Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Using the "Less-Than-Okay" Photos

We all like to think that we're good photographers. I know I do. But let's be honest, most of us use the automatic setting on our camera far more than any other. Even those of us who have taken photography classes and understand (or in my case fuzzily understand) aperture and shutter speed don't use the manual settings as much as we are really trained to do.

Laziness challenges aside, cameras are pretty advanced these days and can generally be operated somewhat successfully by most users, even the most novice. Point, shoot, click, done. Alright fine, we can all get decent pictures most of the time and strikingly artistic pictures once in a while. Now, not every picture can be a gem. So you forgot to turn the flash on and things are a little dark or you were using landscape instead of sports and everything turned out fuzzy. Whatever people. Most are still savable. Photo editing software can work miracles and even when that doesn't do the trick, sometimes using a less than perfect photo can work just as good or even better than a good one.

Let's take the example of this layout. I was pretty upset when I first realized that the only picture of this that I had of this "activity" and I really wanted to document the story. In the end I decided to use it anyway. And I think it worked out pretty well. Maybe I'm stretching the artsyness (yes I know that's not really a word) of it all, but I like to think that the blurriness works well with the fact that he would be seeing pretty darned blurry by stretching his eyes this way. Or maybe I'm just trying to justify my use of a crappy picture. :)

I honestly hate the coloring of these photos. I tried desperately to adjust it in Photoshop to no avail. So I settled. The layout still looks decent and...looking for the silver lining...I decided that the indoor lighting actually ended up adding some extra dimension to the knot on his forehead. Once again, wishful thinking or does it really work? I'd like to think the latter.

Finally, the issue of camera flash gone awry and dimly lit background photo. This was honestly a surprise photo. I was taking a GOB of pictures that night and didn't realize that I even had it until I was uploading them a few weeks later. Neither one of the guys knew what the other one was doing at the time, it's just one of those perfectly timed shots. I laughed for a good ten minutes when I found it. But perfectly timed does not equal perfectly composed. Collin looks dark in the background like some creepy stalker and Owen has flash face that makes him look like an albino. Honestly, I used this one because I found it hilarious and didn't give a crap about the quality of the photo.

And that's what it really all comes down to. No one is going to judge you based on your photographic abilities. Okay...maybe I will, just a little. Seriously though, scrapbooking is something done to preserve memories. Just because those memories aren't crystal clear or the lighting is bad or someone has a half smile on their face shouldn't mean that they get relegated to the trash heap. Each photo is a memory. I find myself terribly resistant to delete even the awful ones. I always make sure the moment is otherwise well documented. Enjoy the memories that the pages produce - your family and friends will. If someone sees your scrapbook and comments that your pictures are crappy, they obviously missed the point and shouldn't be allowed to look at them anyway. So there. :)


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