Some people consider photography to be an art. These disciples of Ansel Adams attempt to capture light, shadow and motion in a split second, using a great deal of planning, expensive equipment and thousands of exposures. But this is not me.
For me, photos capture the people and moments I want to remember, celebrate and treasure. All of my pictures contain the people I care about. They are not pictures composed of a grand landscape with one of my daughters peeking out from the corner—they are up-close and personal. My pictures tell a story about my family at a place or event. For example, in my Disneyland pictures, my daughters fill three-quarters of the image, and the Matterhorn takes a back seat to my family, shown just enough to remind us where we were.
I have three teenaged daughters and a wife and, not surprisingly, they feel that not one of the pictures is worth printing and framing. They can point out anything from a single flaw to a least as many flaws as people in the picture. The subjects of the shot generally point it out: “My hair looks terrible in that picture.” If it was up to them, all of those substandard photographs—those in which their hair is not perfect, their eyes do not sparkle, or did they really wear that outfit?—would be locked in the computer, never to see the light of day.
I completely disagree. Liberate your pictures from the computer or camera! A caveat: This is not to say all pictures. Be selective. But honestly, for a week-long trip to Southern California, there has to be at least a few pictures that everyone feels are worthy of representing the trip.
I always print a least one picture of each of my girls and us as a family. Personally, I choose 5”x7”-sized prints, as this size is best for displaying in frames. Amazingly, once they are printed we manage to find frames for them, either new frames or old, replacing a picture from a frame on my desk or my wife’s. If it doesn’t land on one of our desks, it becomes a present for grandma, who waters the plants while we were away. In rare cases, they get the distinction of being stuck in a daughter’s mirror frame.
The whole process for printing the pictures is simple:
- Unload them from the camera to your computer.
- Under the folder in which the pictures are saved, create a new folder called “Prints”. This way, when you look at this folder later, you’ll know these were some of the best pictures. This will save you time, especially five years from now when the trip is just a memory.
- Find the pictures you think are good and COPY them into the “Prints” folder. At this point, you likely have five to ten pictures worth printing.
- Editing them may be worth it. They may need to be a little brighter or have the red eyes removed. Most photo-printer drivers or software does this automatically. Personally, I am not particularly fussy about this. They are not any worse than the pictures taken of you when you were a child. My mother still has the picture my first fishing trip on the wall red eyes, glare, and all. Even the fish looks bad.
- Select them and hit print. My printer has a dedicated photo tray so I do not need to load photo paper. The pictures will be best with photo paper and the pictures will last longer. If you aren’t using photo paper, I would suggest using at least using a heavier paper stock than your usual printer paper. While these will not be as good as you can get, they likely will look fine in a frame—assuming you have a newer printer.
Alternatively, you can up load the picture to a photo site and have them print the pictures. The result will be great. However, it will take a couple of days to get them, and you might even have to pick them up, if you send them to one of the big box stores.
But, in the end, it’s not about the method you use to print the photo, or even the amount of precision and time you put in to editing them, it is about how the picture reminds your family of those special memories every time they see it in the frame.
Photo Credit: Joe Keller