When I learned that my recently updated breakout, Photographing Your Everyday is still one of Click&Co Store’s best-selling breakouts after 4 years I was completely thrilled and surprised. Surprised, because … well… FOUR years! And thrilled … for a reason you may not assume. Even though my breakout covers in great depth my entire process of shooting, from choosing what to photograph, to how I do all the way to how I edit and design my albums … this breakout was never really about me, and still isn’t. It isn’t about numbers of sales or getting my name out there. It has always been about helping others who share my passion for documenting our lives … our real-deal lives … with photography. I want to help them … you … establish an approach, a workflow, for easily, beautifully, and thoroughly accomplishing this. I feel passionate about both the moments of our everyday and the beauty that they hold and about encouraging photographers to recognize what an opportunity these moments are for capturing in their images.
Alone, these moments may not seem all that significant. But woven together they create the beautiful, intricate and incredibly unique tapestry of our life. I love this reminder from Laura Ingalls Wilder:
Surely, they don’t always feel beautiful or enjoyable … or photo-worthy. But the motivation behind my breakout and my ongoing message to fellow photographers is just simply; they are. I love connecting with others who seek to capture this and base their purpose of photography on doing so. This is why it thrills me to know that my breakout is still speaking this message to photographers, and I certainly hope that my blog is as well. And this is also why it totally excites me when I receive an email, message or comment that encourages and ignites a conversation on this topic. Just the other day, a sweet blog reader named Alicia contacted me with this question …
You said that you began your blog to kind of document your life for your family and share your photos. I shoot every day life and also have times where I do more lifestyle/portraiture shoots. I was wondering if you could share what you have found helpful in documenting life for/about your kiddos. Do you write them letters each month? I saw that you had a section for letters to them, but just started reading so haven’t seen everything….Do you do photo shoots once a year? Every season? What have you found that works for you? Obviously, every family will be different and unique, but I am just curious because I am also interested in documenting family life and am looking into all the different ways to do that. 🙂
… and I thought it would be fun to share my response here!
So! Yes, I did start this blog about 5 1/2 years ago to share our images and my stories from motherhood. My boys weren’t then, and still really aren’t my blog audience, though they do love looking at old posts and reading my retelling of their stories. My audience then, and still is, just people who appreciate hearing from another who is experiencing what they are, experiencing what they hope to, and who have already experienced it. Also, people who just enjoy photography. 😉 How I specifically document life and keep the images for my family is in Blurb books. I used to be a devoted, traditional scrapbooker but overtime needed a quicker method and also one that could highlight the images more than the artistic touches of the layout itself. Now, my albums are a 180 from my scrapbook pages because they are digital and contain no frills! 🙂 When I see them flipping through the pages of these books, seeing the images and then retelling the stories from how they recall them, I feel like the abundance of images I’ve taken is worth it.
In those albums, I don’t include much for journaling, so I really strive to have my images tell the stories themselves as much as possible. And this is then my advice for documenting life for your children … think through what makes up your day. Do this before you have your camera in hand. And don’t just grab your camera when you see something that looks photo worthy. I talk about this a lot in my breakout, so trust me, I could go on and on! 😉 But I encourage you to think through your routines, what goes on in your everyday life … think this through as their mom. Then, as their photographer, think through how you can photograph these activities. Sometimes, it’ll be naturally as the event is unfolding. Does your younger child always stand at the window watching for brother to come home on the bus? Envision how you can capture that… prepare. And other times, you can set up these activities in a way that is beneficial for photos such as when and were there is ideal light, or an appealing background. Does your child still love to put on his costume from 3 years ago, but it now hits him at the knee rather than the ankle? Mine does! And I’m working on figuring out how to take a photo that documents this. It is perhaps possible to snap one photo and call the story told, but I really tend to move around my subjects, around and through the action …. observe, consider, and snap, observe, consider, and snap … capturing the scene, up-close details, and specific elements all while paying attention to my preferences as a photographer. This is what tells the story in a way, I feel, that is adequate without words.
I basically stick strictly to lifestyle and documentary photography with my children because it is these photos that I use to tell the stories of their childhood. (Mind you, I’m showing their activities and everyday life and telling their stories obviously from my perspective.) The only times I do traditional portrait sessions with them anymore is around their birthdays, and honestly, they are hard for me! 🙂 I’m not great at posing … my boys are super cooperative with them, thankfully but I think that’s because I so rarely do them! 😉 When they were really little and I was working on starting a business and just figuring out my camera, I did photograph them in this way more often but still … none of those are my favorites because they tell me so very little about them. Every once in awhile, though, I’ll snag a ‘portrait- like’ shot of them in amongst my everyday shooting. But even they will tell you that I prefer no eye contact and that ‘just do what you’re doing’ is my photography instruction. 🙂
And, no … I do not write them a letter each month anymore. The category of Letters to Our Sons was a blog circle I was a part of for a period of time and now that you mentioned it I realize I should have my older two go back and read these letters now! 🙂
I encourage you, Alicia, and anyone else interested in documenting life in photos, to realize what a gift it is to your family, and to you, to do this. The opportunities for challenging, artistic, meaningful images within your everyday life are endless and no one can tell these stories better than you. ♥
I also wanted to let you all know that in honor of being one of the best-selling breakouts, Click&Co Store is offering my breakout: Photographing Your Everyday, as part of a 48-hour flash sale! Until Wednesday at midnight it is 50% off! No code is needed and you can follow THIS LINK! I wrote it 4 years ago, but just updated all of the photos, the format, and the contents a few months ago to more accurately teach how I NOW document life … I hope you enjoy!
(And what’s a blog post without a few photos?)
Just giving the goat babies some extra nutrients! 🙂
Thank you for visiting, and for being along on this journey with me! ♥
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