Quick Photo Tips For Tackling Project Life

by Tammy on May 18, 2011

Credit: www.sxc.hu/photo/1243035

Whenever I talk about Project Life or albums like it, someone always says that they don’t think they can make a commitment to take photos every day. Quite honestly, it’s not always easy to stay focused. It can be hard to keep your photographer’s hat on all day, looking for that moment to capture.

And that’s coming from a single girl with no children and no pets. I don’t have a built in audience to take photos of. Anything that happens in and around my household is my doing and I’m not all that exciting! Having said that, I’ve never had a hard time coming up with things to photograph. Are all of my pictures awesome? No – far from it.

To me, that’s the coolest thing about this project. That you capture all the mundane things you do on a daily basis. Things that might never end up in your scrapbooks. It’s a quick little glimpse into your life as it is today, right now.

I thought I would offer a few tips to anyone that is contemplating a Project Life type project:

  1. You don’t really have to take a photo every day. I don’t. Yes, it’s definitely easier when you remember, but if I forgot to take a photo on April 29th, I’ll take one today. Or, I’ll find a photo online of William and Kate’s royal wedding. I don’t care if I use a photo I took today and say it’s April 29th. For me, it’s still close enough. Try not to take the project so literally, leave some room for flexibility. (I really do have a photo I printed from the Internet of the royal wedding my album.) I love adding photos big news stories. It adds another layer of history.
  2. Don’t look at it as a year-long project. 365 days is a long time. And if you are starting in the middle of June, 365 may not even apply. Take it day by day. Get through a few days and then try for a week. Get through a week and then try for another. Get through a few weeks and pretty soon you’re one month down. Eventually, you just get into a groove and its second nature to make sure the camera (or a phone with a camera!) is with you all the time.
  3. Take a look at some photo prompt blogs. Katrina Kennedy’s Capture Your 365 site has a ton of great ideas. She posts an “inspiration” list every month, with a prompt for each day. Creating Keepsakes Magazine offered these 365 Ideas for Photos. Photojojo.com offers some good tips and inspiration here. Check out this blog post at Digital Photography School – it includes links to some fantastic photo posts!
  4. After you soak in the ideas, create your own list. Write a list of all the ideas that appeal to you. Refer to it anytime you lack inspiration. Remind yourself of photos you want to capture and then go and shoot them. As you cross things off the list, you’ll think of more ideas. Think up a series of photos you can take. I do a self-portrait on the 19th of each month. Maybe you take a photo of your lunch every day for a week or you take photos of the tree in the back yard showing the changing seasons.
  5. Never say to yourself you can’t find anything to shoot. If you say it, you may start to believe it. You may be too tired to find something that appeals to you in the moment, but that’s not the same thing as having nothing to take a photo of. Every corner of your living space looks different at different times of the day. Is taking a photo of your staircase landing that exciting? Maybe not but it might be really cool to capture a stream of light as it hits the landing at just the right time in the morning.

Lastly, I thought I would leave you with a few random ideas that I have used in my own Everyday Life projects:

*a pile of mail on the counter *the latest book I was reading on my beside table * ingredients lined up on the kitchen counter for dinner *the front page of the newspaper *my grocery list and coupons *grocery bags on the counter waiting to be put away *my scrapbook space with layout in progress *the magazines on my kitchen table *a photo along my commute *gas prices *photos around the house like my shower door that has a rack hanging with several shower gels, my make-up drawer, curling irons on the counter, my jewelry box, etc… *looking down the street in my neighborhood *the street sign of my street *the front of my favorite grocery store *the contents of a UPS box that was just delivered *many nature photos during all four seasons *the Easter candy isle in March *the flip flop isle in June *the first Christmas isle that pops up in September *my favorite beverage *a fruit display at the farmer’s market *pumpkins and apples in the fall *a photo of the restaurant where I had dinner with friends *a photo in front of the movie poster of the movie I just watched *the paint chip isle picking out paint colors *a photo from the car when you are stopped at an intersection in town *an open suitcase on the bed packing for a big trip *household chores like laundry, vacuuming, dishes, etc… *a screen shot of my iTunes playlist *a photo of the latest CD I downloaded by my favorite band *a new cookbook *storm clouds rolling in *blue skies and fluffy white clouds *making my favorite muffins on a Sunday morning *a photo of my hands as I’m painting my nails…

The list really is endless. Inspiration is all around you, you just have to look for it.

Thanks for stopping by today!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Helena c May 18, 2011 at 8:26 am

great set of ideas. I did 365 last year and like you I am single, no kids, no pets. Most days I took several photos and love looking back on the details of normal life – what I was eating / reading /watching on TV / wearing as well as the events

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2 Tammy May 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm

I need to do more photos of favorite outfits. I definitely go in phases and I think that would be something fun to look back on. Maybe I should add shoes to the list too! LOL :D

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3 Becky G May 18, 2011 at 9:13 am

I guess it’s kind of like journaling, in a journal. I use to do it every day and just write about the normal boring stuff I was doing, but it is so much fun to go back and read it! Thanks for the tips! Hope all your house stuff is going well.

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4 Tammy May 18, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Yes, you can think of it the same way. I wish I had photos of my granmothers doing all these everyday things. How cool would that be??? So that’s why I think that some future generation is going to be interested in what products looked like and how outdated our iPhones and e-readers are. :)

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5 Debbie P May 18, 2011 at 9:30 am

I like the idea of taking a photo of your mail. This is something that someday may not be around. I also include news items that we feel important or historical items.

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6 Tammy May 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Right? Half of my bills are already paperless so mail very well could be gone someday. Same thing with magazines. I totally need to add more news stuff. Big things have happened recently and I forgot to include them. So I started searching and found some great photos online that I can use.

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7 Nat May 18, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Fantastic advice not only for a 365 project but just photo taking in general. I find as I scrapbook more, I realize what types of pictures I would most like to have to remember something by. I then apply it more in my daily life.

I also believe that you get a better feel of what to take pictures of and learn how to take better pictures by simply doing it all the time. Since most everyone uses digital now, there’s no harm in taking pictures now and deleting them later for trial and error.

I downloaded and printed the wedding program and picked up the wedding edition of People magazine for my scrapbook!

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8 Tammy May 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I totally agree. That’s the part that people sometimes don’t connect with, that the more you do it, the easier it is. I could never imagine doing this with a film camera. When I take my self-portrait, I’ll take like 200 photos just to find a few that are acceptable. Your point is well taken – snap away with that digital camera. :)

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9 Amanda (Scrappnbee) May 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Thanks for all of the tips! I haven’t done the Project 365 thing yet, but thought about tackling it during my husband’s deployment next year.

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10 Tammy May 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Amanda, that is such a great idea! Your life will be different, he’s missing so much but you’ll be able to share every day with him. I love that. :)

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11 Tracy May 18, 2011 at 9:35 pm

I have 3 daughters, but they don’t like when I take photos of them that much. so most of my photos are of the everyday, mundane things.
Like my favourite bowl of cereal right now, or the empty toliet paper rolls no one seems to throw in the recycling, lol
Thanks for sharing your list, there are some more idea for me to try.

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12 Steph/MizzBzb May 19, 2011 at 9:15 am

These are great tips! I have always wanted to do a 365 project but am SO bad about taking pictures and always feel like I don’t have anything to scrapbook because we don’t have kids but these are great ideas!!

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13 Sheri Twing May 20, 2011 at 9:57 am

Great tips Tammy!!! I love seeing your Project Life photos when you share them. Thanks for the inspiration!

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14 Sandra August 25, 2011 at 3:24 am

I actually have a blog where I post a pic a day, either something I took or something off the internet…never thought to make it into scrapbook pages…maybe I’ll do it in the form of a mini book instead

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