How to discover the shutterbug inside a six-year-old. Like most grade school aged children, mine own tablets and can swipe my phone faster than a New York City pickpocket. But they rarely use the devices’ cameras. The most recent photo in either child’s camera roll? A series of 38 selfies with a blurry dog-looking thing from over four months ago. Other parents I’ve surveyed tell me this evidence is typical. We assume they haven’t yet developed an interest in photography. When they do, the device with a camera is ready and waiting.
But if you’ve ever handed an actual camera to a kindergartner, for example, you know there’s more to it. And the older the camera, the better. One with a viewfinder and no screen really gets the gears turning. After they realize what it is (and that there are no games on it), the purpose sinks in. They discover a different tool that invokes a whole different curiosity.
Here’s how I spawned the shutterbug inside a six-year-old boy. I’d keep an old digital camera handy and anytime we left the house, I’d set it in the back seat. He couldn’t not pick it up and within a couple weeks he was taking it out of the house of his own accord. Sure, that was usually when his other device was off limits, but I say any interest counts. Sometimes, he’d take 38 pics of the seatback out of boredom. But often he’d take real pictures. And he got better fast. I’d watch as he would stop, compose, capture, and retake until he found an angle he liked. The results were far more thoughtful than anything he’d shot with an iPad. I didn’t try to explain the menu or functions unless he asked so he discovered most on his own and now frequently uses exposure compensation to improve a shot.
Since then, I’ve let him wrangle my DSLR, complete with a gigantic vertical grip attached. It’s obviously cumbersome but he knows what he’s doing and, more importantly, why he’s doing it. The pictures he takes are important to him and although most are viewed on his device and shared between family, a select few have found fame on his older brother’s blog. I think we’ll venture into printing soon.
I’m not surprised that he’s become a pretty good photographer. I’m surprised that maybe he already was. Sometimes all it takes is the right tool.
How to discover the shutterbug inside a six-year-old.
#kidsneedcameras #youngphotog #camerakiddo
Five Ways To Fauxlaroid
Mine was a Polaroid® One-Step. A black plastic behemoth with a shutter button the size of my whole thumb. And that was the smallest part. Things were big in the ‘90s but this whole thing was obtuse compared to the refined 35mm cameras it sat next to. And while 35mm counterparts were capturing sleek, wide images with a 3:2 ratio that could yield beautiful color prints of all sizes, this thing would spit out one squarish frame of mud. But then came the magic. The print would develop in my hand. Checkmate. That’s how Polaroid cemented itself in our hearts as instantly as it captured each emotion. For all the science behind the technology, it was the magic that we’d come to love.
If you didn’t go for Polaroid back in the day, don’t worry. You can rediscover the format or recreate the iconic look easily.
First, there’s The Impossible Project, a movement to resurrect the Polaroid film factory and sell refurbished Polaroid cameras to an enamored following. You can buy Impossible® film and cameras manufactured to near-original specs right now.
There’s also a new original Polaroid from Polaroid Originals® (these company names are uncanny). The OneStep2® is a slightly more compact, an updated version of the iconic OneStep that still uses the familiar 600-type film. No frills, all retro.
And, while not Polaroids by design, the Fujifilm® Instax® line has successfully cornered the instant market since its introduction a decade ago. There are original, square, and mini formats, a complete line of cameras, and an instant printer to liberate images from your device.
Speaking of devices, did you know there’s a Polaroid smartphone? It doesn’t make polaroid pictures so we won’t get into it. But for any device, there is, of course, an app for that. The Polaroid® Instant Mobile App lets you snap or import a pic and apply the timeless Polaroid format complete with captions scribbled on the border. Available for Android, iOS, and Mac. Unlike actual Polaroids, you can share as many copies as you’d like.
Of course, for the trillions upon trillions of digital images captured via other means that will never know the familiar frame of the beloved Polaroid, we call upon the magic of Photoshop. Easy as:
- Open image
- Crop to 3×3”
- Resize canvas to 3.5×3.5” (center).
- Resize canvas again to 3.5×4” (add to bottom).
Actual dimensions, for you purists: https://support.polaroidoriginals.com/hc/en-us/articles/115012363647-Polaroid-Originals-photo-dimensions
A batch action for, for you power users, (credit: Maximilian Janicke via Deviant Art): https://rawimage.deviantart.com/art/Polaroid-GENERATOR-V2-118854065
Finally, for the absolute easiest way to fauxlaroid any image, order polaroid-style prints from any device online or in-store with us! That’s right, any selfie or mobile snapshot can be output with the same iconic white border just like the real thing.
#instantlove #instantstyle #polaroid #fauxlaroid
Why Metadata Matters for Preserving Old Family Photos
Have you ever discovered a loved one’s handwritten notes on the back of an old photo? My grandmother often noted her memories, in beautiful script, on the back of black-and-white snapshots. Although she didn’t know it when she was writing, she was creating metadata about our family pictures. Metadata is one of those technical terms you may hear people talk about from time to time. It’s just a fancy word for memories. And just like your grandmother’s notes on the back of old photos, metadata is how your grandchildren will learn about you and your legacy. Even though it may sound like technical jargon, metadata is actually super simple and key to preserving family history. Let’s dive in and learn why metadata matters for preserving old family photos.
So, what is metadata anyway?
Metadata is data about data. In this case, the data is simply describing photographs. Metadata provides key information about the photos, which is useful because it adds context and backstory. Metadata also makes finding photos faster, even years down the road when most of the people depicted in the photos are no longer living.
If you carefully add metadata to your photos now, future generations will be able to locate and enjoy photos. Metadata makes your pictures searchable. No more sifting through folders, hard drives and emails when you’re in a rush to find a photo to send to a family member! When it comes to search and rescue, metadata is like the lifeboat of family history! Without it, your family photos may become anonymous artifacts.
How do I add metadata to my family photos?
After you’ve digitized (scanned) your family photos, you can begin adding metadata to the digital files. Remember, scanning doesn’t actually archive information about your photo. Have you scanned dozens of family pictures, but never actually attached any information to the files? Don’t worry, lots of people make this mistake. The good news is, this is an easy-fix! You just need to add some basic info to your photos. That info is called metadata. The metadata you add will be embedded in the JPEG or TIFF file, so the information actually sticks with the photos!
Peter Krogh, the leading authority on digital asset management for pro photographers, says it’s easier to think of metadata as tags. Many of us are already familiar with tags; we use them daily on social media. They’re manageable, logical and extremely powerful.
There are specific standards for image metadata, which have been developed by news organizations over the last 25 years. This standard is called IPTC. It defines a series of text-based fields that standardize the way different aspects of a photo are described. While there are many fields in the IPTC standard, family historians only need to focus on three:
1) Headline: a short phrase that describes the photo. For example, “Ed and Joe fish at Grandaddy’s Farm” would be a great headline for a family photo.
2) Caption (description): This is a sentence or short paragraph describing the photo. The Associated Press has a specific format for writing captions so that basic information is answered about every photo. While you don’t have to write captions to a strict standard, it’s smart to add as much info as you possible into the caption so details are preserved. As you’re writing captions, think like a reporter. Your caption should answer these basic questions, “Who? What? When? Where? Why? And How?” For example, you should include first and last names of people pictured, what they are doing, a date or approximate date, location, the reason for what they are doing.
3) Keywords: These are like breadcrumbs; they enable searchers to find photos faster. Keywords are words or short phrases that describe the photo. Think of what you would type into Google to find the photo. These are the keywords you should apply. You can use names of people pictured as keywords, locations, activities pictured, events, and other descriptors. It’s also good to standardize a list of keywords to apply to photos so you use the exact same terms to refer to the same concept in different photos. This is called a controlled vocabulary, which sounds like jargon, but is just a way for you to be consistent when describing photographs.
An easy way to add these vital pieces of information to photos is by right-clicking on its thumbnail. But if you’d like to take it a step farther and archive your photos like a pro, you should consider investing in some software that will make metadata a breeze! For my own family archives, I rely on Photomechanic for adding metadata to photos. Here’s a helpful screenshot of the metadata fields within Photomechanic. With a few fast tutorials, you’ll be a whiz at adding metadata to your photos.
Tip for mobile device photos: The simplest way to use PhotoMechanic to manage the library of images you create with mobile devices is to utilize Google Photos’ cloud-based storage service. Google Photos will synchronize the photos from your phones and tablets via mobile apps you install on your Android or Apple devices, and then use a sync app you can download for your computer. By synchronizing mobile photos up to Google Photos, and then down to your computer, you will have the files locally and can add metadata using Photo Mechanic.
Unless you add metadata to your image files (whether they are from your iPhone or scanned from an original print), you don’t have permanent information attached to your photos. And that’s tragic for future generations who want to get to know their ancestors! So take steps now to add as much metadata to your family photos as you can. After all, future generations of loved ones will get to know you through the information you add now.