Preparing for Day in the Life | Part 2 Photo ideas

Thursday, March 17, 2016

In my last post I talked about different ways of recording your life on the day, using communication as an example.

I've also put some thought towards taking photos for Day in the Life project at the end of March. Some of you may be fans of just going with the flow, taking photos when the opportunity arises. I'm a fan of being prepared with a bit of a plan, if possible. It doesn't necessarily guarantee that things will turn out as planned...but I think that self consciously you think of taking the photos you've been planning, at least some of the time.

Because we're talking about A Day in the Life project, recording this is the story of our day. We need to think about how we can convey this story in photos and words so it's meaningful to look back on in the future.

The whole day, and a single moment can slip by so fast. You need to think what it is you want to remember. (Just as wedding photographers have a list and firm plan as well as being prepared to be flexible). I want my story to include the people around me, myself, my dog - doing what we do.

The question I ask myself is: how can I better capture my own personal meaningful moments? Those moments will be different for every one of us. I'll be approaching this as the storyteller, therefore this whole project will be about my day, but I have ways of including the family's days also.

A few things to think about:

1. Think about natural lighting around the time. For me that means autumn and the mornings and evenings in my house will be quite dark. Personally I hate using a flash for these situations so I'll be mindful of using the lights on as best I can and trying to get photos near a window as dawn occurs. I'll also try using parts of the house for photos where better natural light streams in, like our stairwell with large windows.
Loved that this morning I could make full use of lovely morning light and shadows cast by the blinds

I purposely made a dramatic photo with contrasting light while doing a mundane thing!
2. Getting myself in the photos. If you're a follower of my blog, you'll know I've worked on several projects about self-portraits, including writing a class for Big Picture Classes. I don't want to repeat the sorts of photos I've taken for those previous projects - mainly because that's just plain boring and really I don't need oodles of the same thing covered! So, I've been researching all sorts of different ways I can get myself in the day's photos. It's a good idea to practice some of these ideas to get an idea of focus. perspective and lighting sorted to save stress and time on the day.
I placed phone on mantle piece to get this shot.
3. Think about perspective. Where can you photograph from for different results? Get down low, look up, look down, through doors and windows. Far away. Up close. I love to contrast big and little details.
I stood on a chair to get this perspective

This sort of photo captures the story of part of my husband's regular work day break - a coffee by the sea
One way to capture the food shopping
4. The little details make up a huge part of the story. A normal day may include getting breakfast and lunches ready, kids off to school, going to work... Try to find the special magic in the day. How can you incorporate this? The weather is a biggie and can help portray the season, or obstacles to the day. Even a day you may call a bad weather day, can produce photos with the magic element.

What sort of fruit is in your fruit bowl? Do you have cut flowers, or are there flowering plants in your garden?

What are you wearing? What's on your bedside table? Can you photograph yourself incorporating these sorts of details in the frame?

I've told this story before, but one of the photos that's become most precious to me is my childhood home. I'm sitting at the dining table in a t-shirt which has distinctive memories, and the kitchen is a 70's time warp with patterned wallpaper and cupboards painted by mum!

These details we often crop out of our photos can be the very thing that hold the emotive value - the thing we connect to the moment in our history.
This shot captures some room detail and already, less than a year on I see little changes.
5. Remember to photograph details of whatever you're working at during the day - whether it be on the job, or as a stay at home mum. Set the 10 second timer to capture you doing what you do with the work space details in there. That will be interesting to you or someone else one day. I regret not getting more photos reading piles of books to my children sitting on my lap, or of me playing with them on the floor. Those things took up a large chunk of my time but back then I never thought to record the little details. Oh yes, there are plenty of photos of them playing, just not with me playing with them.

6. How can you incorporate your family into the photo/story? You may be separated during the day, so be intentional about getting them in morning and afternoon/evening photos. It may involve a sneaky photo while they're working in their rooms. I've found that explaining to them that I'm doing DITL helps and they are more willing to be included in a photo or two. If not, you may need to resort to photographing something which connects them to the day - school shoes or bag tossed on the floor, for example. Try giving them the camera, or ask them to take a selfie.
I love this completely candid photo telling us about her day
I will probably be devoting a double page spread to this day in my annual photo book - maybe 2 double pages. I will probably take far more photos than I will use, but this will give me the choice for piecing the story of the day together. The rest of the photos will be stored away for family to look at.

Whenever I think about a project like A Day in the Life, I feel such a sense of excitement. Does that happen to you? It's such a simple way to preserve a little piece of our lives. If you find stories of your parents or grandparents like this, does this excite you? Do you like reading about stranger's stories in lifestyle magazines? Maybe I'm a bit nosy but I love a little glimpse into how other's live. If you're not aware of this annual project run by Ali Edwards, read more about it here.

I'm looking forward to 29th or 30th March. I'm not sure which day I'll do this yet. Let me know if you're joining in this event. If you are, the most important thing is to have fun with it! That will show through in your photos.

Thanks for stopping by.

Donna xx

Preparing for Day in the Life | Part 1

Monday, March 7, 2016

For those of you who are participating in Ali Edward's Day in the Life at the end of March, I thought it may be a good thing to share some thoughts I've been having on preparing for this day.

Why prepare? Why not just snap away during the day?

Well, 3 years in on this project, I know that the day can arrive and even with the best intentions, can slip away and be over before you've captured the true essence of your day. If you're going to record this day so someone can look back at a specific moment in time, then why not set out with some clear intentions? If you have the opportunity to start with the end in mind, you can focus on more specific things and feel more accomplished at the end of the day.

Apart from the obvious documenting of your daily routine; it may be an opportunity to think a bit wider and look at other things which may be interesting to look back on.

Have you ever observed what your family find interesting in your photos or albums? Often it's the nostalgia. Not just remembering the moment, but the feeling of the moment. What captures that feeling or emotion comes from a number of things - the scene, the occasion, the people, the weather and so on. These are all things you can capture in your photos or journaling.

Today I want to talk about communication. How do you communicate daily with your partner, family, the wider family, your friends and work mates?

Where do conversations take place in your home? Do you talk around the table over dinner? Sadly, that doesn't happen as often as I'd like in my house these days due to the busy work schedules and teens with their own agendas. In saying that, we do talk a lot and I'd like to be able to write about this on the day.

One of the only times I use the landline these days (other than those pesky survey type calls), is to speak to my parents or parents-in-law. Neither set are good with mobile phones and other technology. I use my mobile to text or phone my husband and children when we're apart. My daughter speaks to her friends via Snapchat. That's something we'll look back on in 5 or 10 years and giggle about - much like landlines. Those things will be superseded by better technology, for sure.

Think about how you could record this in your pages.  You can simply narrate in journaling form or you could screenshot a text and print out. You could also add a photo of devices or list what each member of the family has and uses. It's surprising when you do this, just how much technology is a major part of our lives. Ask each of the family what they'd grab first if they had to evacuate the house! For my family, where they'd once have named favourite toys, now it would be their technology - their new form of toys.

I know my children get a kick out of reading snippets of what I've recorded about them, especially things they may have said. These things can really sum up their personalities and age at the time.

The second point I wanted you to think about regarding communication - how are you going to record your Day in the Life journaling?
Digital stamps from Big Picture Classes shop
Of course you don't have to write anything. A photo story of the day is fine on it's own. However, if you intend to write about your day, there are lots of ways to go about it. Here are a few ideas:

1. Write in first person in present tense. I've always admired this beautiful style of journaling by Ronnie at Life Captured. I always form a visual picture when I read her narrations and I'm sure that in the future her children will be magically carried back to that special nostalgic place when they read her stories.
I think this will be my choice on the day and I'll make notes as the day goes by and write my journaling in the evening while it's all fresh in my mind (or straight into a document as the day goes by, time permitting). I'll be writing about my day, from my perspective. I am the story teller.

2.  A written summary of the day, in past tense.

3. Notes and times on photos.

4.  Journaling cards to slip in pockets beside photos.

5. An hourly sentence or thought.

6. Have each member of the family write a 3x4 card about the highlight or summary of their day.

It doesn't need to be elaborate and it doesn't matter if you think you're no good at writing. Remember, this is your story. Your family will appreciate that you made the effort to record a snapshot in time involving them. Heck, they may even be surprised at what you get done in a day. Kids think food and clean laundry appears magically!

It's not only that. Life changes very quickly. It feels like a short time ago that my children were at primary school and I was taxi mum. I still am to a degree, but this is my youngest's last year of school and she's about to get her Driver's Licence. It's a funny feeling. On one hand I feel happy that 'taxi mum' time is almost over, but on the other I feel nostalgic about the times past - when conversations took place in the car on the way to school or activities. And that doesn't even begin to sum up my feelings as my children become independent adults!

As one chapter closes and yet a new one begins, it's all important to record all the details of a Day in the Life. 

My next post will be about photo ideas for Day in the Life.

Here's how I recorded the day last year. And I always like the simplicity of my 2013 pages.

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