Monday, July 26, 2010

Pictures and stories

Long-time reader and Portland friend Alayna recently asked in a comment:
If you're looking for a post topic, I'd love to hear about how you decide which photos to actually print out and/or frame. Since I got my new digital SLR, I have tons of new photos that I LOVE, but I can't print/frame them all, and so I feel paralyzed. Thought you might have some advice on that? Thanks and hope you all are enjoying your new beachy home!

Hi Alayna! Thanks for commenting and congratulations on your new digital SLR. It looks like you are having a lot of fun taking great garden and kiddo pictures. As you know, I shoot pictures like crazy. Even after my initial edits, I'm still left with a ton of them.

Before we moved to Virginia, the only purpose of my pictures were for this blog, Flickr, scrapbook pages and 4x6 prints for our family.

In creating a scrapbook page, I would look at a series of pictures and ask myself, "Which picture(s) best represents the story?" Or
"Which picture will trigger the memory?" And if that fails, I go with something I read in a photography book somewhere which is
"Where is the action? Or "Which photo has the best action?"

For the photos sent to our family members in Tennessee, I just go with lots of variety--Kylie in lots of different outfits doing lots of different things.

When we moved to VA, I had a huge wall in our dining room that was just begging for framed photos of Kylie. To help me pick my absolute favorites, I created a new Flickr set. You can see the set here. And then I just let the question "Which pictures should I choose for this wall?" run around in my head for a few days. AND I didn't look a the Flickr set. The answer bubbled up from inside me. I knew that I wanted this photo to be my focal picture because it was my favorite. It was the one that I would be most disappointed not to see. I converted it to black and white and it just shone as a large 15x19 print in a Ikea Ribba frame.
(photo from May 2009)

I picked the other photos (the first seven photos in the set) due to the memories they evoked. As you know, I shoot candid shots of Kylie, never asking her to pose. And even though I use a high shutter speed, I very rarely get a "tack sharp" photo. There is usually some sort of blur due to incorrect exposure, shutter speed, movement, etc. But I did factor "How blurry are the edges of her face, her eyes and such in this one?" when I made my decision on which to enlarge and which to keep to a 5x7 size.

When we moved to Florida, I went around hanging pictures with Command Picture Hanging Strips. They really do come off cleanly which allows me to feel like I can experiment without messing up the walls. I just saw this frame unit from PB Teen which looks very cool too.

I hope this rambling post helps a bit. I leave you with this last piece of advice from Ali Edwards in her book "Life Artist":
It is OK to...
Let go of the feeling that there's a right or wrong in what you are doing.
Let go of the feeling like you need to have a specific style.
Let go of the need for perfection.

And here are a few recent pictures of the kiddo. (Not much action here...breaking the guideline I just wrote about above...but they are sweet anyway.)




Kerry Lynn said...

funny you brought this up because we have a wall in our living room that has a massive metal star on it. I'm a little sick of it and have been thinking of covering the wall with randomly placed photos of the kids. We really don't have any around! I'm completely overwhelmed at the thought of picking out my favorites of TWO kids for the last 3.5 years.
I'll definitely have to try those sticky things you talked about.
Are you on facebook? If so find me.

Alayna said...

Hey Wendy,
Thanks for answering my question so completely! The idea of picking one (or two, since getting both kids in one good shot is next to impossible) photo to center everything around really helps. I have a couple of ideas of places where we could do a 'family wall' type of thing and your pointers will really help. Thanks!

Kira said...

I love every last one of your scrapbook pages. I have wanted to take up scrap booking as a hobby for a long time and your pages come out beautiful. What program do you use? Is it good for beginners? Is it free or do I subscribe?

ae1501 said...

Thanks for this posting. I was going to ask the same questions as Kira. I'll just wait for the answers.