

Second, because he understands that I don't have a lot of time. When I've got to pack a snack, fill water bottles, gather nature outing supplies, slather kids with sunscreen and find sun hats, the last thing I've got time for is flipping through the camera book and fiddling with the camera. I can hand him the camera, say, "We're going on a nature hike. It'll be mostly shady." He'll set the camera for me and quickly show what I might want to try switching around. Then when I get home he'll explain more fully.

8. Whatever you do, don't give loving husband the camera. He will take your picture. He doesn't care if you haven't done your hair and you're not wearing makeup and you're grimy because you've been weeding in the garden all day. He doesn't care if the pictures make you look old and tired and puffy. He doesn't care that if he doesn't include the guitar in the picture he's taking of you playing the guitar, you'll just look like you're trying not to cry. We've got pictures of me chewing, pictures of me with my eyes half-closed, pictures of me talking, and pictures of me turning around saying, "What?"

9. A totally gratuitous "after" shot that has nothing to do with photography tips.

I donated my hair to the Angel Hair Foundation.

Have fun. Take pictures of the moments you want to remember, the things that make you laugh and the things you'll miss and even the things that make you want to cry a little.

Life is good, and you'll have the pictures to remember it.


living in PA said...

Love the tips! You are totally making me want to get a new camera but I'm still in point and shoot land. :-)
I love your new haircut. It looks great.

Elizabeth said...

Sounds like great tips to me!