Take Good Photos Of Loved Ones

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This post won’t teach you much, it’s meant as a reminder. A reminder to take good photos.

Right now you are likely reading this post on your home computer or work computer or maybe even a phone or tablet. I would put odds that 99% of you are going about a fairly routine day and are no more than 20 miles from your home. You’ll likely see your family at some point today and maybe even some friends if you’re lucky. As you are reading this blog post, life is probably pretty decent and maybe comfortable.

It’s that comfort that lures us away from thinking ahead, to what we want from now, in the future.

A good friend of mine passed away this month but this isn’t about her or me. It’s about you and your family and friends.

You see, as I am processing the grief, I did what many of us do; I went back through old photos, searching for happier times. Big smiles. Days at the beach. The fun stuff to dull the pain.

And I found it (friendly reminder: BACKUP YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!). A day spent filing through 150,000 images in Lightroom and what I found were 212 images of my friend. I had many more from the days before digital.

I’m not looking for pity nor sorrow. Life really is good.

I’m typing tonight to remind you of how fleeting life can be and of the gift we have to freeze moments with our cameras. You probably haven’t taken a picture of your loved ones in a while, or maybe you have. The constant hum of daily life often blocks out the reminders to realize how fortunate we are.

One thing about which I’m kicking myself tonight (but not too hard) is that I didn’t take better pictures of my friend. I am happy with the images and memories that are contained therein. But I think back to her last birthday when she most likely would not have wanted a studio shot taken (although she always was very smiley).

At the time I thought, “Oh, this point and shoot I’m testing will work okay.” Well, not every shot was in focus and there are plenty of red eyes. It’s better than nothing.

But I wish I had gone to my room, grabbed my expensive camera and flash and taken one solid portrait of her that day. For her family, for her friends, for me. And that leads me to today’s reminder and tip:

Take Good Photos Of Loved Ones

At your next family gathering, bring your best camera and your best lens. The next time you go out for drinks with a friend you haven’t seen in five months, bring your camera. Take the photos you normally take, the full body ones, the campy ones, the highly posed ones. But also make an effort to snap one solid portrait. Natalie has a good post on helping take natural looking portraits.

Not just okay photos, but one good photo of your loved ones, at least once a year. Take the time.

Photos Are Cathartic

One day someone you love will no longer be here and all you will have are the memories. I know this sounds obvious, but we often forget it in our day to day lives.

Their friends and their family will be happy to have a good photo to remember them by. It’s those photos of happier times that can help us along the process of working through our tears. It’s been a week and I’m preparing images to share with friends. While there are still tears, there is more joy in my heart when I look at those photos.

Time heals. Photos help too.

You just have to remember to cherish your time with those you love. And once in a while, remember to take a good portrait for when they aren’t so close.

———–

In loving memory of Sheri.

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Peter West Carey leads photo tours and workshops in Nepal, Bhutan, Costa Rica, Panama, Alaska, Seattle and Los Angeles. He is also the creator of 31 Days to Better Photography & 31 Days of Photography Experiments, web-based tutorials taking curious photographers on a fun ride through the basics of learning photography.

  • This is absolutely a high priority post. Thanks for writing. 90% of my photos are of my close friends, family, and mostly my children. And this post reminds me to continue to shoot them. I now have 3 young daughters and the youngest has the fewest memorable photos. I really need to sit down and concentrate on getting more studio type (and natural) shots of her because I am naturally drawn to my older girls who are easier to work with. If something were to happen to my infant, I’d be kicking myself for not having more of her.

    Thanks again.

  • Mark Woolridge

    Don’t forget to have someone take a picture of you to. If you are always the photographer there wont’ be many pics of you for your loved ones.

  • What an honest and relevant post. I was moved.

  • I created 2 videos of both of my kids by taking a photo a day for 1 year. Since then I try to always take great shots of the family.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvyxUfY-EUk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfCnYHLvhKI

  • Thank you for such a thoughtful reminder, we lost my father in-law almost a year ago and we couldn’t find too many pictures of him after his passing. We just get busy with life and forget to take a moment and make history last. As a photographer I feel guilty for never making the effort of take a simple portrait of a person that is no longer with us.

    Mike

  • I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this important advice during a difficult personal time. It’s true that we all get busy. It’s a paradox that those closest to us are sometimes the ones we fail to photograph often enough.

  • Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, and i agree about taking good photo’s of Friends and Family…
    they are great to look back on, and also even to make slideshows to remember them.

    when My grandad passed away nearly 2 years ago, I made a video of photo’s and showed it at his funeral, created from scanned photos and digital photo’s. from his wedding, childhood up to a few photos from the Christmas a couple weeks before he died.

    I was glad that i did take photo’s on that christmas day, because that was the last time i saw him alive.
    I cried while making the video and the song i used as backgroud certainly matched it. every time i play it, it still brings a tear to my eye.

    if anyone wants to watch it, it’s on You Tube. watch it here: http://youtu.be/TfTCSu6_TOk

  • First of all, I am so sorry for your loss.

    As many people I guess, a large majority of the photos I take are photos of my family and friends and I often have in mind that these will be the best memories we (my family, friends and me) will have of each other. But sometimes I get lazy, leave the camera in its bag, thinking that I would get other occasions to take photos. You just reminded me that this was a huge mistake!

    Thank you for sharing this reminder!

  • Great reminder, too, as we are entering fall and the holidays approach. For many of us, this is when we have our one chance a year to capture those important photos. I agree with Jason above…. we often are so close to our family, we overlook the most important people in our lives because it seems so obvious. We’ll take great pains to photograph a mere acquaintance, or a perfect stranger,but we’ll have only grab-and-go snapshots of those we love the most. Touching post–thanks, Peter.

  • My thoughts go out to you and all in your circle. You’ve convinced me to do this. A while back my daughter spent time with friends and took my little Hi 8 camcorder along. Shortly after, one of her friends passed away and she had the last images and words. It was played over and over by the family.
    Thanks, Peter

  • Thank you for the reminder. My condolences go out to you.

  • Med

    That’s very “funy” because I’m currently working on a portrait project of my closest friends. I rencently realized that we were taking less and less shots of the group, and I thought it was a shame!
    Good article then!

  • Rick

    At least post of pic of her 🙂 Sorry for your loss and thank you for the article. I don’t take the care I should when I photograph family members. Everyday they are there so I get lulled into a sense of complancency. I think your next article should be on how to go about capturing great everyday moments of family life. How do I find the inspiration to photograph people I see day in and day out? This has to be one of the toughest assignments out there. I mean really, most of the time, they are wearing “comfortable” clothing, look disheveled and doing unflattering things or they know you are stalking them and they act goofy (even more so). Again, sorry for your loss.

  • I loved this post. I posted about this on my blog (see this post: http://tammyeggenphotography.blogspot.com/search/label/A%20Gift%20for%20a%20family%27s%20loss). I just happened to feel the urge to snap a few pics of my sister in law’s family and 7 days later, their sweet grandma died, I also got pictures of their son, who 7 months later, died. When in doubt take more pictures. You can’t go back and get the ones that got away and our families mean the most to us. We get tired of always being the photographer but remember that it is our gift and we should share it more often. Thanks for the reminder!!!

  • Dave Rogers

    When a child on my son’s baseball team died in an accident during a game, I went to my stored pictures. I found a shot with him in uniform on a knee, medal around his neck and a trophy at his feet.

    The photo was placed at the head of the casket.

    I made a point of taking portrait-ish pictures of the team members a couple of weeks later.

    I’m sorry for your loss. I’m glad that you have memories that you can share.

  • Duncan G.

    Our son turned 50 last year , as a gift I made up all the photos I had of him since childhood.. mounted them on a DVD and gave them to him for his 50 th birthday .. was he ever surprised . Yes I believe in good decent photo and back-up.. Oh one other thing we had trouble with … aging the photos .. my wife came thru most of the time .. remembering what cloths our son was wearing and when / where he on holiday . Duncan G.

  • Darren

    Fantastic post. So touching in fact that I copied and posted on my FB page. Thank you for the lovely reminder.

  • Condolences for your loss…I’m so glad you found all those wonderful photos. And you hit the nail on the head with this post. We should all know this but we get so comfortable or busy or stressed out from everyday life, we totally forget. I believe I’ll be getting my 96 years-young mom in front of the lens now!

  • Sorry to hear about your loss. You made a very good point here! Sometimes we are looking to take better photographs or to improve our photography and forget about the importance of photographing our loved ones since we take it for granted that they will always be there with us.

  • Sandra Smith

    thanks for your article .it’s so true.I recently did a slideshow of my Dad who passed away a few weeks ago and it is a great healing process to go through your photos.My Dad used to get annoyed with me taking photos all the time,then he got used to it and I’m really glad because I had some nice photos of him to share with family and friends.Sorry about your recent loss.

  • Thanks for the post and reminder Peter. So sorry for your loss. Just wanted you to know that your posts are very helpful and love your site as well.

    Thanks again,

    Kevin

  • Pat

    I am so sorry for your loss…however your comment was very touching…We sometimes get so caught up in ttrying to take “the picture” that we sometimes forget the ones closess to us..maybe we take it for granted that they will always be here..thanks for your article, i plan on taking more family and friend shots from now on..

  • Charlene

    I am so sorry for your loss. Losing someone is never easy.

    As for me – I “am” the family photographer. Everyone is always complaining that I am constantly taking pictures of them…but like you said here, you just never know if that will be the last picture of someone you’ll ever take. (and now that I have a much better camera and lens to work with, I take it with me wherever I go). When my dad passed away, my family was blown away by the number and QUALITY of the photographs that I had in my albums. We made beautiful memorial boards (now most funeral homes have digital displays) from these photos. Thank goodness that I never listened when they said “put that camera away”. Thanks for the support and reminder. Take care/charlene

  • Andrea Boyle

    I love your post today… You have touched on a very hearfelt thought that might help all of us at some point. I found a great way to get through grieving over the death of my father was by going through family photos and making a collage for the memorial. It ended up being a travel through time for me and because it took a deal of time to pull together, very satisfying and soothing. I have it displayed in my photography room right now to digitize before putting it into storage for awhile.

    Thanks for the great reminder and my deepest condolencesto you for the loss of your friend. I am closer to some of my friends than to my own family…

  • gabriela

    I know exactly what you mean.
    Last year 1 of my best friends passed away & my mom a couple of months ago & I’m relieved to have good pictures of them.

    Those photos help you heal & as time goes by they make you feel “close” to them.

  • Joan Anne

    I haven’t had a camera for long but thank goodness for the pictures I’ve taken of my family. I’ve actually taken some good ones and thank goodness as my niece died suddenly three weeks ago and left two young children without a mother. We are all devastated but I had plently of photos to share at the funeral and I’ve put them on DVD to remember her. We are all heartbroken but I managed to take some lovely shots of her and her sons, husband and mother. Her husband has thanked me and said he wouldn’t have many if not for my constant photo taking of all my family. Joan Anne

  • Sudeep

    I feel this discussion is also true when your friends & kids go away on job pursuits, the photographs will be a reminder of good times you had. Off course untill you meet again.

  • Mercey

    What a touching post, I have done a journal myself of my pregnancy through to birth and now my son’s life, http://www.flickr.com/photos/gothic-mermaid/sets/72157631462735726/
    At first people thought I was daft, but now they realize how precious it is, to have this reminder of a time so short, as they grow so fast,
    but reading this article has made me think, my childs journal is a memory, but I have very few of my family, my friends, if they were to be gone tomorrow, I would have nothing to look back on, I am going to make a massive change and make sure I will
    My thoughts are with you at the loss of a dear friend

  • Tim Cripe

    You don’t always think about this situation when you are younger. I am at the age where many family members have long since left this world and photos of them are like gold nuggets. Thanks for a great article with a very important point.

  • Paul McNulty

    When my mum died three years ago, we couldn’t decided which photo to use for the funeral pamphlet, so we printed 120 different photos of her (expecting approx that number to attend the funeral) and attached them to the pamphlet. We saw people loving the random one they were given, some swapping with others, many checking out the different photos of nearby attendees. Worked really well.

    Also, out son was killed at 18 yo in a car crash in 2006 and one of the best photos was taken with a canon p&s A75 (before I had a DSLR). Taken outside and filled in with it’s little flash! Thank heavens we had just bought a 350D in 06 and were playing around with DOF with him as the subject just months before he was killed.

  • Kheeran D

    Hi Peter

    Thank you for writing this very sound advice. I could not agree with you more on how important it is to capture those precious moments we share with our loved ones. They last but a moment and if we miss them we may never get a second chance to capture them in to a memory.

    Like you Peter I know this first hand… I lost my 4 year old daughter only a few months ago. Today I am so thankful that I had taken the time to capture those moments that were special to us. I will never get another chance to create those memories of her, or of when our family was a unit of four.

    The photographs I cherish the most are the ones where I captured the everyday life, her lying on the mother watching TV, her making a mess cooking, or playing with the brother… and the ones where I managed to capture the essence of who she was, her spirit, her laughter, her cheekiness… these are the photographs that bring so much joy (and sadness) whenever I see them. While I would have settled for even a bad photograph, I am very glad that many of the photographs I have of her are good photos.

    The experience of loosing a child taught me how fragile life is.. that we should not take anything for granted and never hesitate or be lazy or preoccupied to do what is important in life… because you may never get a second chance at it.

    Kheeran

  • belle

    I am so sorry for your loss! This post brought me to tears. I just recently lost a good friend too and I put up a picture of her on my facebook page. I dont have lots of pictures of her because I live in a different continent and I seldom go home to visit. But when I do go home, I make sure to take lots and lots of pictures (not good portrait ones though). And that was the last time I’ve seen her, 2 years ago. Thank you for the reminder!

  • William

    Hi Peter
    I am very sorry for your loss. Excellent article and a great reminder I lost my daughter six month ago to cancer she was 38 years old . I am taking photos every opportunity I can. I am lucky that they all enjoy to be photographed (big family two daughter and two sons and lots of grandchildren and friends). But I tend to leave a good studio photo for tomorrow !.
    Thank you for the reminder I will rest for a very little time my compact camera and bring out the big ones

    William

  • Linda

    We recently lost our GodDaughter to Cancer. Her last request was that she be allowed to go home to die, and to have lots of friends and family come visit. For two days, she lay in her favorite room in their house. Sadly she stayed asleep from the pain meds oat of that time. Her husband purchased an 8 x 10 digital picture frame and filled it with fun photos of her. As a multitude of friends came by to see her – even though they could not talk with her – they were so blessed as they watched the photos and reminisced about the fun times. What an awesome idea! They also had placed picture albums around the room, where friends could sit and look at literally hundreds of pictures from thirty years of her life. It sure made a sad time more bearable.
    I have spent my life avoiding the camera. Your post has reminded me, yet again, how sad it could be for my loved ones when I am gone. I am going to start jumping in front of the camera every chance I get.
    Thanks for your touching post. I’m so glad you have those precious photos of your friend.

  • Subhash Puri

    Extremely sorry to hear the loss. Hope God will give u the strength to bear the loss. Thanks for sharing the great article. You have really given us photographers the sense to take lots and lots of snaps of your family and loved ones. One really has no control over the ultimate bitter truth of life. It is these good snaps that keep us connected with the ones we have lost. Your article will always keep reminding me that I should keep clicking. Thanks once again for sharing.

  • Luii

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  • Marina

    Such wise words. I am the one with the camera, always trying to get photos of everyone, not always succeeding, the neices and nephews are cooperative till they hit the teens, then not so much, but they know I will perservere! We lost my Dad suddenly three years ago, and within a week everyone of those kids were on the phone to me looking for photos of them with their Grandad. Now, they pose for whatever photo I ask for. My sister in law followed my advice and took lots of photos of her, her kids and her sisters kids with their Poppy, her Dad, two years later he was gone, those photos are treasured. Don’t just take of the individuals, take photos of them with those they love too.

  • Pene Stevens

    i lost my dad earlier this month … i dont have a lot of photos of him, but even though he was quite ill, he still posed for me for a project i’m doing … i’m so glad i got that shot when i did, instead of waiting for him to get well again….
    and after he passed, he looked so peaceful, my mum asked me to take a photo of him – it was really hard, but i’m glad i did. 🙂

  • Thank you so much for sharing!! Sorry for the loss of your friend! This is a topic I feel passionately about, mostly because I get anxious that people will be gone and we will start to forget what they were like, as if they were never here. I’m definitely a beginner photographer, but starting to get the confidence to try and capture more quality photos of my friends and family, in a range of scenarios.

    I’m currently in my home town, on holiday, for my Dad’s 70th birthday. I wanted to take some time to get some better shots of my parents with my new camera instead of adding to the collection of poor candid photos taken of them over the years (by me and by everyone else). I tried to apply some of the principles I have learned from this site. The bright sunlight was a particular challenge for me, but we waited it out a little and got some better shots in the shade. I can’t say the results were amazing in a professional sense, but they’re much better than anything else we have, and I know that I will cherish them long after my parents are gone. Hopefully I can add to the collection at Christmas, and again next year, and so on. We never know how long we will have this gift of life. Every moment is precious!

  • Awesome! 🙂 I love this. What a great project!

  • Chris

    I really love all these posts here on DPS. Although you said, this post won´t teach us much, it teaches us more than any post about aperture, iso and so on.

    Thanks for sharing!

Some Older Comments

  • Marina July 26, 2013 09:58 am

    Such wise words. I am the one with the camera, always trying to get photos of everyone, not always succeeding, the neices and nephews are cooperative till they hit the teens, then not so much, but they know I will perservere! We lost my Dad suddenly three years ago, and within a week everyone of those kids were on the phone to me looking for photos of them with their Grandad. Now, they pose for whatever photo I ask for. My sister in law followed my advice and took lots of photos of her, her kids and her sisters kids with their Poppy, her Dad, two years later he was gone, those photos are treasured. Don't just take of the individuals, take photos of them with those they love too.

  • Luii February 5, 2013 04:54 am

    I found this website to be extremely helpful! Check it out!

    http://b96dbbv4nz2brblykexc2tcsdy.hop.clickbank.net/

  • Subhash Puri October 7, 2012 06:57 am

    Extremely sorry to hear the loss. Hope God will give u the strength to bear the loss. Thanks for sharing the great article. You have really given us photographers the sense to take lots and lots of snaps of your family and loved ones. One really has no control over the ultimate bitter truth of life. It is these good snaps that keep us connected with the ones we have lost. Your article will always keep reminding me that I should keep clicking. Thanks once again for sharing.

  • Linda September 30, 2012 08:19 am

    We recently lost our GodDaughter to Cancer. Her last request was that she be allowed to go home to die, and to have lots of friends and family come visit. For two days, she lay in her favorite room in their house. Sadly she stayed asleep from the pain meds oat of that time. Her husband purchased an 8 x 10 digital picture frame and filled it with fun photos of her. As a multitude of friends came by to see her - even though they could not talk with her - they were so blessed as they watched the photos and reminisced about the fun times. What an awesome idea! They also had placed picture albums around the room, where friends could sit and look at literally hundreds of pictures from thirty years of her life. It sure made a sad time more bearable.
    I have spent my life avoiding the camera. Your post has reminded me, yet again, how sad it could be for my loved ones when I am gone. I am going to start jumping in front of the camera every chance I get.
    Thanks for your touching post. I'm so glad you have those precious photos of your friend.

  • William September 29, 2012 06:35 pm

    Hi Peter
    I am very sorry for your loss. Excellent article and a great reminder I lost my daughter six month ago to cancer she was 38 years old . I am taking photos every opportunity I can. I am lucky that they all enjoy to be photographed (big family two daughter and two sons and lots of grandchildren and friends). But I tend to leave a good studio photo for tomorrow !.
    Thank you for the reminder I will rest for a very little time my compact camera and bring out the big ones

    William

  • belle September 29, 2012 09:00 am

    I am so sorry for your loss! This post brought me to tears. I just recently lost a good friend too and I put up a picture of her on my facebook page. I dont have lots of pictures of her because I live in a different continent and I seldom go home to visit. But when I do go home, I make sure to take lots and lots of pictures (not good portrait ones though). And that was the last time I've seen her, 2 years ago. Thank you for the reminder!

  • Kheeran D September 28, 2012 10:18 pm

    Hi Peter

    Thank you for writing this very sound advice. I could not agree with you more on how important it is to capture those precious moments we share with our loved ones. They last but a moment and if we miss them we may never get a second chance to capture them in to a memory.

    Like you Peter I know this first hand... I lost my 4 year old daughter only a few months ago. Today I am so thankful that I had taken the time to capture those moments that were special to us. I will never get another chance to create those memories of her, or of when our family was a unit of four.

    The photographs I cherish the most are the ones where I captured the everyday life, her lying on the mother watching TV, her making a mess cooking, or playing with the brother... and the ones where I managed to capture the essence of who she was, her spirit, her laughter, her cheekiness... these are the photographs that bring so much joy (and sadness) whenever I see them. While I would have settled for even a bad photograph, I am very glad that many of the photographs I have of her are good photos.

    The experience of loosing a child taught me how fragile life is.. that we should not take anything for granted and never hesitate or be lazy or preoccupied to do what is important in life... because you may never get a second chance at it.

    Kheeran

  • Paul McNulty September 28, 2012 08:47 pm

    When my mum died three years ago, we couldn't decided which photo to use for the funeral pamphlet, so we printed 120 different photos of her (expecting approx that number to attend the funeral) and attached them to the pamphlet. We saw people loving the random one they were given, some swapping with others, many checking out the different photos of nearby attendees. Worked really well.

    Also, out son was killed at 18 yo in a car crash in 2006 and one of the best photos was taken with a canon p&s A75 (before I had a DSLR). Taken outside and filled in with it's little flash! Thank heavens we had just bought a 350D in 06 and were playing around with DOF with him as the subject just months before he was killed.

  • Tim Cripe September 28, 2012 06:41 pm

    You don't always think about this situation when you are younger. I am at the age where many family members have long since left this world and photos of them are like gold nuggets. Thanks for a great article with a very important point.

  • Mercey September 28, 2012 06:22 pm

    What a touching post, I have done a journal myself of my pregnancy through to birth and now my son's life, http://www.flickr.com/photos/gothic-mermaid/sets/72157631462735726/
    At first people thought I was daft, but now they realize how precious it is, to have this reminder of a time so short, as they grow so fast,
    but reading this article has made me think, my childs journal is a memory, but I have very few of my family, my friends, if they were to be gone tomorrow, I would have nothing to look back on, I am going to make a massive change and make sure I will
    My thoughts are with you at the loss of a dear friend

  • Sudeep September 28, 2012 06:16 pm

    I feel this discussion is also true when your friends & kids go away on job pursuits, the photographs will be a reminder of good times you had. Off course untill you meet again.

  • Joan Anne September 28, 2012 04:07 pm

    I haven't had a camera for long but thank goodness for the pictures I've taken of my family. I've actually taken some good ones and thank goodness as my niece died suddenly three weeks ago and left two young children without a mother. We are all devastated but I had plently of photos to share at the funeral and I've put them on DVD to remember her. We are all heartbroken but I managed to take some lovely shots of her and her sons, husband and mother. Her husband has thanked me and said he wouldn't have many if not for my constant photo taking of all my family. Joan Anne

  • gabriela September 28, 2012 02:40 pm

    I know exactly what you mean.
    Last year 1 of my best friends passed away & my mom a couple of months ago & I'm relieved to have good pictures of them.

    Those photos help you heal & as time goes by they make you feel "close" to them.

  • Andrea Boyle September 28, 2012 01:20 pm

    I love your post today... You have touched on a very hearfelt thought that might help all of us at some point. I found a great way to get through grieving over the death of my father was by going through family photos and making a collage for the memorial. It ended up being a travel through time for me and because it took a deal of time to pull together, very satisfying and soothing. I have it displayed in my photography room right now to digitize before putting it into storage for awhile.

    Thanks for the great reminder and my deepest condolencesto you for the loss of your friend. I am closer to some of my friends than to my own family...

  • Charlene September 28, 2012 01:03 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. Losing someone is never easy.

    As for me - I "am" the family photographer. Everyone is always complaining that I am constantly taking pictures of them...but like you said here, you just never know if that will be the last picture of someone you'll ever take. (and now that I have a much better camera and lens to work with, I take it with me wherever I go). When my dad passed away, my family was blown away by the number and QUALITY of the photographs that I had in my albums. We made beautiful memorial boards (now most funeral homes have digital displays) from these photos. Thank goodness that I never listened when they said "put that camera away". Thanks for the support and reminder. Take care/charlene

  • Pat September 28, 2012 12:41 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss...however your comment was very touching...We sometimes get so caught up in ttrying to take "the picture" that we sometimes forget the ones closess to us..maybe we take it for granted that they will always be here..thanks for your article, i plan on taking more family and friend shots from now on..

  • Kevin Stacey September 28, 2012 11:31 am

    Thanks for the post and reminder Peter. So sorry for your loss. Just wanted you to know that your posts are very helpful and love your site as well.

    Thanks again,

    Kevin

  • Sandra Smith September 28, 2012 09:21 am

    thanks for your article .it's so true.I recently did a slideshow of my Dad who passed away a few weeks ago and it is a great healing process to go through your photos.My Dad used to get annoyed with me taking photos all the time,then he got used to it and I'm really glad because I had some nice photos of him to share with family and friends.Sorry about your recent loss.

  • Felix Attard September 28, 2012 06:56 am

    Sorry to hear about your loss. You made a very good point here! Sometimes we are looking to take better photographs or to improve our photography and forget about the importance of photographing our loved ones since we take it for granted that they will always be there with us.

  • Helene September 28, 2012 03:51 am

    Condolences for your loss...I'm so glad you found all those wonderful photos. And you hit the nail on the head with this post. We should all know this but we get so comfortable or busy or stressed out from everyday life, we totally forget. I believe I'll be getting my 96 years-young mom in front of the lens now!

  • Darren September 28, 2012 02:57 am

    Fantastic post. So touching in fact that I copied and posted on my FB page. Thank you for the lovely reminder.

  • Duncan G. September 28, 2012 02:45 am

    Our son turned 50 last year , as a gift I made up all the photos I had of him since childhood.. mounted them on a DVD and gave them to him for his 50 th birthday .. was he ever surprised . Yes I believe in good decent photo and back-up.. Oh one other thing we had trouble with ... aging the photos .. my wife came thru most of the time .. remembering what cloths our son was wearing and when / where he on holiday . Duncan G.

  • Dave Rogers September 28, 2012 01:20 am

    When a child on my son's baseball team died in an accident during a game, I went to my stored pictures. I found a shot with him in uniform on a knee, medal around his neck and a trophy at his feet.

    The photo was placed at the head of the casket.

    I made a point of taking portrait-ish pictures of the team members a couple of weeks later.

    I'm sorry for your loss. I'm glad that you have memories that you can share.

  • Tammy Eggen September 27, 2012 06:50 am

    I loved this post. I posted about this on my blog (see this post: http://tammyeggenphotography.blogspot.com/search/label/A%20Gift%20for%20a%20family%27s%20loss). I just happened to feel the urge to snap a few pics of my sister in law's family and 7 days later, their sweet grandma died, I also got pictures of their son, who 7 months later, died. When in doubt take more pictures. You can't go back and get the ones that got away and our families mean the most to us. We get tired of always being the photographer but remember that it is our gift and we should share it more often. Thanks for the reminder!!!

  • Rick September 27, 2012 03:14 am

    At least post of pic of her :) Sorry for your loss and thank you for the article. I don't take the care I should when I photograph family members. Everyday they are there so I get lulled into a sense of complancency. I think your next article should be on how to go about capturing great everyday moments of family life. How do I find the inspiration to photograph people I see day in and day out? This has to be one of the toughest assignments out there. I mean really, most of the time, they are wearing "comfortable" clothing, look disheveled and doing unflattering things or they know you are stalking them and they act goofy (even more so). Again, sorry for your loss.

  • Med September 27, 2012 01:27 am

    That's very "funy" because I'm currently working on a portrait project of my closest friends. I rencently realized that we were taking less and less shots of the group, and I thought it was a shame!
    Good article then!

  • Scott September 27, 2012 01:02 am

    Thank you for the reminder. My condolences go out to you.

  • EnergizedAV September 26, 2012 11:23 pm

    My thoughts go out to you and all in your circle. You've convinced me to do this. A while back my daughter spent time with friends and took my little Hi 8 camcorder along. Shortly after, one of her friends passed away and she had the last images and words. It was played over and over by the family.
    Thanks, Peter

  • 1107photography September 26, 2012 10:16 pm

    Great reminder, too, as we are entering fall and the holidays approach. For many of us, this is when we have our one chance a year to capture those important photos. I agree with Jason above.... we often are so close to our family, we overlook the most important people in our lives because it seems so obvious. We'll take great pains to photograph a mere acquaintance, or a perfect stranger,but we'll have only grab-and-go snapshots of those we love the most. Touching post--thanks, Peter.

  • Sylvain François September 26, 2012 06:05 pm

    First of all, I am so sorry for your loss.

    As many people I guess, a large majority of the photos I take are photos of my family and friends and I often have in mind that these will be the best memories we (my family, friends and me) will have of each other. But sometimes I get lazy, leave the camera in its bag, thinking that I would get other occasions to take photos. You just reminded me that this was a huge mistake!

    Thank you for sharing this reminder!

  • Aaron Stevens September 26, 2012 02:06 pm

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, and i agree about taking good photo's of Friends and Family...
    they are great to look back on, and also even to make slideshows to remember them.

    when My grandad passed away nearly 2 years ago, I made a video of photo's and showed it at his funeral, created from scanned photos and digital photo's. from his wedding, childhood up to a few photos from the Christmas a couple weeks before he died.

    I was glad that i did take photo's on that christmas day, because that was the last time i saw him alive.
    I cried while making the video and the song i used as backgroud certainly matched it. every time i play it, it still brings a tear to my eye.

    if anyone wants to watch it, it's on You Tube. watch it here: http://youtu.be/TfTCSu6_TOk

  • Jason Weddington September 26, 2012 02:00 pm

    I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this important advice during a difficult personal time. It's true that we all get busy. It's a paradox that those closest to us are sometimes the ones we fail to photograph often enough.

  • Mike September 26, 2012 12:50 pm

    Thank you for such a thoughtful reminder, we lost my father in-law almost a year ago and we couldn't find too many pictures of him after his passing. We just get busy with life and forget to take a moment and make history last. As a photographer I feel guilty for never making the effort of take a simple portrait of a person that is no longer with us.

    Mike

  • Jai Catalano September 26, 2012 10:40 am

    I created 2 videos of both of my kids by taking a photo a day for 1 year. Since then I try to always take great shots of the family.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvyxUfY-EUk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfCnYHLvhKI

  • Danielle September 26, 2012 10:03 am

    What an honest and relevant post. I was moved.

  • Mark Woolridge September 26, 2012 07:23 am

    Don't forget to have someone take a picture of you to. If you are always the photographer there wont' be many pics of you for your loved ones.

  • Brian Fuller September 26, 2012 06:17 am

    This is absolutely a high priority post. Thanks for writing. 90% of my photos are of my close friends, family, and mostly my children. And this post reminds me to continue to shoot them. I now have 3 young daughters and the youngest has the fewest memorable photos. I really need to sit down and concentrate on getting more studio type (and natural) shots of her because I am naturally drawn to my older girls who are easier to work with. If something were to happen to my infant, I'd be kicking myself for not having more of her.

    Thanks again.

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