Blogging, digital photos, facebook, family, photo editing, photography, Social Media

4 tips from the self-dubbed family photographer

I recently uploadeda photo album to my Facebook page highlighting the many smiles and laughter shared during our annual summer family gathering. The album includes photos snapped by me and my father-in-law throughout the holiday weekend. As the kids whip out their iPhones to capture moments, we reach for our 35 mm digital cameras (mine a Canon Rebel, dad’s a Canon Sureshot). The younger generation could view us as outdated, but instead they greet us with happy grins when asking them to smile and pose.

FB album

Granted smartphones offer an easy option to photography these days. And the many editing apps available allow for a whole new level of creativity in online photography.  I also whip out my iPhone 5 often to shoot, upload, edit and post to social media. But there’s still no replacement for a photo taken with a real camera.

My love for cameras and photography is something I inherited from my dad, who in turn got it from his dad. Grandpa spent his career surrounded by the latest photography equipment of the day as a camera buyer for the former J.L. Hudson Company. We grew up lining up and squeezing together for group photos at every event and blinded by the bright lights of the old movie cameras while blowing out birthday candles.We moaned and groaned in counting to three and saying cheese for what seemed like a million times at every family gathering. However, to this day the photo albums filled with these pictures are the favorite things when visiting my parent’s house.

Following our family get-togethers my dad was known for dashing off to Walmart to get his photos developed and quickly placed in an album to show off the latest activity. He even had a numbering system where the back of each photo was marked so the matching negative could be identified, in case someone wanted copies.

Nowadays those photo albums lined up on my parent’s fireplace hearth have been replaced with digital photo albums posted online. I feel as though I’ve stepped into my dad’s role as our family’s chief photographer. I’m armed with my camera and snapping pictures at our many life events and activities and then hurrying to upload, edit, post and share them.

Luckily the task no longer requires a trip to Walmart for processing. As the family photographer there are a few tricks I’ve learned about capturing moments, editing photos and posting and sharing. Perhaps these four tips will be helpful to other family photographers. If you play the role of photographer in your family, I’d love to hear any tricks you’ve learned.

4 family photographer tips

  • Capture smiles in action: perhaps it’s a result of all those years lining up, squeezing together and saying cheese, but I tend to avoid forced group photos. I opt for a bit more spontaneity and go for a stop in the midst of action shots.


  • Less is usually more:  I find photos with two to three people turn out better and are preferred over photos with larger groups. You can just plain see a couple people’s faces, expressions and emotions better when there’s just a few in the photo.

GPA camera 017


  • People are preferred: I use the term “peoplize” in working clients to create content. My point … include people always (or as often as possible). People prefer seeing people in photos. Test this theory yourself, look at a collection of photos and see which ones your eye is drawn to. I’m betting on the people pics.


  • A little editing goes a long way: I recently discovered and I run every photo through the easy-to-use online editing suit before posting. Regardless of how perfect the shot, I’ve found a dash of color and a pinch sharpening can enhance any photo. If you haven’t tried a photo editor, is free and very user-friendly. If you’re a Mac user, it compares to iPhoto. Can’t say enough about photo editing.

Three ‘concrete’ steps to add more creative people to my life


Surrounding myself with more creative people in 2014 is my personal priority. But it’s not something I plan to keep to myself. My plan, in drawing more creative folks into my life, is to share those I encounter and the inspiration I receive from them with as many people as I can.

As for some “concrete steps” to go about achieving this goal (thanks for the coaxing blogger Colleen Newvine Tebeau) I will seek to connect with creatives regularly in the following ways…

  • In conversation – face-to-face is my preference, so whenever possible I’ll opt for lunch or a drink. However, the luxury of the internet and social media also provides opportunity for conversation of a different sort.
  • Through reading – much inspiration can be gained by reading and/or following of favorite writers, bloggers, columnists. I have a handful on my preferred list. I will follow them more diligently and provide comments in hopes of generating conversation and ultimately a relationship.
  • From writing – this will allow me to introduce the creative people I meet and share the inspiration I gain. I’d hate to be selfish. My hope is you gain some inspiration, too.

Stay tuned. Creativity and inspiration on the way.

Blogging, Resolutions

New Year’s priority vs. resolution


Everyone is setting New Year’s resolutions to kick off the year. My newsfeed and inbox are filled with promises being made today. I’m not a big resolution-maker. I tend to be more of a dive-in-and-do-it type. Reading lists of what folks are setting out to accomplish this year has prompted some thoughts of what’s ahead in 2014. Rather than a list, I’m opting to establish a priority.

Fellow CMU Chippewa, blogger Colleen Newvine Tebeau described a priority she set last year in her post about New Year’s resolutions – What’s your plan  for success in 2014?  Her goal to draw more creative people to her resonated with me. “I love spending time with people who are excitedly pursuing their dreams so I want to find ways to do more of that” — I agree wholeheartedly with Colleen’s reasoning and I’d add … I find spending time with creative people is inspiring.

I’ve decided to select this goal as mine for 2014. (Thanks for the inspiration Colleen.) Surrounding myself with more creative types can happen in various ways these days with the web and social media. I look forward to in-person meet ups, online chats, calls and the collaborative efforts that may evolve.

I’m eager for the inspiring to begin. Welcome 2014.