Understand the Concept of Playing with Light When Photographing Family Keepsakes

Last week, I wrote about the hardest thing I have photographed. I had to say, ‘good enough’ and be happy. This week, I wanted to share one of my favorite things I’ve photographed. It was with this particular session that taught me a little bit about the concept of playing. Remember the post about photographing a trophy? Remember how my friend told me to play with the settings and see what happened? Well, my artifact is a stuffed dolphin. Isn’t it cute?

First Option

I think this dolphin was part of the Beanie Babies craze, though it’s not ‘the real thing.’ That being said, I wasn’t exactly a young child when I received this dolphin. But it’s cute, and I loved it. I received this during a time when I adored dolphins. I had a dolphin ring and other things too. So, a thoughtful person gave me this dolphin. (It’s not that I hate dolphins now. I love my kids more.)

Anyway, my session started with that first photo. I decided to play with a few settings to see what would happen.

Second Option
Third Option

I liked the settings that gave me brighter photos on the camera. So, I adjusted my camera settings and then decided to see if I could make my dolphin friend look cuddly cute.

I didn’t like his scrunched tail and nose. He could look better.
This gave the dolphin a shark appearance.
That’s better. He looks like he’s jumping a bit.
Aww… he’s got a flat nose.
Here’s the ‘tag’ side profile. It looks odd, could I downplay it?
That’s a little better.

This session was so fun to focus on the positioning of the object. I don’t really have a favorite. I like them as a collection. I suppose I’ll just have to create a digital scrapbook page telling about the gift I received, the phase I was in and the fad the coincided. And I guess I’m just going to have to use most of these photos. That way all of the dolphin’s personality is featured!

Okay, I’m taking this way too far. But the point is: play. Sometimes we’ll be playing with light. Sometimes, we’ll be playing with the setting. Sometimes, we’ll be playing with camera angles and object positions. The point is to just play!

I’m so glad so many people have been enjoying my version of Photo Friday. I wanted to let you in on a little secret. I want Photo Friday (Memorabilia Version) to be a collaborative blogging event. So, beginning in January, a topic will be picked and I hope you’ll do your best to photograph something based on that topic. Then we’ll have a blog roll call at the end of the month and share what we’ve learned, what we’ve photographed, and what didn’t work so well. So, stay tuned.

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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