We’re in a very busy time, right now, so the next few blogs may be a little short. We’ll be back to normal in a couple of weeks.
While you’re out gathering those wonderful photos of your family and special events, don’t forget to put yourself in a few of them. If you never include yourself in the photos, the family is not complete.
If you keep a database of all your photos – and we highly recommend that you do – you can get a quick readout of the number of photos that include you. My family database in Lightroom shows a little more than 20,000 photos, with me in about five percent of them.
Sometimes, the reasons are obvious. If I’m shooting the girls’ softball game, it embarrasses them when I jump onto the game field and ask someone to shoot a photo of me. (They really get mad when I insist on sitting at the table during the six-year-old’s birthday party when it’s time to blow out the candles.)
There are many ways you can get into the family photos. You just need to make the effort to accomplish it.
Hand your camera to someone else. This is the easiest way to put yourself in the photo. This photo is from our trip to Wisconsin for a family reunion. I set the camera to the proper setting and let a relative push the shutter.
The advantage of this method is obvious; the photo is on your own camera. You can import and process it with the rest of your family event photos. You may want to be cautious if you hand your camera to a complete stranger, but, I’m going to assume you have the common sense to work out that problem. You can work out the camera settings to your satisfaction before you hand over the camera, or this may be the perfect time to use the Program mode. You’re not making art here – you’re capturing a family moment in time.
Use the timer and a tripod. You can have lots of fun with this one. Arrange your group with a space for yourself; dial in your camera settings; push the shutter; and run into the photo. If your camera is capable of taking several shots with one shutter push, you can help reduce your back and forth time. Invariably, someone is going to blink or move at the wrong time. If you have a family full of jokers (my curse and blessing), this can be a hilarious event as people intentionally ruin the photo with crossed eyes, turned heads, and horns behind the head. Everyone loves to watch the photo monkey dance.
Ask others to take your photo. I’m lucky enough to have family and friends who also like to make photos. They are very helpful in taking photos of me when we’re together at events, and I return the favor. When you’re out on a photowalk or together at some event, just shoot a few frames of your photographer friends. Many of the photos tend to have a camera in them, but there’s no harm there – we’re photographers. I usually edit them myself and give them a full-size jpg. The one or two times they’ve asked, I’ll give them the RAW file, so they can process them in their own style.
Since I’m a stickler for accurate metadata, I insert the real photographer’s name into the metadata when I upload the photo to Lightroom. I keep my family photos in a separate Lightroom database. This isn’t necessary, but it’s how I like it. You can search for photos of me in there, and Lightroom will show the actual photographer, even though it’s in my family database.
So, make sure you occasionally step in front of the camera. Someday, when you’re gone and your descendents are swiping through the old photos, reminiscing, they’ll want to see photos of you, too.