Monday, July 16, 2012

We've Come a Long Way in Taking Pictures

Over the weekend, I was sifting through old pictures, trying to pick out some good ones of my son to include in the slide show we'll have at his wedding reception. I didn't expect it to be hard. It wasn't until we went through a hundred snapshots without finding more than a handful to use that I realized the problem: we didn't take very good pictures when he was young.

Photography as a whole has advanced to a completely different level with the shift from film to digital photography. But what that means for the quality of snapshots isn't just the ability to crop and enhance photos that didn't turn out so well. What it's done is change the way we take pictures.

Back in the days of film and flashbulbs, we took a picture or two and weren't really sure what image we'd captured until we got the pictures developed and saw the finished product. We used film sparingly; flashbulbs even more frugally, so we didn't waste film by taking shot after shot. Now we click away, knowing we'll delete whatever shots we don't want. This wasn't the case when Mac was young.

So we're left with a lot of bad pictures. Boring pictures. Pictures that make you wonder what the intention was in the first place.

Even more noticeable is that we used to take pictures that captured the whole person and the scene, rarely doing close-ups that show a person's face. As I sifted through photos, most of them were nondescript shots from across the room, making Mac appear tiny or non-featured, and aren't exactly what I want to project on a large screen at his wedding.

What I've got are dozens of pictures like this:

When what I want are hundreds like this:

I'll have no trouble picking out pictures of my daughter for her wedding. But most of Mac's photo montage is going to be more current day


  1. Your son is so handsome!

    And yes, I've had the same observation about photos of old vs. photos of now. Isn't it funny? And printed photos are harder to keep/store, but much easier to look through than files on a hard drive. Digital photos are much more immediate, and can be easily fixed/manipulated by ourselves (vs. going to get them developed or printed or framed or whatever) but then we run into the trap of taking 100s of photos and having to go through them all.

    It's also funny to me how precious photos used to be -- like running across a snapshot of my mom as a kid, or my dad as a teen -- but my kids are going to have a whole Facebook timeline (or whatever) of photos of me and Andy!

  2. Yes. Doing this exercise of looking for pictures of Mac really made me think about it. And regret that I don't have better pictures. We've really changed how we take them, that's for sure.

    Thanks for the compliment. He is VERY handsome, and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mother. :)