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Moments that Matter

By Kate Sanford, intern

When we have indescribable moments, moments we want to wrap up and save for later but just aren’t sure how, photography can be a trusty, though tricky, tool to use. Capturing the emotion of the moment—a live, experiential moment—on a rectangular, two-dimensional piece of paper is difficult. No one knows this better than parents. Every mother and father wants to capture their child in the various moments of growing up, but the practice of doing so, and doing it well, often seems out of reach.

MOMENTS_cvrPhotographer and author Farrah Braniff works to make things easier for those who want to bridge the gap between experience and memory. In her workshops and interactive book Moments that Matter, Farrah breaks it down, simplifying and making accessible the art that is the central passion in her own life. One of Farrah’s initial pieces of advice is that though equipment is important, it is not everything. “Repeat this mantra,” she instructs, “The camera isn’t taking the picture, I am.” You don’t have to have the fanciest camera—even a cell phone takes awesome pictures these days—to take great photographs. What you do need is a few tips on how to manage your camera and lots of practice. Try out this activity from Moments that Matter that will get you started taking photos and make your photos more meaningful.

HOW TO PRACTICE
Find a willing model (your toddler doesn’t count). An older child may be able to sit for ten to fifteen minutes while you work on this exercise. Having your model look at you and smile is less important that just getting a feel for getting closer and the way it affects your images.

  • Pose your model, preferably outdoors and in the shade.
  • Take a picture of his entire body and then move in incrementally, taking pictures at various distances until you have a close-up of only his face or even just a part of it.
  • When you are done, look at your set of images and see which ones you prefer. Note how the feeling of the images changes as your distance changed.
  • Experiment with backgrounds. Can you find a pretty background where you are by cropping out distracting elements?
  • Go through pictures that you have already taken. Can you improve them by cropping in close to your subject or by eliminating distractions?

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