What makes a great family photo

What makes a great family photo

I am always telling my clients that we all need to become the editors of our own life story, but sometimes figuring out what makes a photo worth keeping and adding to our story isn’t so easy. I’ve been a photo editor for years, but the criteria I used for professional editing and what I might consider for editing family photos isn’t necessarily the same.

What they both have in common is story telling, that’s what editing is. But while a professional edit requires a certain level of technical quality, family photos are more about emotional connections to people, places and things, the stuff memories are made of.

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…scanned from my archive. Boris Lenoff, Fire Island 1958

…scanned from my archive. Boris Lenoff, Fire Island 1958

…scanned from my archive. Boris Lenoff, Fire Island 1958. While growing up, there were always certain photos that seemed to be present, either in frames on the wall, taped to cabinets, stuck to the fridge or in one of the several photo albums lying around. My father and my mother’s father Boris, were usually the photographers of most of the family photos, so they aren’t present in as many of the family photos as other family members. Boris was a professional photographer, so like myself, he was usually much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.

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Before and After - A 100 year old print of my paternal Grandmother.

Before and After - A 100 year old print of my paternal Grandmother.

I have been scanning thousands of my old family prints. It is not very realistic to retouch and restore every print that I scan, but the good ones, maybe images I will want to print in an album, I will take some time and fix them up. It is very cool to see an old yellowed, faded and damaged print look like new (almost).

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