“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” (Ansel Adams).
The most treasured photos are the ones that make you feel. They are the images that capture a fleeting moment and they are the silent storytellers of a personal history.
It takes almost no formal photographic training to begin archiving a legacy. We all have the ability to point, click and freeze frame a moment. Oh, and what moments we all have stashed somewhere in our arsenal of phones, flash drives, and laptops! Birthdays, first steps, the first day of school, first date, first love, the list is endless.
We hear you – life is incredibly busy. Every member of the family is on the move, and almost every day on the calendar is scheduled in advance. No matter what the makeup of your family is, you are singularly focused on the immediate impact of the moment on a daily basis. But, just for now, just while you are reading this short blog, fast forward ten or fifteen years in the future. Be honest, will you be able to put your hands on all those bits and pieces of your children’s lives? If you can’t find the photographs, all you have is a memory. Don’t allow the moments to fade with your memory. We will show you how to preserve every image and journal entry so that your child can have a tangible first-hand account of his or her childhood.
They will be excited to actually, well virtually, watch themselves grow up. You may never forget all the work that went into the diorama she made in 4th-grade of a Hopi Indian village, but we can almost guarantee that she will. Years from now, when she is helping her own daughter construct a school project, she will be able to actually show her what she made when she was 10. These moments are priceless, so don’t stop taking and preserving those photos.
Take the time to make the images personal, relevant and reminiscent of your personal space. Record the provenance of the accessories you use, and voila!
Consider these photography tips for staging a perfect series of age progression photographs.
Have a standard frame of reference
It is important to visually keep things in proportion. The diminutive size of an infant needs no description when the baby is in close proximity to an object whose size is universally recognized. Place the baby in her daddy’s easy chair for her first birthday portrait, then each year use the same spot. When the images are viewed side by side the reveal is amazing. You can actually watch her grow up.
Plant a small tree when you announce “We’re growing our family” to friends and family. Actually, the picture of mom and dad planting the tree is a great photo op. Now, on every birthday take a picture of the child next to the tree. This is a double whammy; the photographs will illustrate the passage of time by showing the tree aging along with your son.
Same time next year
Annual events are the perfect setting for archival photos. The old stand-bys: First day of school each year, Christmas, Halloween, and birthdays are good choices. Actually, any day is fine, just re-create the same activity and include a sign (black boards are super cute) showing the date.
A step forward
Some of the pictures with the most impact are simply pictures of feet. Yes, feet. Barefoot, or with footwear, a line-up of the family’s feet tells a story in itself. I have seen a wall with nothing but pictures of feet displayed, and it packs a powerful punch. One can see the feet get larger, the number of feet increase( or sadly decrease)as time is chronicled in photos.
Hands down, a photo of a family’s hands, joined together, or layered upon each other, is probably a personal favorite. Nothing shows age faster than a hand, and nothing shows greater love.
When you capture that perfect picture, you’ll know it. Now you know how to save it.