6 Simple ways to take more meaningful everyday photos
If there is one thing that being a parent has thought me, it is that life goes by very fast. I was looking at a few photos I had taken of my daughter and was shocked when I realized that the photo was two years old. It felt like it had only been a few months since I snapped those pictures! I’m a dad of three littles and work as a manager of a local non-profit in the Columbus, OH metro area. It is so easy to just fly through life, forgetting or missing everyday moments that truly make life meaningful.
Two years ago, when I moved to Columbus, I realized I needed to reinvent and rediscover my photography. I grew up in Seattle, lived all over the PNW. Landscape photography is my first love and what I enjoyed taking photos of most. However, living in an area without oceans or mountains readily available has forced me to rethink things. In doing so, I’ve started to focus on trying to make everyday moments memorable and meaningful through the art of photography.
I have fallen in love with photography again. Taking everyday photos has allowed me to capture today’s moments for tomorrow’s enjoyment. This style of photography has helped to produce in me a grounded, thankful, and present disposition as I live through moments that might otherwise feel mundane.
I know many people want to take more photos but never get around to capturing as many everyday moments as they would like. I wanted to write about some tips and pointers that helped me capture more meaningful photos of everyday living. Whether you have children, pets, roommates, or just want to capture the daily moments that make life enjoyable, I hope you find this article to be helpful.
1) Go Mirrorless
One of the reasons why I love the Fujifilm camera system is that all of their camera bodies and most of their lenses are portable and light. I predominately shoot with my Fujifilm X-T4 and Fujifilm XF10. These cameras are light and easy to carry around. The Fujifilm X-T4 is light enough to carry around on walks and daily activities with my children.
The XF10 is pocketable for those times when I don’t even want to carry around my X-T4. The XF10 has CMOS sensor, so it packs quite a punch for a camera with such a small body. I’ve found that the more portable my setup, the more likely I am are to carry it around and take photos.
2) Use Wide Primes
Okay, so that is a bit counter-intuitive for many people. My two go-to lenses are the Fujifilm 23mm 1.4 and Fujifilm 16mm 1.4. These lenses allow me to stay close to my kids while still capturing beautifully sharp photos with creamy bokeh. These Fujifilm lenses have minimal distortion, and the little distortion they do produce actually enhances photos of kids, pets, and everyday details.
For instance, the 16mm photos help to slightly enlarge my infant son’s eye, which makes for cuter baby photos. Secondarily, these wide lenses allow me to be close to my kids. I can sit near them at the table, or playing on the floor. This closeness helps to produce a genuine and joyful feel to my photos that would be much harder to replicate if I was standing farther away.
3) Find A Safe But Open Space For Storing Your Camera
I have a bar-top counter that is high enough to keep things away from my kids, but available enough to quickly grab my camera while eating dinner or working on activities with my kids. It also allows me to take a few photos here and there as I see opportunity. I then can put the camera away until I need it again.
This quick access has encouraged me to take more photos than I would have if I had to go to my camera bag, unzip it, rummage through it to grab the camera, and use it. The camera’s visual presence also serves to remind me to take more photos. When I have a few minutes with the kids instead of just sitting down and reading a book or surfing through Instagram, I can take 5-10 photos.
4) Edit On Mobile
This has by far been one of the things that have allowed me to enjoy more photography. Again Fujifilm is awesome because I can transmit photos via Bluetooth to my phone from both the X-T4 and XF10. I also purchased SD card readers with lightning and USB-C adaption.
These card readers have allowed me to take 30-40 photos while doing something fun with the kids and then quickly load them onto my iPhone or iPad to edit them. I can sit next to my kids while they are coloring, take a few photos, transfer them to my phone, cull the images, edit them, and post 2-3 in a matter of minutes.
I store and edit most of my photos on Lightroom CC. I have this app on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. All the images sync and I can edit anything and everything everywhere. I have a few presets that I often use and all of those sync up across my devices. I then can export the images to VSCO on both my iPad and iPhone for framing and a preset or two.
5) Shoot JPEG (or Raw + JPEG)
Full disclosure. I am a RAW junky. It has taken me years to grow comfortable enough to predominantly shoot and edit JPEGs. Fujifilm again shines here. The JPEGs that Fuji cameras produce are amazing and often only require me to edit the images slightly. I currently have my camera shoot both Raw + JPEG. I use the JPEGs 95% of the time.
On the rare occasion that editing a JPEG won’t work I can use the RAW file. This focus on JPEG has also allowed me to take more photos and keep more photos. JPEG images are so much smaller than RAW, so I end up taking and storing 2-3 times as more photos. JPEGs also allow me to transfer them to mobile faster and easier.
6) Be Patient
One of the skills that I have worked on and continue to work on is my framing. Often I will sit with my kids and frame up a shot. Then I take my face away from the camera and interact with my children. When the moment is right, or the expression on their face is perfect, I snap the photo. I’ve found that about one out of every 3-4 of these images is what I want. But, when I am patient, I usually end up snapping a few that I absolutely love.
I hope that these 6 tips and ideas help you take more everyday photos. If you feel overwhelmed by 6 options, just try 1-2 of these and see if they help you take more photos so you can capture and enjoy those meaningful everyday moments. If you wanted to try a few of these but don’t know where to start, I would start with #4 Mobile editing and #3 easy access.
Happy shooting! I hope you discover the joy of capturing everyday meaningful memories!
“My name is Jeremy Piehler. I’m the husband of Ronnie and dad of Elaine, Bennett, and Henry. I was raised in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve lived all over the west coast, and I currently work and live in Columbus, Ohio. I have used and loved Fujifilm cameras since 2015.”