If you are working on or contemplating a family history or life story project, here's some food for thought: why not include photographs of special memorabilia? It might be your grandmother's favorite tea cup or your father's watch, your favorite childhood doll or even the car you drove on your first date.
Objects that have sentimental or historical value can be a nice addition to your history, especially if you are short of other photographs of people or places. Here are three tips that will help you get better photographs of your special items.
1. Use natural light. Using flash can wash out the details of your object, and make it look flat. Turn the flash off and aim for photographing your object in the light of a window, with the window to one side. You can also hold up a large piece of white cardboard on the other side of the object to reflect some of the window light back into the shadows.
You can also photograph your object outside on a cloudy day or in the shade of a building, giving you soft, even light.
2. Clear the background. Look for a background that is uncluttered and either complements or contrasts with the object so the object stands out against it.
3, Try different angles. Often you can improve the background just by changing the angle of the camera to the object. Sometimes, photographing an object from an angle other than head-on can be interesting and show greater detail.
Be sure that if you are photographing something hanging on a wall, such as a painting or portrait, that the lens of your camera is parallel with the object itself to eliminate distortion.
You don't have to have a fancy camera to use these tips; your cell phone camera will do nicely with enough light and some attention to background. (Bonus: these tips will help to improve your ebay photos, if you have anything you want to sell!)
What objects might you want to add to your life story project?