Shooting in the Dark

R.E.M.’s Nightswimming—-best song EVER!

I stole the song title and used it on a scrapbook layout I created to document my daughter’s first twilight pool party.

Unfortunately, the page doesn’t look as good as the song sounds.

The concept was there, but the photos weren’t. Which is not to say that I didn’t snap a ton of pictures of my daughter and her friends swimming in the dark during an especially hot July night; rather, the images simply didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked.

If you are planning to feature a nighttime event in your scrapbook, there are some points to consider before pressing your camera’s shutter button.

For starters, discount digital cameras will not capture stellar shots in low light conditions. You really need to invest in (or borrow) a DSLR with a superior exterior flash if you want to snap clear, crisp pictures in an almost pitch-black area. The pool I was shooting was illuminated by a few lights, though not nearly as many as I needed to eliminate graininess.

I should have taken more photos at dusk before the sky turned black. More than likely I would have gotten better looking shots to include in my layout. By having decent images to work with I would have reduced the number of embellishments I added to the design, and let the photos speak to the fun that the kids had that night.

I managed to salvage some photos, so I could include the pool party in my Summer 2011 scrapbook; however, with proper preparation I could have greatly improved the overall look of the page design. If you’re trying to piece together a layout which features terrible photos, then consider the following:

1. Crop the shots as best as you can, and then add them to the layout.

2. Be creative in your use of stickers or other embellishments. You could strategically place some stickers over the bad parts of a given photo.

3. Scan your photos and use image editing software to fix issues with bad shots.

4. Change color photos to black and white to help camouflage unflattering aspects.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.