Thursday, June 01, 2006

Albums - An Arranged Marriage

By Kenneth C. Hoffman

We often put off finishing an album of photographs because of the daunting challenge it presents even to the creative mind.

It’s difficult to discard a not-so-good photograph even though an identical, but wonderful photograph exists right next to it. In order for an album to capture the attention of the viewer and hold it, it must be provocative, show variety, and progress in a timely fashion.

First, separate you photographs in piles representing events. Then choose one photograph with impact that also summarizes the main subject. For example, at you grandmother’s birthday party the presence of most of your immediate family afforded you the opportunity to take lots of pictures including all the action. The aforementioned cover shot would be a close up of Grandma and Grandpa in a hug opening her present.

Next, separate the main groups according to chronological order. Further divide these groups in a series of threes: one scene setting shot, one medium action shot and one close up. Of course, you have to work with what you have, so make the best of it. There will be many posed pictures of various family members, so in order to separate them, distribute the series of three at different points throughout the album. No chronological order is necessary since these photograph could have been taken at any time throughout the evening.

It is important to discard any pictures that an unflattering (unless comedic), especially ones in which the subject blinked. It serves no purpose to embarrass the subject, and only promises to disappoint. If there are two or more snaps of the same subject and you need only one, discard or store the extra images for safe keeping. If they are place in your story album, you risk boring the viewer to death with repetition. Save a particularly nice shot of the main subject (Grandma) for the last photo in the album for a warm, happy ending. I suspect this memory album will take its place as one of her most treasured possessions.

Retired portrait and wedding photographer. What do YOU think?

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