Why I Took Photographs Of My Children

July 11, 2009

When I was a young girl growing up on a dairy farm I experienced an awful lot of life. I was the oldest of five with two sisters and two brothers, and living on a working farm meant that we were always working. Whether that meant milking cows, running a tractor or doing our school homework, our lives were full.

And the time went by so quickly. My father taught each of us how to run farm machinery as soon as we were big enough to reach the controls, and safety was always an issue. Until we could prove to him we understood the dangers of the equipment we were not allowed to operate that equipment.

I suppose that is why I have always been interested in mechanical things, and why a number of my siblings grew up to be engineers, captain large ships in the U.S. Navy and why I fly airplanes.

But early on I became fascinated with cameras. My first camera, purchased with baby sitting money, was a Kodak Starmite and I had plenty of things to photograph. My favorite subjects were my younger siblings and the farm, and so I collected a ton of photographs over the years.

Today as a grandmother I look back and realize how lucky I was to have taken an interest in photography early on. It is amazing to me how quickly time has gone by, and my own children are having children of their own and are now all in their 30s!

When we are young we think we are going to live forever, and that we have all kinds of time to accomplish the myriad of things we have planned for our lives. When you reach my age you realize that you ran out of time, and much of what you planned to do simply went by the wayside.

Which is what I would like to talk about today.

Modern cameras come in all shapes and sizes, and have capabilities I never even dreamed of when I got that first Kodak Starmite. As I look through my aging and fading prints from years ago I realize how lucky we are to have all of the technology available today.

But technology is only useful if we use it. Young families today need to slow down and take time to realize that those “firsts” that your children do will only happen once. That’s why they are called “firsts”. And if you don’t prepare yourself to photograph them when they happen you will never have a record of those “firsts”.

And all of those activities that fill our young lives as our children’s lives accelerate from birth to college graduation provide opportunities for us to record each special event as they happen. But why would we care if we photograph our children at each of these events? Who will ever care enough to take the time and look at those old photographs of our kids?

Well, one of the reasons why it is important to photograph our children is that they change so much over the years. The little toe headed boy turns into a strong dark haired man working on DC 8s and flying all over the world. That petite little girl has grown up and is having her own children now.

And then the grandchildren start coming around, and they are filled with curiosity just like we were at that age, and like our children were at that age, and they want to “know” about their parents, their grand parents and their history.

I am sure all of us have seen those ads on tv about family tree history; I think the website is www.ancestry.com. We have friends who are researching their family history, even traveling to foreign lands to research where their ancestors came from and what records of those ancestors remain.

So the answers to why photograph your children are all around you. They are your children, your parents, your grandparents and your extended family. Don’t put it off, take the time to learn how to photograph your children and take lots and lots of photographs of your children as often as you can.

Believe me when I tell you that you will be glad you did. One of the advantages of becoming a grandmother is the perspective on life you have. It is only after time has passed that you realize how much you wish you had recorded those special events in our children’s lives.

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Photo Rivals

July 1, 2009

My husband, Joshua, and I maintain a friendly rivalry when it comes to photography. He insists that he is the better photographer even though I bought him his first camera. I don’t take it personally though; he also thinks that he is a better cook even though his best efforts almost always include frozen pizza. When we do debate it, the contention point is usually equipment versus skill. Joshua has always been fond of the shiniest new gadget; he even beat me to digital cameras, thinking that it would give him an instant advantage. Of course, that was back when the best camera was five mega pixels and photographers everywhere were swearing that digital would never replace film.

I’ve seen a disposable camera catch phenomenal moments and I’ve seen a photographer with ten thousand dollars worth of equipment on location rely on an auto focus feature that resulted in crystal clear pictures of the insects buzzing between him and the bride and not one decent shot of the wedding party. That is to say that while a good camera is great it will only take you so far, especially if you don’t know what you are aiming at.

Josh only photographs on special occasions, it’s nice when we come home from vacations and have more than double the pictures to choose from. His photos do come out really well, but he does not share my daily passion to capture life moment by moment. Luckily for me, he affords me at least a little patience as I pop my camera out of my back pocket and snap twenty photographs of my son excitedly riding in a shopping cart while we grocery shop.

I know that my ever present camera drives him a little crazy, but I’m his wife, that’s my job. He may tire of the flash firing, but he really appreciates it when I can email him pictures at work of our son’s sweet smile that he is missing. He used to joke that our son would be the first to be flash blinded before he even left the hospital and that the other mothers would think that there were paparazzi in the nursery. Now he doesn’t even bat an eye that I had to get another hard drive to hold all the photos of our ten month old little boy. Like me he realizes that every moment is precious and if at least one of us manages to capture it to savor and share then we are very lucky parents.

Share Your Photos

Share Your Photos

Photo Gifts for Everyone

June 19, 2009

Think photo gifts are played out? Not possible. You just need to put your own spin on things. I love photo gifts because it is like sharing an emotion or a memory, something truly personal and one of a kind. There really is something out there for everyone; you just have to shop outside the box.

With Father’s Day fast approaching I’ve run into the same dilemma I do every year; what should I get for my father? My husband is easy to shop for. I see him every day and I know what he likes and what he’s run out of. My ten month old son will be getting him a photo collage mousepad and maybe a bottle of scotch.

My father is a different story. He works in construction, so the traditional office supplies or tie would be a lost cause. He doesn’t even drink coffee so the wide variety of mugs available is off the list of possibilities as well. I browsed all the available photo products twice before I saw the perfect gift. My father has a hearing aid and when he isn’t wearing it he keeps it in a candy tin to protect it.

Within minutes my son’s smiling face was on the cover of a similar tin and on its way to my house for wrapping and other final touches. I am positive he will love it, and it will be even more useful to him than a new tool or a restaurant gift card. The process is so easy; any photo that you can get into your computer can be on just about anything in minutes.

If you have only skimmed through the product pages of photo websites you are missing out. When you take the time and have someone in mind, photo gifts will leap off of the page. Would you deny someone special in your life a gift that is precious and meaningful because you didn’t take five minutes to browse all the options that are available today?

Family Photographer With Child

Family Photographer With Child

Christy

Take Pride In What You Love

June 18, 2009

There is no question that art enriches your life, whether it is your child’s finger painting on the refrigerator or the watercolor in the den that reminds you of your honeymoon. When the art is photography it tends to be even more special; one unique moment in time, captured in exact detail, set aside just for you. Getting your photo to canvas from your camera is easier than you would believe.

After discovering that my pictures could be converted to beautiful canvases with just a few clicks I became addicted. I’ve recently reached that point in my life where I relegated posters to children’s bedrooms and maybe the game room. For decorating the rest of my home the decision was between art and photos. Once I found I could combine the two, very reasonably, my house started to look like a gallery.

Like any addiction, even though I had enough, I wanted more. The canvases came out so beautifully, they were my own artwork larger than life or at least the typical 4X6. I was just so proud of them, plus many of them were gorgeous shots of my little boy in wonderful poses. My living room is like an Anne Geddes show without the flower pots. To keep them from overlapping on my walls photo canvases soon became my gift of choice.

Like at home, most of the gift canvases were photos of my son. Though, sometimes, I was inspired to convert other photos to canvas. Both of my uncles are artists, although Robbie, the photographer passed away several years ago. My grandmother has several large oil paintings from my other uncle, but Robbie’s photos, while framed and displayed, are no larger than the 5X7s that he originally gave her. When she went out of town I borrowed one of the photos, scanned it into my computer, and had it back on the wall with her none the wiser. When the canvas was delivered, she recognized it immediately and was ecstatic. A moment recaptured with her lost son, and his work on full size display beside his brother’s.

Have you run across a photo to canvas website thinking that there was nothing there for you? You should spare it another thought. You may not have a family photo that you want to hang in your galleria, but how about something else that you are proud of. It is the things that build who you are that deserve to be on display; your children, your pet, even your garden. If it makes you smile while you are tending to it, no matter what it is, won’t it make you smile when the reminder is right there on your wall?

Mother With Child

Mother With Child

Christy

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