Article by Justine Boulin, sharing some tips for capturing memories through a photo project.
Last year, after my son was born, I wanted to document it all. Being a photographer, I decided to do a ‘photo a day’ project – more commonly called a ‘365 project’. It’s been so much fun, and yes, very challenging at times! But it’s been the best thing I’ve done with him so far. It has been so great looking back on our year and seeing him grow and change. I think a photo project would be such an amazing thing for other moms to do as well. I thought I’d offer some tips and ideas for creating your own photo project with your kids for 2013.
First off, a photo a day is a huge, daunting task. If I wasn’t a photographer I likely would not be doing it. Instead, I’m proposing a smaller scale project that anyone with a smart phone can do: a photo a week. 52 weeks in a year, 52 photos. At the end of the year they can be made into a coffee table book and an album can be gifted to grandparents for Christmas. How much fun would that be to record your kids’ year on a weekly basis?
After doing my own year of photos in 2012, I have some suggestions to make it a lot easier. I thought I’d share 10 tips with you so you can get started on your ‘project 52’ with your kids!
Tips for Doing Your Photo Project
1. Keep it Simple!
Like most moms, I’m usually quite busy. But I always have my camera with me. You don’t need a fancy camera. A smart phone with a camera will do. There are so many great apps now. Snap your picture. Edit it on your phone and store it somewhere for that week. If you have more than one child, I suggest keeping folders (assuming you’ll want to a do a photo of each child) to keep it all organized.
2. Don’t Pose Your Kids
Some of my favorite photos of my son this past year were ones where I just snapped a quick one of him doing his thing. Take photos of your kids in the moment doing what they do best. It could be sleeping, playing, drawing, eating, and so on.
3. If You Are Posing, Think it Through
Don’t just pose your child to get a smiling picture while looking at the camera. Pose if you happen to be walking by a cool background, or they just got a brand new hat they love, or a sweater that’s a favorite and you want to get a picture while your little one is wearing it.
4. Capture the Milestones
Birthdays, first steps, learning to ride a bike, tying shoelaces and heading off for the first day of school are all moments you’ll want to remember.
5. Change Your Perspective
Get down on your child’s level. Shoot from above, in front, behind, and below. Pictures don’t always have to be taken head on standing up straight. I’m often climbing on benches or lying on the ground to get my photo. You may get some funny looks, but that makes it even more fun!
6. Get Creative
Try to compose your photo creatively. Look at shadows, reflections, the light and the surrounding environment.
7. Don’t Show Faces
This may seem funny, but sometimes the best photos are the smaller details – little hands and feet (what are they doing?), head chops that are intentional, and shots from so far away that you can’t even tell who it is in the photo.
8. Get in the Photo Yourself
Of course you want to be in the picture! Have your partner or a friend take it, or set the self timer. Don’t worry how you look in the photo. It’s for your kids to look back on, too!
9. Have Fun With It
Wait until your kids are in a silly mood and just snap away. This way you’ll be guaranteed to capture personalities rather than forcing it!
10. Write a Story With Each Photo
This one is extra bonus points! It’s fun to have a small few sentences to go along with each picture (set the scene). It would be a neat addition to have for your book at the end of the year. It is a bit more work if you choose to do it, but you’ll treasure your words years from now.
I admit, I was scared about my own photo project at first. I was worried that I would miss a day, or just give up a few months in. I was concerned about finding inspiration to take a cool shot each day. But I did it. And it just got easier and easier. I’ve gotten better at seeing a quick moment of my son doing something, pulling out my camera and snapping the picture. And I know you will, too! And you’ll be so happy when the year is up and you have it to look back on!
Have you ever tried a photo project with your kids? Leave us a reply and tell us about it!
Justine Boulin of B Life Photography is a lifestyle photographer specializing in maternity, newborn, baby, child and family photos. She was also one of our Top 30 Vancouver Mom Bloggers for 2012. She takes photos on location, using natural light and your surroundings. Justine believes every family needs beautiful images of their most memorable moments – without the props and studio backdrops. She believes in images that are natural and honest and the B life Photography experience revolves around capturing your life just as it is, in the moment.