Photos are a huge piece of documenting a Week In The Life™.
Someone on Twitter recently mentioned that they fall more in love with photography after working through this project each and every year. I feel exactly the same way. There's something very special about focusing on everyday life photography so intensely for a whole week. Every single year I'm given the gift of at least a couple photos that become some of my personal favorites for the year, if not of all time.
As we get ready to embark on another Week In The Life™ adventure next week, here are some things to think about related to the photos:
1. Look for white space when taking your photos. What does that mean? It means looking through the lens and adjusting the composition of the photo to show more sky or more ground or more wall - essentially blank space within the photo where you can add your stories via photoshop or with a pen directly on the photos. Last year I added words to just about every single photo in my album. You don't have to follow that lead, but man I love that I took the time and the effort to add all those words.
2. Pick something to capture and repeat it each and every day. In 2012 I took a photo of myself sitting at my dining room table each day. Think about what you do daily - that might seem super basic like sitting in your car or riding the bus or at your desk - but can become a bit more interesting when it's visually repeated. I used that series of photos in my Project Life® 2012 album during the Week In The Life™ week (which is a question that often comes up about what to do in PL during WITL).
3. Make friends with your timer BEFORE the week begins. Practice a bit (this weekend would be a great time to do that). Read the manual - or at least read about the timer feature. It's important that YOU are a part of the visual story you are telling. Self-portriats are a very important piece of this project for me - I want to literally see myself inhabiting my life. For the photo above I set my DSLR down on the floor of the grocery store, set the timer, clicked the shutter, and walked back to my cart and reached for a bottle of soy sauce. Remember that self-portraits don't always have to be shots of your face - capture yourself in your normal environments (bed, desk, car, couch, table, etc) doing what you regularly do in your life.
4. These days I take most of my everyday shots with my iPhone. BUT for this project I almost always use my DSLR more. The best camera is obviously the one you have with you - for this project I make it a point to have it with me and to use it.
5. Take photos of things. The way your room is currently set up. Your closet. Bookshelves. Stacks of stuff. Dishes in your cabinet. Kids toys. What are you into? What are they into? What are your pets into?
6. Get close up and far away. One of the ways I include things is by not always getting up so close as to block out things in the background. Get a combo of close up faces and full rooms - doing this gives you the most flexibility when it comes time to bring all your content together. Also, having options allows you to tell different types of stories - the close-up shot might be great for one story about the thing itself whereas the wide shot might be great for telling a different kind of story.
7. Along those lines, I want a record of the way things are, not how I wish them to be. That might mean messes. That might mean the unmatched bedding. That might mean weeds. That might mean you doing the same thing over and over during the course of the week.
8. Make a date with the obvious. The obvious are the things you look at every single day and probably pay very little attention to it. Photograph that stuff. Dishes or doing the dished. Drawers. Work space. Shoes in the closet. Cereal. Saying the evening prayer. Things that you walk by all the time that you barely pay attention to.
9. Look for opportunities to document relationships. This can be people to people, but it's often even more interesting to capture the relationship that people have to their surroundings - a child to it's bedroom, the family to the dinning room table, an adult to their favorite chair, a child to their most treasured toy. Aim to capture those you love, or yourself, in their environment/element, doing what they regularly do. These are some of my favorite shots.
10. After doing this project for many years I've developed some personal photography rhythms. I don't try to capture every little thing every day. My goal, over the course of the week, is to have captured a good visual representation of our lives right now. I might miss a morning or an evening or parts of each day and that's okay. Find a pace that works for you. Remember this is one week.
You can do this. Celebrate the life you are living - the imperfect, beautiful, hard, awesomeness of your very own life.
In terms of my personal process during the week, each evening I upload my photos and write about the day - sharing it in a blog post the following day. This is definitely a time commitment but it's super worth it when I go to work on brining all my content together and I have all the words right there to flow into my album.
Also remember that you might not use all the photos you take this week in one album. Most people take more than they need - which is awesome because it gives you choice (which can also be challenging for people who have trouble with too many choices). Those photos are often used to tell other stories in tradional layouts or Project Life® - or they simply become part of my photo collection.
Take some time to consider, maybe even make a list of the things you want to make sure to capture over the course of the week. A couple things to consider:
- a self-portrait each day // remember that it doesn't have to be your face - think feet (showing where you are going), hands (showing you doing something), parts of your face, etc
- a photo of everyone in your household all together // I took one photo of the three of us last year during WITL that ended up on our Christmas card
- the inside of your bag or purse or wallet // very "right now"
- the place you rest // couch, bed, outside, inside
- the place you play
- what you are reading
- what you are watching
- what you care about most in the whole world
- your daily outfit // what makes the way you dress "you"
- up-close portraits of your family members // your camera is out and you are capturing the stuff of life - might as well try to get a couple great shots of other family members or yourself along the way
Looking for more photo ideas? Here are a couple recommended reads:
- 5 Tips For Lifestyle Photography from A Beautiful Mess
- 5 Tips For Taking Everyday Life Photos from Get It Scrapped
- Capture Your 365 has some great photo lists each month - here's the one for August
- Assignment Daily Life from National Geographic
Most of all, have fun and capture your own life through the lens of whatever camera you have available and add context via your words.
You can do this.