PhotoPlayDate Denver Wrapup!

Whew. I did it. PhotoPlayDate was something that Bryan hatched up a while back and we have been mulling it over for forever and – we. finally. did. it. Several friends gathered at Washington Park last weekend to listen to me yammer on about photography. And a few couldn’t make it at the last minute, making it a smaller group than anticipated from the smaller group I wanted on purpose… so I wouldn’t throw up in my camera bag as I yammered on about photography.

We talked about going for it on the manual setting, or at the very least, trying out Aperture Priority… about the Rule of Thirds… getting our kids laugh and smile… and the crazy brashness of squirrels at Washington Park.

Here is one of my favorite shots from the pitiful number of photos I took (I was yammering, remember?!) – a photo I took to illustrate how I have kids hold things up to the camera to force Depth of Field.

Lil Red Nose

I can’t wait to see the results from attendees: @fruitlady (and son!) @z3rr0 @torreybelle and @imelda, who happens to be visiting from Houston. Their photos should start joining mine in the PhotoPlayDate Flickr Group soon.

But what I really liked was just the friendly conversation, hanging out, walking around and taking photos together, showing the results in real time, laughing with our kids. Perfect. Exactly what I wanted.

It’s funny, a friend invited me to a Flickr group that “grades” photos. Actually, to be more accurate – they vote your photo in or out Survivor-style and after 10 “delete” votes, you’re out. They do warn you how snarky they are, but I just was not prepared, or maybe I was still high from PhotoPlayDate good vibes.

I added this photo and it was deleted within an hour.

Now, I am totally open to criticism. HELLO, I was a graphic design major and my mentor in college made a few people, including myself, CRY. I can handle it. But, these people were saying things like “What the hell it this?” …and “I hate the colors!” …and “This composition sucks.” Worse yet, I went and looked at THEIR Flickr streams… and, um, let’s just say some people should not be throwing stones in their sucky photo glass houses.

Either way, I hated it. Even the mentor who made me cry had a point that was valid, which in turn made me a better graphic designer.

I deleted the worst of the comments and quit the group. Clearly they were not for me. I may snark-a-plenty myself sometimes, especially in relation to American Idol, ha… but when it comes to photography, I like to stay positive. Or at least constructive.

Which is totally what PhotoPlayDate was for me. Yay!

How about you give us some of your best photo ideas in the comments? Tips or tricks that help you take better pics of your kids? Whether it’s technical, like leaning in a doorway to steady the camera… or having the kids make faces at you to loosen up and eventually smile more naturally.

Let’s hear ’em if you got ’em!

This article has 13 comments

  1. daysgoby

    I make the kids recite Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts. There is NO WAY they can stay stone faced after that and I’ve gotten some really great giggles!

    And Manual scares me. Somehow I think taking a class from you would make it better, though.

  2. Rhiannon

    You may come to Portland at ANY TIME to teach me how to take my camera off of manual. I still don’t understand why I spent SO MUCH on a camera that I do not know how to use.

  3. Naomi

    I’m still struggling with shooting in Manual (but I force myself to do it to learn) … and often use the “take a deep breath and fold in my elbows into my side” trick to steady the camera. Either that or lay down … resting my elbows on the ground seems to steady me too (not to mention give some good angles of the kids).

    The other thing that I’ve learned by trial and error is to quickly show the kids a “goofy face shot” … it elicits GIGGLES that are SO photo worthy … just have to time it perfectly to get the camera back into shoot mode to capture them!

    Anywhoooo … love the idea of a Photo Playdate … and love your Rusty Drip pic too .. boo on the negative nellys.

  4. Imelda

    I had such a fun time Aimee! Not in any rush to get home except to get to my photos! Thank you again 🙂

  5. Heather

    One of my best camera buys ever was a manfrotto monopod. LOVE that thing. It’s light enough to tote around the house, yard or what have you and it really gives me that extra edge on kids who don’t sit still. It slides up and down with one hand and the quick-release is a dream.

    How I wish you were closer so we could do some photo playdates here! It’s a fabulous idea and I value positive critiques over competitive snarking any day.

  6. Julie @ The Mom Slant

    I’m sorry the Photo Playdate timing didn’t work for us, but I really dig that faucet photo. Of course, you know I’m a total novice (if that) where it comes to photography, but you can count on me as an unabashed fan!

  7. Anonymous

    So proud of you guys! – m

  8. Tree

    I agree – positive feedback is the best. Negative and mean comments – not even feedback or criticism – are unproductive at best.

    It looks awesome and fun. What a fabulous idea!

  9. Amanda

    Beautiful, from the photo to the sentiment. I ache to learn to take better photos, this may just be the kick in the ass I need! Thanks.

  10. Angela

    I love BOTH photos, so there!

  11. Mimi

    Both photos are wonderful. Don’t listen to the snarks. I especially like the faucet one. I LOVE the colors and could see this being enlarged and displayed in my bathroom that has that same rich hue of yellow. I love the reflections in the faucet, they make me curious about the story surrounding that faucet. I take photos for fun (just fun, most only speak to me) but have learned (painfully) to listen only to constructive criticism and to what makes me happy. Keep shooting and posting! 🙂

  12. monstergirlee

    I wish I wish I wish I could go to a Photoplaydate. Maybe I can talk hubby into the next one… heh

    What an awesome idea Aimee. Love the DOF shot.

  13. lynn @ human, being

    Ooh, ooh! I want to play next time. I’m all about the manual setting.

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