Taking a family photo was always an adventure for us. It began by rushing around trying to find everybody and gather them together in one room. The next step was finding an area that everybody could fit in and not look too crammed, perhaps the big couch or in front of the big tree in the front yard if the weather was nice. Once everyone was gathered, the real chore began. We would stand still as my father hunched over the camera set up a few feet away. Every few seconds he would spin a knob or flip a lever with the look of a mad scientist, calculating all the factors to get perfect exposure. After what seemed like an eternity he would push a button and sprint towards us. If we were lucky enough for him to make it back to his spot before the camera picked up his movement, we would only have to repeat the process 4 or 5 more times. If not, the agony of the family photo would continue until we got it right.
I was always so fascinated with my dad’s old camera. There were so many knobs and levers that it presented an enticing mystery. Once in while he would let me play with it and I would snap a picture or two to empty the roll of film before we went to develop it. Most of the time the images processed as obscure black blurs, but once in a while I would achieve the perfection of barely passable exposure and mostly clear focus.
Cameras have come a long way since those days of manual focusing, exposure adjustment, and sprinting to make the timer. Without losing any of these options, DSLR cameras have reduced the agony of the family photo to a mere frustration. With advanced auto focus, remote control, and articulating viewfinders, family members can rejoice at having to sit only long enough to placate the photographers’ obsessive nature to get the perfect shot. Since most DSLR’s have added an auto mode, even the younger version of myself would have been able to take a great shot. No longer do we have to drive to the drug store and wait around for the 1 hour photo service just to find out that there was a speck of dust on the lens covering grandma’s face.
The great thing about how DSLRs have progressed is that you no longer need to be the “mad scientist,” calculating everything to get the perfect exposure or focus (although you have that option if you’d like). Even the young children can take family photos worthy of your photo album. Now everyone in the family can take a great shot without tirelessly studying the manual. If you want to become the photo pro in your family, you can start by checking out ourCamera Buying Guide.
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