I am by no means an expert, but I wanted to share a few things I have learned…
With your camera
1. Zoom In.
Take out all background distraction and fill your frame with your subject.
Not zoomed in…
And now zoom in and forget the cheese…
2. Be ready.
Have your camera ready for the moments when you know something good is going to happen. Instead of taking out your camera after all the presents are unwrapped, have it ready to capture their expression as they open their presents. If you have a digital camera with burst mode, you can get the before the after and the in-between. Yeah it might take 20 pictures, but that is the beauty of digital, you just keep one or two and delete the rest! One of my favorite pictures to anticipate is when we first arrive at grandma and grandpa’s house. They are always so excited to see each other, the expressions are priceless!
3. Capture the in-betweens. Posing is fine – you capture the event.
My son wanted a picture with a big tank we saw on our recent vacation to the Oregon Coast. Boys. That’s fine, it documents that we saw a tank.
But, I want pictures that remind me of the little moments when my kids are just being that – kids.
My son’s (a little blury) expression as he karate chops the water…
My other son dancing in the water fountain…
and my favorite – when I turned around to see both my sons using their fine karate skills on imaginary bad guys right in the middle of all the crowds overlooking downtown Portland. They are in their own world sometimes and I love it. And now I won’t forget it!
Look for the in-betweens – that is when you capture the memories.
With your Video Camera
1. I recently read in Parents magazine a great idea I want to try with my video camera this year. You have it out anyway, filming the Christmas morning action – this year take a moment before you put it away and interview your kids. Ask them questions about their year. What is your favorite part of Christmas? What is your favorite thing to do at school? Why do you like your teacher? Who are your friends? For more question ideas, check out this post.
2. If you are going to be around extended family for Chrismas – interview them as well. You never know how long Great Grandma is going to be around, ask her about her life – most likely she will be more than happy to tell you all about it! I did this one year and had my Grandpa talk about my mom on video. He passed away soon after so I took the footage and gave it to my Mom as a gift. I don’t think I will ever be able to top that one. Priceless.
3. Same as with the pictures, try to remember to capture the little things. How about the way your newly school aged kid stuggles with his shoe laces, or the cute giggle your 2 year old does when you tickle him, or the spilled hot chocolate all over the floor – it will be funny one day!
With your time
This doesn’t need a lot of explanation, but I share one example that Shelley posted about (you can read it all here).
“One of my very favorite childhood memories happened right under the Christmas tree. I still vividly remember lying next to my dad directly under the tree. We would look up into all of the branches above us and see the twinkling lights go all the way to the top. My dad would tell me stories as we would gaze up into the magical tree and eventually I would drift asleep.”
I”m sure Shelley’s Dad didn’t realize the memory he was creating with his daughter when he read stories to her under the Christmas Tree – but the time together meant a lot to Shelley.