Halloween is upon us, and that means Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. If you love to record your family gatherings as I do then now is a perfect time to get that camera out and get it ready for the season. I have listed seven tips for making the most of your holiday photo opportunities. I’m happy to answer any question you may have on your camera, feel free to email us or call the studios.
#1 Get your camera out of its case – be ready.
Have you ever heard the saying that the best camera is the one you have with you? To this, I would add by saying its only valid if the camera in question is out and ready. A camera in its case is sure safe but nowhere near ready to take pictures. This is also true for a phone camera. A pocket is a great place but do you know a quick way to access the camera function? On the new iPhones, you can hold the camera button on the lock screen to go straight to the camera. On some Android phones, you can double-click the power button.
#2 Starts with a clean slate.
Make sure that you have room for your holiday photos by downloading the images on your device now while your not under pressure. As we get closer to the holidays, many more things are going to occupy your thoughts. Having to remember how you download images shouldn’t be a new adventure.
In many cases, clearing your card now will give you plenty of room to make it through all the parties, outings and family gatherings. If not you’re now an old pro at moving those images off to make more room. Prices on extra memory cards have dropped in recent years and may be an option for you. An additional memory card may come in handy on vacations where downloading is not an option. However, you now have one more small thing to track.
#3 Power Up!
Besides running out of space on your memory card, a dead battery is a disaster for capturing memories. Finding in advance your charger or that special cord for the camera, if your camera is the charger, can save a lot of last-minute anxiety. Refresh yourself on the cameras charging routine. This will help to know if you can give the battery a charge partway or does the camera require a minimum charge time to operate. Buying a second battery is an option but can get expensive depending on the camera model. Beware of off-brand batteries that may not hold the same charge as your original battery. Some newer cameras can have problems with off-brand batters and may not work at all. Batteries do have a useful life and can degrade over time even if not in use. If you’re running out of power while using your camera and the battery was recently charged, you may have to replace your battery because of age, or you may be using your camera enough to warrant a second battery.
#4 Crowdsource – Shared Galleries.
The family gatherings can become very busy and taking the pictures may not be possible all the time. Creating a shared gallery that many family members can upload their images to is a great way to share the load of recording the event but also gives you multiple points of view. Both Apple, with its photos app, and Google have image services where a cloud-based gallery can be shared.
#5 Download and edit as soon as you can after the event.
Downloading soon after your gathering has a couple of benefits. As I stated above, clearing the card of images means that you will always be ready for the next event. By uploading the photos to your computer, you reduce the risk of losing images because of corruption or lost cameras and phones. Your chance of image loss can be further reduced by backing images up to a separate drive or cloud service. By downloading soon after you can add notes to the photos that can remind you in the future as to how is in the image and what was happening.
#6 Take more images than you think you can use.
In the old days every time you took a picture, there was a direct cost. Film, Processing, Printing for 36 could add up fast. Today we have digital; the fee is paid up front in the camera, memory, and accessories. So now the more you shoot, the more it more it cost? Nope! Keep the good throw out the bad and print the best. We often limit what we take on the idea that we are saving something… money, memory, camera, or for the photo to come. Don’t edit before you take the picture. You have unlimited bowling, keep throwing, and you’ll get a strike.
#7 Get in the picture.
This is my most important point for family photography and heritage. Many times the photographer is the one who is never at the party. That’s because you’re always behind the lens. The family history is not complete without you. Having a tripod and a camera with a self-timer can come in handy for the family groupings. Otherwise, make sure to hand off the camera to someone else so you can get in a few. Your kids will appreciate your efforts years from now.
I hope these suggestions help. I’m happy to answer any question you may have. Keep your eyes here for news about our upcoming camera clinic, where I can help you get more familiar with your digital camera and show you some best practices for handling your digital images.