Tag Archives: printing

Meaningful Photos

How to capture more meaningful family photos

Written by Laura Richards, Laura Richards Photography

Every Christmas morning, I would wait at the top of the stairs with my brother and sister until Christmas “started.” This meant that Mom and Dad were downstairs, ready to go with the camcorder (remember those big, bulky things with actual cassette tapes in them?).

“Okay, come down!” Dad would yell. And for the rest of the morning, our Christmas together was documented, even the quiet parts when we were just opening new underwear.

I guess you could say that memory-capturing was a big part of our family, with an antique chest full of photographs to prove it. And I guess you could say that’s why it’s so important in my own family now as well. Documenting my son’s childhood is one of my greatest joys, and knowing that one day he’ll have boxes, albums, frames and videos of all those years gives me a certain kind of peace.

Inspired by these memories of holidays-past and the season ahead, I want to share a few tips on how to more meaningfully document your family. Seek emotion. Real, raw emotion is the secret ingredient to great documentary photography. Try to capture a range of emotion, like the look on your daughter’s face when she takes the first bite of the sugar cookies you made together, or the tears that well in your mom’s eyes when she opens the photo album you made her.

Squat, crawl and climb. Experiencing the holidays from different angles will result in more interesting photos and videos. This is especially fun when photographing children and pets. Get on their level — or way above it.

Let it happen. Think of photography as moment-freezing, not moment-creating. This year, document the holidays exactly as they happen. Don’t force smiles or poses. Our photos speak loudest when we observe quietly.

Embrace the small. Every moment spent with family and friends is a reason to pull out your camera, whether it be the one on your phone or your fancy DSLR. The more photos you take, the more you’ll realize just how many tiny, beautiful moments we let quietly slip by.

Get closer. One of the most important things I’ve learned about photography is that there’s always room to move closer to your subjects. When you see your spouse hugging your son on Christmas morning, move in and capture the way his little head fits perfectly in the nook between neck and shoulder. This intimacy offers such a different and often emotional perspective.

Get in the frame. As moms, we often stand behind the camera. We’re either so focused on our children that our own presence in the image seems trivial, or we don’t feel “perfect” enough to be in the frame. But here’s a secret: You are always worthy enough to be in the photograph. Your children love you more than a bad hair day, more than a holiday-stress blemish, more than the numbers on a scale — and their memories with you will mean the world one day.

Print, print, print. Better photos are tangible photos. Promise yourself you’ll always have more pictures made from ink and paper than pixels. Promise your family they’ll always have albums to hold in their hands and look at on snowy days — or when they long for days gone. Try to print photos very soon after the holidays, so you don’t get overwhelmed or sidetracked. Now why is all this important? Why is documentary photography important to your family? For me, it’s about creating legacy, and the idea that photographs are pieces of that legacy. They’re one of the most precious things we can leave our children. Our traditions and experiences together are so important that we need tangible memories, ones that say, “The life and love we created mattered.”

Laura Richards is a natural-light maternity, newborn and family photographer in Roanoke, who specializes in heirloom-quality albums, wall art, prints and more. When she’s not photographing or editing, she’s chasing after her tod-dler, Tucker.

www.laurarichardsphotography.com

Virginia Made: Lane Paper Works

Meet Sydney Lane of Lane Paper Works!

Written by Faith Jones, Hill City Handmade

In a complicated world, there’s something to be said for simplicity. Simple shapes and colors are the signature that twenty-four-year-old Sydney Lane has become known for. What began as hand drawn greeting cards has now grown into illustrations and custom portraits. Lane Paper Works has emerged to be the area’s go to source for uniquely illustrated family portraits, localities (Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Nashville to name a few), and pets. Each of Sydney’s digitally drawn designs capture her subjects in a cartoon-like way that has become instantly recognizable as her work. After graduating with a degree in Graphic Design and starting Lane Paper Works, she never dreamed that it would all take off so quickly.

Exactly one year from its internet launch, the company opened a storefront location on 11 S Main Street in Chatham. The quaint building features not only her own handcrafted designs but those of fellow makers. With a passion for supporting small businesses, the contents of the store consists of artisan gifts, each piece carefully selected from talents across the region. There are many advantages and challenges to going from a website to now running a store. Sydney has not given up her website or selling at handmade markets, she now has not only her products but all of the store inventory to take into consideration when making decisions.

Every day her she remembers the advice of her grandfather, who recently passed, “Do your best.” Sydney holds these words close to her heart as she goes through the day to day operations of planning out store products, display windows, and sales all while still creating for herself. While there are many pressure-filled days running the business, Sydney feels extremely humbled to have a supportive family and loyal customers who follow her work and shop in Lane Paper Works.

A self-proclaimed cat lady who takes pride in the unique names she gives her cats, Sydney also enjoys music. Her love of music keeps the tunes in the store changing to match her mood for the day. Every day is a fresh start. New and old customers to interact with and get to know, window displays to design around the season, and new work to create. Most importantly, every day is a day to be thankful as an artist and as a supporter of artists. Giving back is just as important as profiting. Her grandfather’s favorite three words of encouragement are featured in one of her prints whose proceeds benefit the American Heart Association. In addition, Lane Paper Works also supports another charity, A21 with proceeds from Sydney’s “Strong Women” print. “It is about 10% luck and 90% hard work, day in and day out. However, it is worth it—so worth it.”

For more information, visit www.lanepaperworks.com. She’s on Facebook and Instagram @Lanepaperworks. Enjoy a special discount during April for our readers! Enter code “lovelybella” for 25% OFF!!