One of the most satisfying experiences you can have is completing and printing a photo book full of memorable pictures. With Father’s Day around the corner, let me share the process we went through at ScrappersGuide.com to capture a great set of pictures for our “Blessed With Boys” photo book.
When I thought about who would be a good candidate for a book showcasing fathers, I immediately thought of my friends, Simona and Jamey. They have three of the cutest little boys you ever did see, and Jamey is a devoted father. When I asked if they would work with me on a photo book project, they agreed to let me come over to their home and photograph them.
As the photographer, I needed a plan—a way to approach the photo book. Every cohesive book needs a plan. If you don’t plan, you’ll get an album full of separate pages that may or may not connect. My plan for this one was pretty loose, but it still gave me a way to approach my photography and the book itself.
I used what I like to call the Snapshot approach. This is where you ask yourself: How would I describe this family (or this school, or this vacation, or this house . . .) right now? What could I tell in pictures and words that would give people a snapshot of this family at this moment in time?
I wrote down a few ideas that I thought would be good to photograph: the boys’ room, bicycling, playing T-ball, interacting with Dad, etc. When I got to Simona’s house, I asked her, “What is typical about your boys right now?” and she gave me some more ideas.
The boys’ ages ranged from almost 2 to 6, so my first job was to help them understand what I was doing. I asked, “Do you like to read picture books?” The answer, of course, was yes, so I asked, “Is it OK if I take your picture so we can make a picture book about you?” That was something they could relate to, and they readily agreed. It would have been even better if I had shown them a prior book I had done of a family with kids, but I didn’t think of that at the time.
I also decided to use one of my favorite tricks to get children to cooperate with a photo shoot. If a child is being shy, I take a picture of a toy of theirs, or of someone else, and then say, “Look at this picture of mommy!” I show them the LCD screen of my camera so they can see the photo.
Then I say, “Would you like to see a picture of you in my camera?” I’ve never had a child refuse. In fact, they will often pose for me or suggest possible poses. Sometimes I have a hard time getting them to stop!
Once we got going, I spent a couple hours with the boys and their dad, taking pictures. To help the mom with journaling, I divided the photos into folders according to subject matter and asked Simona to simply comment on each subject or featured child. She also wrote a letter to her boys about her hopes and dreams for them.
Through the years, as the family looks at this album, it will be a snapshot of their life at this moment in time. What a precious gift to give yourself or someone else!
If you’re interested in creating a book like this, you can find the digital scrapbook templates at ScrappersGuide.com. To use these templates you will need design software like PhotoShop (see more about digital scrapbooking here). If you would like to create a photo book using designs from Shutterfly, they have a wide variety of backgrounds and layouts that are also perfect for telling Dad’s story.