Taking pictures on Mother’s Day

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I thought it was a perfect example of serendipity that Tiffany posted yesterday about photographing the minutae because today I wanted to talk about bringing out your camera for Mother’s Day – not because Mother’s Day is minutae, so to speak, but because it’s a day where it’s nice to capture some memories.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a mother to see on Mother’s Day but if you do still have your mom in your life it’s a good idea to capture some of the small details. One day it will be a great reminder of your relationship with mom, and like Tiffany said in her minutae post, it doesn’t have to be an epic moment that makes you bring out your camera.

In fact, while a formal portrait of you sitting with your mother can be nice, sometimes the best pictures are the less posed ones. They’re the photographs that capture the true memories, the little slice of life moments, and down the road they can be the ones that stand out the most.

There are a few tips that you can keep in mind if you’re celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend. Keep your camera handy, watch for candid moments, turn off your flash if you can (assuming you have enough light), shoot in burst mode, and enjoy yourself.

Here’s why:

1. Keep your camera handy. That’s the most obvious one. You can’t catch the shots you want if your camera’s tucked in your bag. Keep it hanging around your neck or on the table in front of you so you can grab it when you want to.

2. Watch for candid moments. As I already said, formal portraits with everyone smiling and looking at the camera can be wonderful, but sometimes the candid shots are the ones where you really capture the memories you know so well.

3. Turn off your flash. If you’re able to turn off your flash thanks to enough available light you’ll have more of a chance to shoot the aforementioned candid moments if you aren’t drawing attention to yourself with a flash.

4. Use burst mode. If your camera allows you to shoot in burst mode (rapid succession shots – most dSLR cameras allow this) it’s a great way to get exactly what you want. Taking five or six photos in a row can get a moment you might have missed otherwise. It can be a lot of fun to get home, dump out your photos, and find a surprise shot that you didn’t even know you had.

5. Enjoy yourself. Do remember that it’s a special day and you should be living in the moment, not just capturing it. Remember to take time to talk, laugh, and enjoy and your photos will likely reflect that.

One last tip I can give you and I think it’s important one:

6. Forget perfection. There are times when you’ll want to take your time to set up the shot, adjust your aperture or shutter speed, take pictures from different angles, concentrate on an artistic perspective, etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseum. Sometimes though, it can be perfectly okay to go with a less-than perfect picture.

This photo above is not amazing. I had to use my on-camera flash because it was dark and I didn’t have an external flash. As a result it’s a bit washed out and there’s a major reflection in the glasses. It’s taken at arm’s length. However, I love it anyway because it’s of me with my mom. My mother hates to have her photo taken so I love it because she was willing to pose with me without looking away or hiding and she even smiled. I have so few photos of my mother, less and less of them as she gets older, and I know that one day I will be able to look back on it with a lot of love and joy. I have other pictures taken at that time that are technically better but they don’t strike the same emotion in me and as a result it’s one of my favorites from that entire month.

Let go of perfection and take photos if you visit your mother on Sunday. You may be surprised at which ones are your favorite. Please consider posting some of them to the BMP flickr group for us to enjoy!

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