While 2013 may be the Year of the Selfie, there are times when you just don’t want to have to man the camera in order to be in the photo. Nor is it always practical to use the self-timer feature to make sure you’re included. Case in point: Christmas.
Most moms I know have heaps of photos from holidays past but are included in very few of them. That’s no good. Mom—or whoever else is the family photographer—doesn’t need to be left to the imagination when people look back on holiday photo albums. Everyone who matters should be in those shots! Trust me, even if you say you can live without being in the snapshots, the people who love you will wish you’d been in more. Photographs both cement our memories and jog them, and the ones we have of our holidays? They’re priceless.
Here are three ideas for making sure you can get caught up in the magic and still show up in the photographs:
RC shutter release
Set up your camera in an area of the room where most of the action will take place so that it can be used with a wireless remote-control shutter release. Make sure it won’t interfere with foot traffic or be easily obscured. And you’ll need to use a tripod as well as choose your settings ahead of time. The limitation here is that you’ll need to make the real magic happen later, with photo editing software. Zooming and cropping in post-production will ensure you get some variety of shots.
Most affordable cameras don’t offer time-lapse functionality. But with the right apps or software, many smart phones, tablets, and webcams do. Position your webcam, smartphone, or tablet in a secure position in a high spot in the corner of the room. Set it to snap a photograph every 3-5 minutes throughout the day. Because of the limitations of this equipment and set-up, you won’t likely end up with stunning photographs that are worthy of a frame. What you will get is a wonderful series of images that come alive every time they’re revisited.
Hot potato camera
If you really want to get a good variety of images—from subjects to scenes to angles—a low-tech solution is probably your best bet. Let your family and friends know ahead of time that you’re taking the hot-potato approach to pictures this year. That is, every person will take a turn manning the camera. This is not the same as having lots of people who are all taking photographs with their own cameras. (When that’s the case, it’s often difficult to get photographs of the people who are so busy taking photographs of their own.) Instead have one camera to be shared and passed by all. The key is to set up the rules of play ahead of time. Let everyone know that when it’s their turn to shoot, it’s really their turn to shoot. And when it’s not their turn to shoot, they can really just relax and have fun.
Manning the camera can make you a bit of an outsider looking in. That’s not what the holidays are about. They are about reflecting on what matters, about drawing closer to each other, and about celebration. You can do all these things—and still capture and be in the photographs of them—if you plan ahead.