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Use Photos to Share Memories and Tell Stories this Mother's Day.

mom and daughter reading

Life is all about moments. Every special moment holds a lifetime of memories that live on after the moment has passed. In our normal daily routine, we tend to miss the details of any given moment, as our eyes do not focus on the subtleties of the situation. But capturing that moment in a photograph reveals its emotions; a photograph is a window to a memory, and has the ability to deeply connect you to the beauty of life itself. Still photographs freeze time, immortalizing the memory in a photo. While you will never be able to actually relive that moment, the photo serves as a placeholder for the emotions and memories to take you back.

This Mother’s Day, use your photos to show your loved ones how much they mean to you. Here are a few ideas for using photos to share memories and tell stories:

black and white fifties couple just married

Sit down with your family and look at photos from the past. Relive happy moments from your past with your family members. Weddings, vacations, birthday parties, holidays, or other family events captured in a photograph will bring everyone back to that day, especially when you are looking at the photos with other family members who were there. Or, show the photos to a child and tell them the story about what was happening in a particular sequence of photos. Nothing fascinates a child more than a story about what his or her parents were like before he or she was born. The bond between family members is unlike any other bond in this world, and nothing would make your mom happier than to watch her family relive their moments together.

boy teasing mom

Plan a Mother’s Day outing, and document the event with photos. A fun Mother’s Day idea is to plan a family outing with your mom and document the experience with photographs. Every photo tells a story, and when sequentially laid out in an album, scrapbook, or photo book, the story feels even more complete. Take more pictures than you normally would, and keep in mind that you will edit the shots later. Utilize both your wide angle and your zoom lenses to complete your photo essay. Let’s discuss a few of these ideas in more detail:

kids feeding ducks at pond

Start by taking a wide photo of the surroundings. For your Mother’s Day outing, you may have chosen somewhere outdoors for a picnic, or her favorite restaurant for brunch. Wherever you decide to take her, begin by taking a few shots of the location. If you are outdoors, a nice scenic photo of the grassy picnic area from a distance would be a beautiful way to set your location.

daughter on mom's back

Take an extensive mix of photos. Throughout the outing, take a lot of photos, and use a variety of approaches and techniques. Use wide angles to show the people interacting with each other, as well as tight close-ups to show the emotion on different people’s faces, especially Mom’s interaction with her children or grandchildren. This is also a wonderful time to pull your mom aside and take some portraits – after all, it is her day.

family in grass

Remember to mix in lots of candid shots with portraits. Both candid shots and portraits can capture the beauty of a moment, so use both types of shots. Many times it is much more interesting to remain a fly on the wall and practice your photojournalist techniques. This will help you capture the real emotion of the day, showing the outing as it really felt without letting the camera’s presence interfere. Also, add in a posed photo or two where people look back at the camera. Here’s a great tip: have your subjects pose for a photo, and once the posed shot is taken, keep shooting your subjects as they start to interact normally again. The people are already positioned nicely from the posed shot, and you can capture some real genuine emotion.

many photos of same shot

Remember that less is more. After the outing you may have lots of photos to edit. Do not feel the need to include all or even most of your shots. Keep in mind that 15 or 20 great shots can speak louder than a photo book with 100 photos that all start to look the same.

family outdoor bar-be-que

Let your photos tell the story. A great test to see if you have created a compelling story is to take your final shots and see if they all make sense together without actually explaining anything. Where was the outing? Who was there, and what was happening? Your photos should reveal all of this information, and should allow someone who did not attend to feel like they were there, both physically and emotionally.


Once you narrow down your photos, complete the job. When you have decided which photos tell the story of the outing in the best sequence, it is time to put them together for the ultimate Mother’s Day gift. Build a photo book, lay out a beautiful photo album, or share the album online with your family. Mom will be touched that you took the time to photograph her day, edit the photos, and gave her a memento that comes directly from your heart. Flowers, cards, and jewelry are all wonderful gifts, but photos give her moments and memories that will last forever.

To all the moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

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