Your Visual Legacy : Family Photojournalism and the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

As an expat, I am acutely aware of what my family in the United States are missing of my kids as they grow up on the other side of the world. There is not just one reason that I photograph our daily life, but sharing our story for those not close enough to be a part of it is a big one. Creating a visual legacy is another as I feel family photojournalism is important and extends way beyond the surface sharing of our best lives on social media. It is a style of photography inclusive of all the important moments, not just the shiny happy ones. It is not only about being present, but recording the present for when it becomes the distant past. I am mindful enough to realise that the most mundane of moments are beautiful mile markers on our trip through this life.

When you are the only little boy in two families…

You don’t have to stop your journey to capture it. Family photojournalism doesn’t have to be a chore or even something that disrupts the natural flow of the moment if you take these tips to heart. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is the perfect little camera to simply slot into daily life as a tool to capturing the moments that illustrate your life.

As Dr Seuss so wisely said:

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.

It really is as simple as taking your camera in hand on a regular basis and recording moments. Before you get started, I have a few tips to make it even easier. First, invest in an extra battery for your new camera. I like to have at least one spare on the charger at home so that I don’t miss a moment to a flat battery. This type of photography is not about planning moments or waiting for the perfect light, so you need to have that full battery and an a handful of empty memory cards to shoot when things happen.

Now that you have your OM-D E-M10 Mark III, the 14-42mm kit lens, an extra battery and a few SD cards, you are ready to get shooting.

While I speak of recording all the moments, I don’t literally mean just keeping your finger on the shutter button. You will want to curate the day. Know what you love to remember and then learn to anticipate the moments.

If you do not know where to start, look for LESS –Light, Emotion, Story and Selects.

Light: All photography simply is light captured by a camera. How you use the light is how you set the tone for your photographs. Bright scenes can naturally suggest happiness while directional light (instead of the flat and bright light) can add drama or foreboding. Concentrated bits of light can often hold more character in a moment than a bright sun filled room. For example, the stripes of the last light of the day through the blinds or even the spotlight created by a lamp in an otherwise dark room can really set the mood of your visual story. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III captures images in extremely low light with beautiful film like grain. Give yourself the ability to shoot in dim lighting situations without a flash by setting the camera to Auto ISO and choosing Shutter Priority Mode with a shutter speed fast enough to hand hold the camera. The great thing about the OM-D E-M10 Mark III is that it is so lightweight you can hand hold for longer shutter speeds without the risk of blur due to camera shake.

Capturing the drama of bath time in one shot and watching it disappear in the next.

Emotion: Life is worth the capture. All of the emotions… It is not just the smiles that are what we celebrate. Don’t be afraid to capture the real raw reactions and not just the perfectly posed pieces. Use a lens with a longer focal length to get details without making your family feel as if you are in their space. In the Advanced Photo (AP) Mode you can select silent shutter to mute the sound of the shutter click and further reduce your imposition into the moment.

Long lens and silent shutter lets me capture the happy mess they were trying to hide.

Story: Take a day out of your life every so often and capture it all. Whether it is something special like Christmas Eve or just a regular Thursday in March, make an effort to record all the details from morning through bedtime. Again, this is not about taking hundreds of photographs, but a little bit from each hour. Combine a selection of different shots from wide, where you see a lot of the scene, to macro, just the smallest of details fill the frame, and create a rich visual story of your family in that moment. Think about how much it will mean to generations to come to be granted a peek into your daily life. This is your legacy. You can speak through these photographs and tell the most important tale you will ever write, the one of your life here on earth.

Sharing Christmas crackers, new traditions and happy chaos on Christmas Eve.

Selects: Once you have the day captured, it is time to make your selects. The OM-D E-M10 Mark III connects easily to your Android or iOS device via WiFi and the Olympus OI Share app. Seeing the images on the bigger screen of your phone or tablet makes it easy to choose your favorites and see your final story unfold. Select the shots you want to transfer to your device through the app and import without ever having to connect with cords or card readers. Imagine not even having to head to the computer to share your photos.

Making snow for new Christmas Eve traditions with our fellow American expat friend-family.

If you are looking for a creative kickstart, you can take on a family photojournalism project in 2018 with the aim to capture one day a month with your Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III.  At the end of the year, put your selects into a printed book and you will have a year of your life to share for generations.

Brought to you in partnership with Olympus Australia.

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