How YOU Can Document 2017 / by Hannah Byrne

Hey! Remember that post I did about documenting 2017? Yeah?! (If not, read it HERE)

Well I think YOU should be documenting your life too. Booking a session with a professional photographer is great and there is a time and place for that, but most days it's just you, your partner and friends doing life together. So what's the best way for you to document life as it happens? Here are some thoughts to help you start!

1. Your iPhone.

I know, I know... My last post I referenced the iPhone by saying I only have "crappy iPhone photos" of my life. Let me rephrase that and say that I have "crappy iPhone 5 photos." I was recently able to upgrade to an iPhone 6 (YEEEHAW!) but all of 2016 was documented on the 5 (WOMP WOMP). If you have a newer model (and chances are, you do) then you have an AMAZING camera in your pocket ALL THE TIME! 

BONUS- One way to take better iPhone photos is to focus on the light. Instead of taking a photo of your kid playing at night when all you have in the ambient light in your home, consider photographing during daylight hours! This is ALWAYS easier to do in the summer when light is so abundant.

Also, unlike a DSLR, an iPhone will (usually) take better photos when your subject is NOT directly backlit. This means not having the light source directly behind your subject but instead having it off to one side or in the front.

2. If you're SET on buying a DSLR here are some thoughts...

OK LOOK. A DSLR is a BIG commitment. They are physically large and cumbersome. They are super freaking expensive. And owning one is absolutely POINTLESS if you're not willing to learn how to shoot in manual. This kind of goes back to my last post about wanting to shoot more of my personal life. The reason it's not as easy as it seems (even for a photographer) is because my gear is heavy and big. Taking it on a hike is a real commitment. So for the regular gal/guy looking to photograph life, this is not your best option. A better alternative: MIRRORLESS cameras. They are smaller, lighter and way more travel friendly! Plus they are WAY cheaper. Here's a list I found of the 10 best mirrorless cameras if you're interested! Before buying, always, always read the reviews. Even better, head to your local camera store and get them to help you. Service Photo in Hampden is my favorite! They always give me honest advice and I love supporting a local business in Baltimore!

3. Don't be shy!

I studied photojournalism at Penn State and one of the biggest hurdles I had to get over was being shy. Taking out a camera can be intimidating when you're in a crowd. You don't want to be "that person" who always has to photograph everything. But who cares? Looking back at photos I don't really care if I had to feel awkward to get the shot. I'm just glad I have it. The photo will last so much longer than your feeling. And the more you do it, the less awkward it feels! So go for it!

5. Get a camera bag that works

As I mentioned before, DSLR's are BIG. You will likely need to be carrying multiple lenses, if not camera bodies. I've found that having a backpack (vs. a side satchel) is much more conducive for photographing while traveling, hiking and exploring. I recently purchased THIS bag (pictured above) for all my 2017 adventures. Yesterday I walked 15 MILES with this thing loaded on my back in Barcelona. While I was definitely sore and wouldn't recommend it, I hung in there and the bag worked really well!

4. PRINT. PRINT. PRINT!

Y'ALL I am the WORST at this. I need to take my own advice and go order some prints like RIGHT NOW. But seriously, there are SO many ways to print your photos. I really like the Instagram friendly photo books you can buy at Artifact Uprising. They start at $18! I also really love Nations Photo Lab for purchasing prints. They are based in Hunt Valley, MD and their products are really awesome. You know you're going to get a good print when you order from them vs. somewhere like Walmart. 

I hope this encourages you to TAKE MORE PHOTOS! Even if it's just with your iPhone!

READY. SET. SHOOT!

Keep an eye out for next Monday's post - "Wedding Details: What to have ready for your photographer when they arrive on your wedding day"