More Than Resolutions: Take More Pictures

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31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010: Take More Pictures

Join us all month for 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010!

Do you take a lot of pictures of your kids? When our oldest was born, we lived, literally, on the other side of the country from our entire family, so we got into the habit of taking lots of pictures from the start (as my Flickr account will attest!). Sure, we’ve had seasons when we don’t take as many pictures as normal, but overall we take a lot of pictures each month.

Taking pictures is important not only for us, but for our children as well, because it preserves the memories that they might otherwise forget. I know I still enjoy looking through the many albums full of pictures that my mom has of me, and even though I don’t have the greatest memory, it’s a way to look back and remember my childhood.

If you’re not yet in the habit of taking lots of pictures but want to be, here are 5 tips to help you get started:

1. Carry your camera with you. Everywhere.

Having your camera with you is half the battle. Whether you’re at home in the backyard or exploring your local zoo, you’re much more likely to take pictures if you have your camera, for obvious reasons. I also find it helpful to have a spare battery so that I can begin charging the old one as soon as I take it out of the camera, and having a convenient case is another important factor. I took our DSLR camera to Disney World with us, and it was unobtrusive as we went about our day because of the case I have, which hangs from the camera when not in use and is easy to slip on and off. I wouldn’t have wanted to drag around another big case if I hadn’t found this one before our trip!

I love the encouragement that Angie from The Creative Mama is sharing today. As a professional photographer and mama, Angie has some good reminders about the value of capturing the images that surround us every day.

2. Don’t wait for the perfect moment.

Each month I trash probably half of the pictures I take. I don’t trash decent photos, even if I have a dozen that are similar, but because I snap pictures regularly throughout the day, I end up with a lot that really aren’t worth keeping. Add to that my newfound obsession with figuring out the manual settings on my DSLR, and it’s probably an even higher percentage.

The point is this. If you wait for the perfect moment to take a picture, it’ll never come. Get out the camera and capture the every day moments, with their messy backdrops, ornery toddlers and poor lighting. The quality of the photo really isn’t the important part, and while we’d all love adorable, artistic shots to show off our kids, there’s something to be said for capturing reality as well!

3. Give your kids the camera.

My kids are still little, so they don’t get to use my “big” camera, but they have an old digital camera they use, and sometimes I’ll let them use my point-and-shoot to capture the world as they see it. Even with cut-off heads, dozens of photos of the same rock and the blur of movement, I love looking through these pictures, and I’m sure we’ll treasure them as they get older.

4. Try new things.

Although you shouldn’t feel constrained by trying to capture the perfect picture, it can be fun to look at photos from professional photographers (or non-professionals who are just really good at it) to get ideas for great shots and composition. I couldn’t offer you a how-to tutorial if I wanted to because I don’t have it all figured out by any stretch, but the photos I’ve taken in the last year are drastically better than those I took five years ago, and I hope to continue to improve. It’s fun to try to capture the kids from new angles (like from above, looking straight down at them) and in new settings, and it makes picture taking fresh and fun for me as well.

5. Make it fun.

Make sure you keep your picture taking fun for your kids as well as yourself. I’ll admit that I bribe my children for posed family photos with a Skittle or half a jelly bean for each pose, but during our everyday lives, I try not to stress them out with my camera. I capture a lot of candid shots that they don’t even know about, and I also let them pose and be silly for me whenever they want. Sometimes their silliness (combined with my inexperience) means I don’t get any really great shots, but I think these moments keep them from dreading the camera and make it easier to take more pictures overall.

The development of digital cameras has made capturing and recording our memories in photos even easier. I’ve often said that if our camera was ever to break, I would be willing to eat rice and beans and sacrifice whatever necessary in order to purchase a new, inexpensive one as soon as possible. Taking pictures is that important to me!

Do you take a lot of pictures during the everyday moments? Is one of your goals in 2010 to take more?

The 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series is sponsored by Get Organized Wizard. The Design Your Life e-program is a comprehensive self-improvement program that delivers ongoing structure, motivation and accountability for taking action.