Get a Life as the Family Photographer

by Barrett

Which of these holds more value… a 32 GB memory card or 32 photos? The answer can change your entire perspective as the family documentarian.

Which of these holds more value… a 32GB memory card or 32 photos? The answer can change your entire perspective as the family documentarian.

Are you getting stressed out being the family photographer?
Does it feel like a thankless job?

Are you overwhelmed by the task of processing all those pictures?
A burden that’s killing your joy?

You’re not alone.

The good news is you’ve come to the right support blog.
I think we’ve got some ideas that will help get you back on your photo footing.
Please come in and have a seat.
The meeting is about to start…

Print a Photo a Week
“Hello. My name is James, and I’ve been the family photographer for 5 years.”

“Hi, James.”

“I don’t think I’m going to have enough time to create a best-of-2013 photo book for the holidays. What am I going to do?”

No problem.
Don’t even try.
Instead, I’ve got an idea to get you there… one photo at a time.

As you sift through your massive intake of family pics, the ongoing organization can get daunting.
(It’s worse than wrangling kittens!)

The last step you usually get to is printing any of them out, right?
So here’s a crazy idea… Turn your workflow on its head!

If you pass by a photo that feels special, just print it! You shouldn’t give it much thought…
Don’t wait for your final print job or photo book. Just send it to the printer, now!

Then, simply enjoy the image:

  • Look at it
  • Show it to your family
  • Tape it to the refrigerator door
  • Take it to work
  • Maybe frame it

Make that individual picture its own activity and absorb all those good vibes that photo brings you.
Perform this cleansing photographic impulse at least once a week, and it will do wonders!

Plus… you’re going to organically build a nice photo collection for yourself that you can place into an old-school album at the end of the year.

Sure, photo books are wonderful, but they take time to organize and create.
This method also gets you to the finish line… stress free.

Of course, this does require you to have a photo printer your child hasn’t already hobbled with a might penny…
(but that’s another story)

Always Keep an Extra Battery with your Pocket Camera
“My name is Fred, and I’ve been taking family photos for the past 7 years.”

“Hello, Fred.”

“I’m always worried I’m going to run out of battery power when I’m taking my pictures. It’s so stressful!”

“Take in a big breath. Now exhale. Fred, do you have your battery charger nearby?

There’s really no way to know for sure if your camera and a fully charged battery will carry you through the day. And that assumes you charge up your battery every time you put your camera in your pocket.

There’s only one way to maintain relative peace of mind on this front:
Carry an extra battery.
It’s not that expensive, and it’s relatively tiny.

The big problem with carrying around an extra battery is losing it.

I think the best solution is to always keep your backup battery with your camera in its carrying case or neoprene envelope. That way it’s always close to the camera when an untimely power drain threatens your perfect photographic moment.

(You do have a protective case for your camera, don’t you….?)

Get In the Picture!
“Hello. My name is Wendy, and my family has been looking to me to capture our family events for the last 10 years.”

“Hello, Wendy.”

“And I’m really angry that I’m never in any of the pictures.”

Believe me, you’re not alone if you find yourself missing from the visual documentation of your family’s history.
And of course that’s what’s going to happen, if you’re the one taking most of the shots! The obvious solution is to hand over your camera and ask someone else to do some of the heavy lifting.
(a suggestion I often get which always leads to wonderful results)

But that doesn’t mean you’re handing over your visual influence. You still may need to orchestrate from afar. Letting it happen naturally may not create the shots you want.

Does that make you appear too self-centered?
Get over it!! You’ve been taking everyone else’s photos for years.
It’s about time you asked for a few of your own!

Everyone stand up now, and scream at the top of your lungs,
“I want my own photo!!”

Good. Now please sit down.
(James, you too.)

The same general rule applies to large family group photos.
Inserting yourself into the family portrait may seem harder than walking a tightrope, but it really only requires a bit more juggling:

  • Just make sure you’ve brought a little tripod with you
    (like the GorillaPod)
  • Adjust the framing of the group shot like you normally would
    (after herding your family together)
  • Then, set the countdown timer on your camera and sprint into the shot
    (It may seem a little crazy, but it works like a charm.)
  • Extra Clever Tip:
    Set your countdown timer to take several consecutive photos
    (That will increase the odds one of them will capture everyone smiling at the camera.)

Share Your Gems Quickly!
“Hello, my name is Pat, and I’m distressed that I never get around to sharing my photos quickly enough.”

It’s sad to say, but most pictures have an expiration date.
(more like an optimal viewing period)
And then they become less relevant… because life moves on.

There’s always a newer family event that everyone’s going to be interested in…not your pictures from last month’s birthday party.

Plus, there are always those slick smartphone cats. You know them.
They snap a photo and share it almost instantly… taking all the glory.
(not that I’m feeling at all competitive)

So if you want others to enjoy your photographic eye, you’ve got to move quickly. And quick doesn’t always mean sharing the perfect picture…

Touching Up will Slow You Down
“Hello my name is Susan, and I take too long tweaking my favorite shots.”

“Hello, Susan. How long have you been the family photographer?”

“I’m not. Isn’t this the Cute Cat and Dog Photos Support Blog?”

“Uhhhh…. well, kind of…”

So it’s true… bringing out the best in your favorite photos take time:

  • Leveling the horizon
  • Reframing the shot
  • Brightening up murky shadows
  • Adjusting the color
  • Manipulating the ‘sharpness’ tool

You’re never going to get your shots out quickly if you force yourself to make each one perfect before you release them to your adoring public.

But if you’re like me, you’re not going to be happy sharing photos that aren’t ready for prime time.

Here’s a solution:
As you review your top 20 or 30 pictures from your most recent family event, just pick the top 2 or 3 to get out the door tonight.
(tweaking those won’t take much time)
And these will tease your audience’s appetite for the larger collection to be released later!

Share the Love
You are the family photographer. Own it!

And your family may not tell you this as much as they should… but they really appreciate all those photos you’ve been taking of them.

(Fortunately, my wife tells me this all the time.)

If some of your relatives were here right now, they’d give you a big kiss.

So it’s time for a group hug.
Everyone stand up and bring it in!

Now, don’t you feel better?