By Tammy Cooper

Not long ago, a friend of mine called for some help. She had been assigned the job of photographer at her family reunion. The family wanted the pictures put into a scrapbook, so she wanted to know what kind of pictures she should take. I told her I'd be right over to share with her my easy as 1-2-3 method for scrapbook photography. There is the formula I use for telling an interesting visual story of any event, which I'll share with you, too.

When I photograph for scrapbooking, or any occasion for that matter, I do it with purpose, focus, and plenty of film in hand. Whether I am taking pictures for something as big as a family reunion or as simple as an everyday occurrence, I always try to capture several different visual perspectives. There isan infinite number of ways to gain perspective, but here are the three easiest points to remember:

1. Capture the whole event. Getting a few photographs that depict the whole event will give your scrapbook page location and time. Stand back and get as much as you can into these photos. Someday you will be amazed at the way things have changed. Room decors are updated, children grow, and styles fade away. These photographs will preserve history as the years pass. Look at the beautiful tree in the lower right-hand corner of my first photo. I captured the rich autumn color by using the morning light coming through the leaves. Standing across the street, I was able to show where the tree is located in our yard and how my daughter relates to it, sizewise. Even though this picture won't be the main focus of my scrapbook page, it is an important part of the whole story. The same is true with the picture of the children playing under the tree. See Example 2 . They will not always be able to play under its branches the way that they can now, so it is important to focus on that perspective as well.


Example 1


Example 2

2. Look for the events within the event. Next, focus in on one thing that is happening instead of on all the activities. These photos will be your midrange memories of the event. In my next sample, look at the midrange picture of Kira and Megan in and by the wagon full of leaves. See Example 3 . They had been having a good time burying each other in the leaves. They stopped for a moment to let me capture their excitement and happiness. These two girls are cousins and have grown up across the street from each other. They are so comfortable together that they are really more like sisters. This relationship shows in their interactions, and it is not hard to get good pictures of the two of them.


Example 3

When looking for midrange photos at a family reunion, an individual family picture would be nice, or a picture of a group of relatives who have not seen each other for a long time.

TIP: It isn't necessary to take your photos in a particular order. Take them as things happen and keep track in mind what you have done as you shoot to capture the moments.

3. Get up close and personal: Try to focus on one particular person or thing for these photographs. The individual photos of Megan and Kira, will be the real focus when I complete the scrapbook page. See Examples 4 and 5. They are beautiful children and they are really the reason for getting the camera out in the first place. They deserve to be front and center in the layout. For a family reunion, try focusing on a grandparent or the newest family members. Any person or thing that is the reason for getting out the camera should be featured in a close-up.


Example 4


Example 5

TIP: Carry three index cards with one of three areas of focus listed on each. When you take a picture, note what it was on the applicable card so that you can see where you need to shoot next.

Using these three perspectives in your photographs makes it easy to create great scrapbook pages. Your focus will always be on your photographs. The process of selecting background papers, embellishments , a title and journaling are easier when photos tell the story. You can see how I tied the photos together in my finished scrapbook page "Falling for Megan and Kira." See Example 6.


Example 6

My friend's family reunion was a success and her photographs were great. She had followed the 1-2-3 method and had a lot of photos begging to be placed in layouts that would capture the whole event. She had remembered the big, midrange, and close-up pictures?the 1-2-3 method to successful scrapbooking photography!