The following post is an excerpt from the book,” Photo Album. The Essential Guide to Sorting, Sharing and Keeping Your Photos.” By Vanessa Holden and Susie Cushner
Whether it’s romance or adventure, a group of carefully chosen photos has a genre, much in the same way a novel does. Look through your collection for common threads that you can weave into an album. They’ll probably jump out, because it’s natural to photograph things we enjoy.
Part of what makes hobbies rewarding is that they usually require a bit of effort. If you practice a sport like scuba diving or mountain climbing, include pictures of your preparation and training. The thrill of spotting a whale shark or reaching a summit is even keener in the context of the equipment you hauled or the miles you trekked. If you’re a collector, besides arranging the pictures of your dolls or antique firearms as ar-tistically as you can, incorporate photos that show where and how you discovered your treasures.
At its best, an album full of outdoor scenes gives the viewer an immer-sive, you-are-there experience. To make that happen, ruthlessly discard mediocre photos. Showcase the elements of a beach, forest, or urban jungle that inspire your awe. Or illustrate your attachment to a place
– your hometown, for instance, or a ballfield where you played as a kid.
– with quirky, intimate photos. Use contrasts (light and dark, huge and tiny, lively and immobile) to bring out drama and convey a complete sense of place.
Next to family, vacations and other trips are probably the second most common photo subjects. Yet the excitement of travel can be tough to convey. Try mixing things up. Instead of arranging all your museum pictures together – the way you shot them – and then moving on to, say, wildlife, create layouts that jump back and forth between sights. Juxtapose the exotic with the familiar, and don’t worry about a trip’s chronology; focus on the total adventure. For an album about a journey with multiple destinations, you might start with a couple of pages that show your “itinerary” in photos. And don’t forget the homecoming.
IDEAS AND TIPS
- Illustrate different aspects of a favorite activity – for instance, if you’re a foodie, cooking and dining.
- Variety is the key to interesting albums. Don’t put together 20 pictures of high-score Scrabble boards.
- Nature photos can lose impact if they’re too small; consider en-larging impressive landscape shots.