On the street
The photo of my little brother and I, he’s about 2 and I’m about 3 … we’re just looking cute. ,
There are all the photos a parent knows to take — birthdays, holidays, graduations — and then there are the memories hiding in plain sight that they only wish they’d captured on film.
The day at the park, the weekly piano lesson, the living room gymnastics.
We talked with local photographers about how to fill in the gaps, so that when you look back on your child’s life you won’t feel like there are memories left out.
Here are a few suggestions from Adam Buhler of Captured, Anne Werner of Anne Pendleton Photography and Maggie Kruger of Kruger Photography.
The milestones. These should be no-duh moments for parents, but they’re still important to mention.
- Infanthood (try to get a picture a week for at least the first three months, and keep that pace going if possible).
- One year.
- Every birthday following.
- Graduations: high school, college, even preschool and elementary school if applicable.
- The college dorm room.
The obligatory shots. The ones that are always great to have in an album, no matter what:
- The baby getting a bath.
- The messy toddler eating in a high chair.
- The very first day of school (and every first day of school after that).
- A child’s first bike ride.
- The 16-year-old with his or her first car.
- Teens posing with their Homecoming/Prom/Sadie Hawkins date or group.
- Swimming lessons, sporting events, dance recitals.
- Special religious events.
- Holidays, holidays, holidays.
The fun ones you might forget: These aren’t usually “Honey, get the camera” moments, but you’ll be glad you did.
- Get them doing what they love: Whether it’s sports, computer games or Legos, try to document what a child likes doing every day. You never know, that childhood dabbling may be important to his or her career as an adult.
- A day at the park: There’s nothing wrong with piling into the car and taking some pictures of a day spent outside, even if there’s no “reason” to do it.
- Capture a personality trait: It sounds strange, but getting a picture of your child organizing his or her room, or showing off his or her creativity with chalk on the sidewalk, might mean a lot later on.
You can never take too many shots. Buhler says that he first realized his childhood photo album might be lacking at his wedding. He and his wife did a photo collage of their lives growing up, and that’s when he realized she had way more photos than he did. Never hold back, he says.
Know your camera. If you aren’t sure how to use your equipment, you’ll lose valuable photo time and memories of your children, says Werner. She recommends learning the ins and outs of your camera before you actually have to use it for an occasion, big or small.
Get prints. Kruger says one of the biggest mistake she often sees is that parents with digital cameras don’t get physical prints of their photos. She says often parents only upload their photos to their computers and share them in e-mails and on Facebook, rather than taking the extra step of getting prints made. She says prints work beyond the instant gratification of the upload to keep that moment closer and fresher than when the image is hidden on a computer.
Back up your photos. While we’re on the subject of computers: remember they fail. Whether you back up your computer photo program by putting photos on flash drive, burning them on a CD, using an external hard drive or a Web-based photo site like Shutterfly, back it up. Kruger says this is becoming increasingly important in the digital age.
Put down the phone. Though the technology is improving, you may want to think about taking your camera when out in public and not relying on your phone’s camera, says Buhler. Often, the shots will be better and you’ll remember to back them up and get prints, too.
Don’t forget to hop in the frame. Werner says that often parents can be so intent on capturing the moment that they forget that they are part of the moment, too. She suggests enlisting a family member or friend to be the “official” photographer at an event like a birthday party. Just hand them your camera and have fun with your kids.