A Brief Heads Up For Fathers Day

John R. Thawley - 1928 ~ 2007Ok... look, this is important. THIS is what photography is all about. Family. There is no better way to honor, remember and celebrate family than going back and enjoying old photographs. Given the fact that today's photographs are tomorrow's memories, NOW is the time to start.

Why not start this weekend? Point your camera at dad and start focusing on collecting important memories of your family. It's important. Let's face it, none of us will be here forever... so make those pictures count. Take lots of them and don't forget to share them.

Don't be bashful either. Tell everyone what you're doing. Tell them why and make sure they understand they are an important part of the process. Everyone will benefit from the end result. It's what I like to call "emotional collateral." And guess what... you can't buy it.

No need for fancy equipment either. Any camera will do. That said, though... please, don't rely on your phone. That's lame. Man-up and make an effort to use a proper camera.

Marlon's uncle DannyFollow simple basic rules of photography. Keep the light behind you, keep people interested and active... there's no real need to pose, but do take a lot. A few advance tips would be to try not to cut people off at the knees. Move in or move back. Take a loose shot or a tight shot. Usually somewhere in between isn't all that interesting.

With kids, get down to their level. You'll be blown away at the results when you drop down to the same level as kids. The photos are great.

Nice use of natural side light coming from a window.Since it's father's day, try to get dad off to the side and get a few important shots to record the day. A nice shot is to sit him next to a window with the light coming in from one side. Move him closer or further back from the window depending on how strong the light is. If there's a shear drape over the window... all the better. What we're trying to do is get nice natural light onto his face where one side will be slightly lighter than the other... not a stark contrast, mind you... but a gentle light that will bring shape and interest to his face.

Move the camera in as close as it will go. We want head or head and shoulders. Now with the light to your side, level your camera to the same height as dad's head and focus on the eyes. Fire away... take a bunch. Chat with him while you're shooting. Talk about memories and things the family has done over the years. Get him thinking about those great family times. Trust me, he'll relax and the memories will start showing up on his face.

"Emotional Collateral" take a lot of pictures... you'll never regret it.As I said above, talk with people while you're shooting. Part of the beauty of digital photography is you can afford to shoot a lot. Use that to your advantage. With family and friends, you can get them to relax by getting them used to seeing you with a camera... if you carry on a conversation and treat the camera as an aside to the conversation, they'll start relaxing and begin to ignore the fact you're taking pictures. Try it.

Here are a couple of previous journal entries that were written with every photographer and any kind of camera in mind... not just for the pros. I promise, 15 minutes spent reading these two articles will make a huge improvement in your photos. Give them a read and go shoot your family... err... I mean take photos. Celebrate... it's what family is all about.

• Holiday Photo Tips

• Rule of Thirds

Happy Father's Day!