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Cherish Your Snapshots ~ Make Every Picture Count


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Snapshots: It’s a word that makes many professional photographers cringe. As defined by Wikipedia, “a snapshot is a photograph that is “shot” spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Snapshots are commonly considered to be technically “imperfect” or amateurish–out of focus or poorly framed or composed… Common snapshot subjects include the events of everyday life, such as birthday parties and other celebrations; sunsets; children playing; group photos; pets; Tourist attractions and the like.”

When on vacation and even many times in every day life, I take “snapshots.” As an example, I wanted to capture my family at the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes in Glen Arbor, Michigan.  When you climb sand dunes on a hot, sunny day, there is no place to turn for shade.  With no clouds or shade in sight, and mid day sun at noon, many photographers would throw up their hands in defeat. Not me.  While I do love the perfect portrait, I also cherish memories.  I am not afraid of snapshots. In fact, life is mostly about them.  So next time you are out with your family in less than ideal conditions, do not lose the chance to get photos that may be less than perfect technically.  They may be perfect in other ways, like documenting life as it happens…

Here are a few of my “snapshots” from the day.  I hope these can inspire you to just get out there and shoot.  Use your camera phone, SLR, point and shoot.  Whatever you decide, just do it. Just capture the memory.  You can never get them back!

Homestead-481 Cherish Your Snapshots ~ Make Every Picture Count MCP Thoughts Photography Tips Ellie at the top of the 1st big sand dune.

Homestead-26 Cherish Your Snapshots ~ Make Every Picture Count MCP Thoughts Photography Tips My husband and Ellie at the top of the next big “dune.” Note how little they are – yes they got way further than Jenna and me.

We also went to a beach one cool evening. And I snapped these while they were playing:

Homestead-10 Cherish Your Snapshots ~ Make Every Picture Count MCP Thoughts Photography Tips My husband threw a tiny beach ball.  Ellie batting with a stick.

Homestead-6 Cherish Your Snapshots ~ Make Every Picture Count MCP Thoughts Photography Tips Jenna was fascinated by this ladybug.  She played with it for almost an hour.  I loved her nail polish is chipping and her hands have sand on them. And even though those factors make it a “snapshot,” it is one that will evoke memories.

The last day of our trip we went to Northpoint Lighthouse.  It is inside a Michigan State Park with very old trees.  We loved it here.  So snap – snap – snap, a few more to share…

Homestead-122 Cherish Your Snapshots ~ Make Every Picture Count MCP Thoughts Photography Tips Jenna in the tree…

Homestead-118 Cherish Your Snapshots ~ Make Every Picture Count MCP Thoughts Photography Tips And I had to get one with sun flare for fun! Love the shape and size of this tree.

Thanks for checking out a few shots from our vacation – and remember to capture yours!

Homestead-67 Cherish Your Snapshots ~ Make Every Picture Count MCP Thoughts Photography Tips


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  1. Chrei on July 8, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I love the mcp actions. I have learned more with the actions and tutorials than sitting in classes with an instructor. I truly believe my photos are better now with mcp. I am a life long learner and I am always willing to stretch myself and learn something new. I want to create something that will make a memory and stand the test of time. I would like the Magic skin and all the details mcp actions. I am a beginner wanting to be more. I do it for the fun!

  2. Susan D on July 8, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I think thess “snapshots” are fantastic. For a couple of years I tried to really concentrate on the technical side of photography…all those rules drove me nuts, and actually drove me away from taking pictures altogether. The rules about the best time of day for photos (sunrise or sunset), have to shoot in manual mode, you must use a tripod, etc…it all just drove me away from photography. I am more of a creative person vs. technical. I loved to be able to capture things I found interesting or beautiful even if it wasn’t the optimum time of day. I HAVE THROWN OUT ALL THOSE RULES and just snap away on my DLSR – and gasp – sometimes I even put in in AUTOMATIC!!!!! I figured a $1,500 camera should KNOW what the best setting are at least SOME OF THE TIME!! Thanks for the great post and confirming my current thought process!

  3. Terry Lee Cafferty on July 8, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Jodi ~ Thank you so much for this post…I have been studying and doing professional photography for 30 years (except for taking a few years off to get both my boys in school) and honestly, when I had my children is when it all turned into “snapshots” and not missing the moments & memories, instead of being crippled by the idea that it might not be technically perfect…I even had a period of time when I was using the disposable cameras because they were new and fun to experiment with : )…fit right in the front of that diaper bag! As long as I managed to “fit in” a photo session with my kids here and there, I was happy to live in the snapshot “Mommy” world. I love that you exposed this for everyone…it’s freeing for me to be able to be O.K. with that instead of embarrassed or apologetic about it…Thank you so much!Your girls look great! Cheers & Summer Smiles! xoHere’s a “snapshot” SOOC…

  4. Terry Lee Cafferty on July 8, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Now here it is after using MCP Actions…couldn’t resist.1. Crackle from “Quickie Collection”2. Mid-tone lifter from “Bag of Tricks”3. Magical Contrast adjusting opacity to 40%4. Noise Reducer to reduce noise in shadow areas from “Bag of Tricks”5. Added a fake blue sky with “All in the Details”6. Finally ran “Pot of Gold” from “All in the Details” to give it a warm summer glow!So fun.

  5. mom2my10 on July 8, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Wow! Amazing photos taken at mid-day! Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

  6. Dalia on July 8, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I love the fact you always keep it REAL. Thank you for that! 🙂 Hugs & Blessings!

  7. Tamara on July 8, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Love your “snapshots”

  8. forex robot on July 8, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  9. cna training on July 8, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!

  10. Lorraine Reynolds on July 9, 2010 at 1:46 am

    Wish my ‘snapshots’ were as good as those. I think snapshots are obviously a bit better when you know more than the avergae mum-arazzi!

  11. kristin on July 9, 2010 at 1:56 am

    You know, I think a lot of people simply use the term “snapshots” to be condescending & derogatory. There’s no reason a simple snap can’t be just as beautiful or powerful as something that took two days to set up.A photo doesn’t have to be technically correct (what exactly is that anyway, when we talk about art?), perfectly composed or lit professionally to move beyond the stereotypical, low-brow “snapshot”. And, frankly, there’s nothing wrong with that stereotypical, low-brow “snapshot”!Photography is art – whether you shoot it on a camera phone, $29 throwaway, compact go-everywhere cam or $5000 dslr rig. Does the image speak to you? To others? Does it convey a sense of something? Is it a cherished memory? Then it’s awesome 🙂

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