What is the value of a photograph tomorrow?

Determining the personal value of a photograph is a complex issue. Initially, it seems like it shouldn't cost any more than the $0.13 developing fee, but consider the relative value to the one who holds the memories. People invest their wealth in lifestyle, homes, and vehicles, yet if presented with the choice to rescue only one belonging from a catastrophe, all choose their family's "Photography Memories" knowing these are the only belongings that can never be replaced.  

So what is the value of a photograph?

  My wife and I on one of our first dates.

My wife and I on one of our first dates.

A Photograph is the only...

  • way to stop time
  • opportunity to the world through another's eyes
  • truly unique thing we can own
  • way we can relive a moment
  • thing that lasts after the wedding
  • evidence our memory was real
  My grandfather when he was young.

My grandfather when he was young.

A Photograph is a tangible connection to...

  • our past, present, and future
  • the our life experiences that make us who we are
  • the people, places, and things we care about most
  • our heritage
  • our greatest life moments
  My wife holding our newborn son.

My wife holding our newborn son.

A Photograph can...

  • never be replaced
  • say more than words
  • capture personality
  • make us remember
  • share life with others
  • show moments we may have missed
  • traverse time and space
  • bring people together
  • transcend language and culture
  My sister and I a long time ago.

My sister and I a long time ago.

A Photograph has the power to...

  • communicate knowledge, ideas, understanding, and love
  • change the world or change our world view
  • remind us of what is most important
  • elicit the strongest of human emotion
  • take us places we have never been
  • show moments we may have missed
  • strengthen the bonds we share with ones we love
  • live forever
  My daughter's first ride on a ferris wheel.

My daughter's first ride on a ferris wheel.

My friend and mentor, Skip Cohen of Skip Cohen University, always says, "With the exception of modern medicine, no career field has given society more than professional photography!

The strange thing about photographs is they always appreciate with age. So, what is the value of your photograph?

It's your story.

-JMB

© 2016 Jared M. Burns Photography

Snohomish Family Photographer & Snohomish Photographer

www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

 

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos #1

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #1 - Using Only Your Smartphone Camera

Smartphones are indeed cool and convenient, but they have a ways to come yet.  Your family summer vacations are outside the normal routine and take you on many new adventures...meaning countless complex lighting situations phone cameras cannot deal with.  Have you ever tried to use your phone to make a photo in lava tube, attempted to capture the beautiful sunset at the beach resort, or got a blurry group shot around luau table after dark? Then you know what I 'm talking about and how your smartphone just couldn't keep up.  

 Taken on an iPhone in a little morning shade. Not very good.

Taken on an iPhone in a little morning shade. Not very good.

 Let's take a closer look. Really bad.

Let's take a closer look. Really bad.

 iPhone trying to deal with low light in a tent.

iPhone trying to deal with low light in a tent.

SOLUTION:  At the risk of stating the obvious, use your real camera instead

Like you, I have been lulled into the iDevice age.  It takes considerable effort to remember the old digital-camera-thingy. Nearly all digital cameras are still better than nearly all smartphone cameras today, even the ones that boast 40 megapixels.  We can certainly argue that phone technology is getting better...but so are high definition displays. How will your phone images look on that 4K screen you have been eyeing?  Regardless which tech wins the race, I want to give my family memories the best possible chance which will never come from a built in camera smaller than a button.  In twenty years it will be irrelevant which device we made images on...no one remembers nor cares. In that day, the quality of the memory will be determined by whether or not the image even is worth viewing.

 Taken on a 12 year old camera

Taken on a 12 year old camera

  Taken on a 12 year old camera

Taken on a 12 year old camera

  Taken on a 10 year old camera

Taken on a 10 year old camera

  Taken on a 12 year old camera

Taken on a 12 year old camera

  Taken on a 3 year old camera

Taken on a 3 year old camera

  Taken on a 3 year old camera

Taken on a 3 year old camera

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer & Seattle Wedding Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos #2

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #2 - You didn't put much effort into it

We were excited to use the camera when we first got it, but remembering to always bring it soon feels like a burden.  For us, it usually goes down a little like this...

[Car is packed, kids are belted, and we just settled into our seats.]

  • [Wife]: "Did you get the camera?"
  • [Me]: "Nooo, I thought you were going to get it."
  • [Wife]: "But you're the one who takes all the pictures."
  • [Me]: "If you want me to take all the pictures, then can you go find the camera?"
  • [Wife]: "I don't want to go back and look for it."
  • [Me]: "If I have to go get it now, we are going to be late. Let's just go."
  • [Wife]: "I have my iPhone with me anyway."

Sometimes we are just camera lazy people. We don't feel motivated to be creative or intentional with the photos and opt for the path of least resistance. It results in thoughtless snapshots or absolutely no shots.

 

SOLUTION: Have a theme, make it fun

Bringing the camera is a discipline...You just have to do it. However, planing a summer photo theme is an easy way to help make it fun again. It encourages family participation toward a common photo goal. It boosts your own creative energy along the way.  Best of all, the vacation photos are much more fun to share with people when there are themes to tie everything together.

Here are some theme ideas you may steal...

  1. Take photos in a visual sequence to tell the vacation story
  2. Make at least one campfire portrait each year
  3. Hide a silly prop in shots as an Easter egg for other people to discover when they view photos later
  4. Include some fun repeating element as many photos as you can
  5. Whoever takes the funniest photo wins a prize
  6. Look for objects in your travels that are weird/quirky to build a photo collection
  7. Make a quick group shot at every landmark
  8. Spot and photograph strange signs along the way
  9. Snap a quick photo of the heritage markers then read about it in the car as you drive
  10. Make funny forced perspective pictures at all the tourist sites 
  11. Document it every time someone gets to do something new or unusual
  12. *My Favorite* Shoot with the intention to make a family vacation album each year

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer & Seattle Wedding Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos #3

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #3 - You didn't have a backup plan

Faulty memory cards and failed hard drives always happen to somebody else, right? Wrong. Data loss will happen to everyone at some point. In fact, it just happened to me on our vacation a few weeks ago and you can read all about it here.  

Here are some recent stories people have shared with me. Do any sound familiar to you?

  • Went swimming, but forgot the memory card was in my pocket
  • Put the camera and cards safely in the luggage, but the airline lost it
  • Backpack got stolen with the camera in it
  • Accidentally deleted all the photos
  • Had the camera with us on the boat, but that was the last time we remember seeing it
  • Left the camera at the restaurant, but it never made it to lost and found
  • Misplaced the memory cards at one of the hotels
  • Uploaded them to the computer, but the hard drive failed
  • Uploaded them to the laptop, but it was stolen from the hotel room
  • Totally random and unexplained data corruption

 

SOLUTION: Bring a mini backup hard drive

You would bring a backup copy of your passport so why not a backup plan for your vacation photos? Tech today makes it so simple, anybody can do it. Here are four steps to ensure your photo memories can be safe and enjoyed long after you get home.

  1. WHILE VACATIONING: Back the photos up to a small travel drive every day or two. Here are some great ones: Buffalo 1  TB Portable Mini Drive ($70), Western Digital 500 GB Portable Mini Drive ($50), Wireless Mini Backup Hard Drive w/ Backup Battery & SD Card Reader ($40)
  2. WHEN YOU GET HOME: Back up your photo files on another external drive with all your other important back up data. I use and recommend WD My Book 4 TB USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Backup ($130).
  3. NEAR-TERM: Upload your favorite memories to an online photo storage or data site. I use Drop Box because it is free and so easy to drag and drop files. You can also use Google Drive, One Drive, Box, or countless other online services.
  4. LONG-TERM:  Keep backups on your own mini server (Preferably not in your home).  Check out the 4 TB My Cloud EX2 by Western Digital ($350).

Even if you can't do all four levels of protection, PLEASE start with at least one now and move to the next level when you are ready.

Have you been the victim of data loss? There still might be a chance to save the summer vacation photos, here is what you need to do.

 

Read about the other mistakes...

-JMB

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer & Seattle Wedding Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos #4

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #4 - Not Getting Close Enough to the Moment 

If your summer photos seem like a random collection of snapshots, it might just be because you are only making snapshots. Snapshots are effortless and usually taken from afar. They include too much in the frame with no clear subject. One is left struggling to understand why the photo was taken in the first place.

SOLUTION:  Move in Even Closer

Zoom in tight with your lens or even physically use your legs to move yourself closer to the family action.  You will eliminate distractions outside of the image frame and put focus on what is most important to you.   One of the strangest things I have learned about photography is the more you focus on small details or single moments, the more complete the visual story. 

If you want to dig deeper, here is a fun book I found that can help improve personal photos no matter what kind of camera you use...

Better Photo Basics: The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Photos Like a Pro ($12.75)

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer & Seattle Wedding Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

 

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos #5

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #5 - Never appearing in your own family photos

In photography we say, "If it is not in the frame, it doesn't exist." Since you are the one reading this, much like me, you are are likely the one in the family with the passion for taking photos and making sure you appear in photos is easy to over look.

SOLUTION: Be intentional about getting in shots yourself!

You are a critical part of your family's stories. When these memories are passed down, you simply must be in them. No selfies or selfie sticks. This requires the assistance of another family member, friend, or dare I say, handing your camera to a passing stranger.

When no one else is available, use a tripod. They certainly don't have to be cumbersome. Here are a few affordable and cool tripods you will want to carry when you travel: Joby GorillaPod ($46), Pedco UltraPod ($12), or AmazonBasics 52-Inch Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod ($80).

 Tel Dan, Israel thanks to my tripod.

Tel Dan, Israel thanks to my tripod.

 Skagit Valley, WA thanks to my wife!

Skagit Valley, WA thanks to my wife!

 Zion National Park, UT thanks to my brother!

Zion National Park, UT thanks to my brother!

 Camping near Mountain Look Highway, Granite Falls, WA thanks to my tripod.

Camping near Mountain Look Highway, Granite Falls, WA thanks to my tripod.

 North Creek Park, Mill Creek, WA thanks to my wife!

North Creek Park, Mill Creek, WA thanks to my wife!

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer & Seattle Wedding Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos #6

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #6:  Disregard For Your Own Children, Photographically Speaking

Parents often act as though their perspective is the only perspective...let me explain. Millions of vacation photos each year are ruined by adults taking photos from above, looking down the children.  No matter how special the moment was, there’s nothing significant about seeing the tops of heads.

SOLUTION:  Consider who you are photographing

Consider their perspective. How can you make a photo that tells their story? It is easy, just get down to their level and try to see the world as they view it when you take the picture.  There's nothing more special than seeing it through their eyes.

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer & Seattle Wedding Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com




Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos #7

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #7 - Leaving the camera in the hotel

Has this ever happened to you? We leave the hotel for a little outing saying, “No need to bring the camera for this one.” It really just means, "I just don't want to carry it around."  Inevitably something special happens and we catch ourselves exclaiming, “Ohh, I wish I brought the camera!”  It's because life always happens in the between moments.  The unplanned events often become some of the greatest stories to share, even the defining moments of your vacation.  No camera means no photo memories.

SOLUTION:  Bring the camera anyway

Yes, bring the camera wherever you go, even when you don’t want to.  Don’t leave it in the hotel or the car.  Have it with you. Have it out.  Have it ready.  Think about all the unbelievable, amazing, and hilarious Youtube family videos that have only been made by people who remembered to bring the camera.  These unexpected moments are big part of your story and not to be missed!

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer & Seattle Wedding Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos - #8

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #8 - Using Those Faux-Filters in Apps

Unless you are posting a photo from the past, “fake vintage” is fake vintage. Just like the word “Rad” is associated with the 1980’s, before you know it, the Instagram-filter-look with lifeless desaturation and gritty-grime will be an outdated mark of the 2010’s.

SOLUTION: For the love of all that is right in the world, just STOP!!

Just say "No" to faux-filters. You will one day wish to remember life events for what they were and not be distracted by the snazzy processing. The more trendy something is, the faster it will become dated. (If it isn't already a law, it sure should be.)

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer & Seattle Wedding Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos - #9

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #9 - Taking photos in direct sunlight

So often we vacation where it is sunny and beautiful. Sunlight creates bright highlights and deep shadows and our cameras don’t have ability to make sense of such dynamic range. Worst of all, people make squinchy-scrunchy faces. It’s not pretty.

SOLUTION:  Find shade

Areas of shade are the best photo opportunities on a bright sunny day.  Look under trees and beside buildings or structures.  If none can be found, you can always make shade...just have your subjects turn their back to the sun. Their front side will no longer be exposed to the direct sun giving their faces less intense and better balanced light of their own shade.

 Shade of a building

Shade of a building

 Shade from bushes and trees

Shade from bushes and trees

 Shade created when the subject's back is to the sun

Shade created when the subject's back is to the sun

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer & Seattle Wedding Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

 

Series: Top 10 things that KILL Summer Photos - #10

Your life and memories deserve to be amazing! This series focuses on the 10 biggest mistakes that kill your summer family photos and how you can fix them.

MISTAKE #10: Having everyone stand there and smile all the time

Forced, fake smiles are awkward...you and I both know it.  Yes, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but when we look at the image later, we wish it had been more natural.

SOLUTION:  Think photojournalistic

Vacation is about life together so think like a photojournalist and document the real moments as they happen.  There are still times and a places for posed photos, but have fun with them.  Let people be themselves.  Catch a moment. Tell a joke and snap the photo when they laugh.  I have heard rumor of “certain noises” that can crack even the most stoic and uncooperative of children.

 Keegan sits atop a sand dune - Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID

Keegan sits atop a sand dune - Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID

 Ella hiking with her puppy at the Three Patriarchs, Zion National Park, UT

Ella hiking with her puppy at the Three Patriarchs, Zion National Park, UT

 More sand than they know what to do with -  B  runeau D  unes State P  ark, ID

More sand than they know what to do with - Bruneau Dunes State Park, ID

© 2015 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer & Seattle Wedding Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

 

Welcome Keegan

On January 25th we welcomed our new baby boy Keegan into the world!  We have created a special slide show to share with you of the experience! PLEASE NOTE: Jared M. Burns Photography will be open for bookings and consultations during our Paternity/Maternity Leave in the month of February, however photography sessions are on hold until March 1, 2012. Please contact us at (206) 659-7468 if you have an urgent photography need.

-JMB

© 2012 Jared M. Burns Photography
Seattle Wedding Photographer & Snohomish Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

Five Holiday Gift Ideas for Advanced Photographers

PART 3: Five of the hottest 2010 Holiday Gift ideas for the Advanced photographers in your life. Keyboard Shortcut Skins ($30 - $40)

Keyboard short cuts save time and increase efficiency.  Of course everyone already knows all the short cuts for all the unique commands in all the highly specialized editing programs, right??  Now owners of Mac Commuters can with an overlay cheat sheet on the keyboard.  Skins are available for Photoshop, Aperture, Final Cut, Pro Tools, After Effects, Logic Pro, and Lightroom.

Datacolor Spyder3 Monitor Calibrator

Do you think all monitors look the same?  Think again!  What is your standard for color checking?  If you think you can judge it by your monitor, then you are in for a world of color heartache.  The only way you can get consistent color is to calibrate your monitor to an industry standard with the Spyder3.

Spyder3 Express ($70)    |     Spyder3 Pro ($130)

Honl Flash Modifiers ($9 – $30)

For anyone who is excited about off camera flash and expanding their creative options, this is the perfect Modifier accessory system.  Each piece can be bought separately at an average of $30.  There are many options including Gogos, Snoots, Grids, Reflectors, and Diffusers

WACOM Bamboo Pen & Touch Tablet ($62)

Bring the fine touch and technique of drawing and painting into the editing process.  This tool is ideal for programs like Photoshop, Lightroom, or Aperture that are very dependent on organic movements which can sometime be limiting by mouse.  It is such an improvement; some have even been known to ditch their mouse altogether!

Black Rapid Camera Strap ($55)

The camera strap of all camera straps!  This is ideal for any photographer who is on the move and likes to feel free.  Its sling design is not only great for comfort and but most notable for its speed and ease of use.  It is also an expandable system that can be adapted to fit most any shooting style.

-JMB

© 2010 Jared M. Burns Photography
Seattle Wedding Photographer & Snohomish Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com

A 2010 Holiday Gift Guide for Beginner Photographers

PART 2: A holiday gift guide of creative ideas in 2010 that are sure to please the beginner photographers.

 

Joby Gorillapod Flexible Tripod with Ball Head ($55)

This is the most portable tripod ever created and perfect for the active, high paced photographer.  This little monster will cling, grip, or wrap itself to almost anything, anywhere!  It provides strong stabilization, yet is small enough to fit in almost any bag.

Kata E

Kata E Camera Strap ($17)

Any photographer knows the easiest way to spot a “newbie” is by the manufacturer strap they are sporting.  The strap that came with the camera was designed for a 4’ tall hunchback who likes hosting free advertising around his neck.  Its also made of slipperiest material ensuring the camera will find the quickest, most efficient route to the ground.  Save the photographer, save the camera, and save the strain on their neck and back…buy them a real strap.  The Kata E Camera Strap is so affordable, yet solves so many problems that the photographer will thank you for years to come!

5-in-1

5-in-1 Collapsible Disc Reflector ($28)

This is a photographer’s “go-to” light modifier for almost any situation.  Made of Translucent, White, Black, Silver, and Gold materials, its design yields many creative solutions to almost any lighting challenge.  It is ideal for any photographer who enjoys taking portraits.

50mm

50 mm 1.8 Prime Lens ($90-$109)

This is one of the best lenses you can buy at this price point.  It seems is a low cost item, but that is only because  it has fewer high quality glass elements.  This it a great lens for capturing the indoor family moments and overcoming challenges of many low light situations.

Canon 50mm ($94)     |     Nikon 50mm ($109)

iPad Camera Connection Kit ($29)

This one is for the Apple buffs out there!  Use your iPad as, not only an instant way to share and view photos you have just taken, but also as a portable backup device.  This is the answer to one of the iPad’s short sights and wonderful way to let the camera tap into the beauty of iPad’s interactive display capability.

Brando Lighting Kit ($88)

The coolness factor and versatility of this light modification kit is indescribable!  Used by many professionals, this is a complete and innovative arsenal of creative lighting power.  It is a great way to begin to explore light and almost all the solutions a portrait photographer would ever need.

-JMB

© 2010 Jared M. Burns Photography
Seattle Wedding Photographer & Snohomish Photographer
www.jaredmburns.com | 206.659.7468 | info@jaredmburns.com