Photographing reunions

Reunions offer amazing time warps. Whether it's 25 years since your high school graduation or the annual family gathering, reunions are terrific picture-taking events.

Tell a story
Your reunion may consist of several events or take place over a weekend. A perfect opportunity for a photo story! Show your departure, arrival, the entryway at your destination, and a variety of the goings-on and exchanges throughout the whole reunion.

Use a simple background
An uncluttered background focuses attention on the subject, resulting in a stronger picture. Place your subject against a plain, non-distracting background. Alternatively, sometimes just moving yourself (and the camera) a few feet one way or the other can eliminate distractions from view.

Take candid pictures
Ignore the impulse to force your subjects to always pose staring at the camera. Variety is important. Take candid pictures to show them working, playing, leaning against a banister chatting, or relaxing.

Get close
Fill the camera's viewfinder or LCD display with your subject to create pictures with greater impact. Step in close or use your camera's zoom to emphasize what is important and exclude the rest. Check the manual for your camera's closest focusing distance.

Provide one-time-use cameras
Let people's personalities shine. Scatter one-time-use cameras around the reunion room and encourage everyone to shoot up a storm. Collect the cameras and compile a bound or online album for people to savor 'til next time.

Put yourself in the picture
No reunion is complete without photos of you with your friends and family. Hand your camera to someone else to take pictures of you with Stephanie, the class president, or Aunt Josette and Uncle Mike. Then, return the favor by taking a snapshot of your photographer with his or her camera.

Capture the emotion
Catch the grins, tears, surprises, and hugs that make for memorable pictures. Keep your camera handy and turned on so you'll be ready for those spontaneous expressions.

Share your pictures
Relatives and classmates may live miles away, but that's no hindrance to sharing pictures with them. Use an online photo service to display your pictures so all can relive the reunion—or wish they'd come. They can even order their own prints online.

Or take old pictures with you to the reunion. Copy your high school candids or pictures of your great-grandparents or your generation as babies on a Kodak picture maker and hand them out when you're all together. People will appreciate them, even if they do groan at first.