A Good Dog Is Hard To Photograph…and so is a board game.
For the past month or so we have had a regular canine visitor on Tuesday nights. Our host, Greg, has been bringing along his adorable labradoodle called Fletcher. Now dogs, and board games are not always a good combination. This is especially so for a rather large, and rambunctious dog like Fletcher. This dog is a people pooch. He has a great personality, and evidently enjoys the attention of a large crowd of friendly humans. We dote on him. Luckily for us, and the games, Fletcher is a very well behaved dog. He does not jump up on people when he gets excited. His tail is very powerful, yet he keeps it below the table height. Good doggie!
With Fletcher firmly being part of our Tuesday night gang, it is only reasonable that I have been including photographs of him in my gaming pictures. Each gaming session I endeavor to take photographs of the games, and the gamers. If you look back at the Photo Gallery of the Ventura County Strategy Boardgamers Meetup group you will see thousand of photos of our gaming sessions. If I creative I tag people, and add the name of the game as a title.overall, this photos are a little meh. They lack pizazz and ooomph.
More recently, I have been creating montages with the photos. You can see a whole bunch of these montages on a separate page linked here.
Click on an individual picture for a larger version.
These montages add context to a plain photograph. The game title is included, which is always a wise thing to do. This helps to fend off the “what game is that?” questions. It is also a good idea to include the date, location, and any other useful information. If possible include a little anecdotal comment to liven up the scene. Like in this example here.
A photo montage with some anecdotal comments
The unexpected side effect of these montages is that I am thinking more about what, and how, I photograph. I am still taking lots of photos, but I am posting less of them. The photographs that I am using are better quality than the photos that I was posting before I started creating the photo montages.
This brings me to the point that I want to make about photos of games, and of gamers. Just like taking photos of a dog, it is hard to take good photographs of gamers.
Gamers move around a lot while they are playing games. It is not fair to continuously interrupt the games to take posed pictures. It is not fair to distract people when they are deep in thought, or taking their turn. This method often results in unusable photos.
As an example, here is a photo from last night. It shows some of the lads playing Viticulture. Jonathon is smirking, as per normal, while Ryan, and Matthew are concentrating on the game. Ben, on the other hand, is a blur.
The only solution is to take lots of photos, and hope that you have some good ones. I have lot’s of pictures where all but one person are smiling, or posing nicely for the camera. The one person barely looks like a human being. At a pinch you can still use these flawed pictures, but it is wise to crop or edit the picture so the photos are presentable. If you are concerned about what content is acceptable, play it safe.
It is always wise to avoid posting unflattering pictures.
As I am thinking more and more about what photos I am taking I had a revelation. I had come to the realization that I was often taking two types of photo.
This examples below show James, Ryan, and Bob playing Mech Vs. Minions.
The distance shot is the best way to show the people playing the game. This is where the players are the focus of the photo.
The closeup shot is to show the art, or the details, of the game itself. It is hard to combine both into one photo.
Together they make a great combination set to show off the game, and the players.
The key points to remember about taking and posting photos are:
- Take lots of pictures.
- Take closeup detail pictures of the game components.
- Take distance pictures of the players.
- Post pictures that are interesting.
- Post pictures that show the games, and the gamers in a good light.
- Edit, or crop photos to remove bad content.
- Do not post pictures that are not flattering.