Meaning can come from a lot places. It can come from the mood of the lighting, the expression on your subjects faces, the point of view you choose to photograph from, just to name a few. All of these things added together tell a story, and it is the story that makes your photographs more meaningful.
You don’t need a professional camera to capture beautiful and meaningful photographs. There are three main things to remember to improve your photography:
1) Be observant: Ask yourself a few questions. What makes you happy, what do you enjoy taking photographs of, and what do you want to remember forever? What moments will be precious to you and your family in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
For example, you may love photographing your kids. Your son might have a favorite teddy that he takes everywhere… to the breakfast table, in the car, and to bed at night. A snugly photo with teddy might be just the thing to remind you of this innocent time in his life once he is a big kid.
2) Get personal: Incorporating hobbies, activities, and favorite places into your photos will make them more personal. Think about it like telling the story of your subject. There is a setting, characters, and details that make it unique.
Recently I had the pleasure of heading to the beach for a photo session with my friend Anne and her family. Anne and her husband grew up at this beach, he proposed to her there, and when their daughter Jillian was young they picnicked there often. Since Jillian was planning go abroad traveling and working for a year, it was really nice to have one last picnic and remember the days gone by.
3) Be Yourself: Don’t get caught in the trap of only taking certain pictures because you have seen others taking them. The Internet has made it easier than ever to share photos, and sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in doing it the “right” way. Do what feels right to you and ask yourself “Is this me?”, “Does this tell my story?”, “Does this make me happy?” Those are the images that will be priceless to you.