Friday, February 10, 2012

my process for documenting life through photos

As I said in my post the other day, this is my third year doing this project. I LOVE it!! It truly is life changing and makes you appreciate all the little moments in life! It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, which is why it's so great, you can make it your own! There are no rules, just the rules you want to make for yourself!

I thought it would be fun to share my process for documenting life. I am going to break it into four blog posts. I'll eventually link all these posts together in one spot.

My process for documenting life can be broken down into four steps:

1. Photos
2. Stories
3. Weekly layouts
4. Printing

I'll start off talking about my process for documenting life with photos....

I love taking pictures! I think that's almost a prerequisite for doing this project :) Sometimes they are amazing (at least by my standards they are!) and other times they just capture a moment. I am by no means a photographer, no matter how many people tell me I should be :) It's nice that they think so, but for me, I am just happy capturing pictures of my family and sometimes for a few friends.

Since starting this project, I have tried to take at least one photo every day. In 2009, I did just that. In 2011, I was okay with missing a few here and there. For 2012, I am not going to stress about it and just do what comes natural....documenting life. 

what I use to document life
I take 99% of my photos with my dSLR, which is a Canon Rebel XTi. I would love to have an iPhone, but sadly I don't. Sometimes I feel like I am the only person in the world who doesn't have one! The cell phone I do have does take pictures, but not the greatest, so I don't use it that much. That being said, I think in 2011, I used at least two photos taken with my cell phone. I really do need to invest in a smaller camera or get an iPhone so that I can always have a camera with me! That being said, I do take my big camera with me A LOT! 

where & when
I work full-time outside of the home, so most of my photos are taken at home in the morning before I leave for work or at night when I come home from work. Obviously, weekends are a whole other story!

I do struggle with only being able to take photos first thing in the morning and in the evening. It's especially hard this time of year, as it's winter and we have limited daylight, although the days are getting longer!!! YAY!! In the spring, summer and fall I don't struggle as much. But basically from November to April we're indoors a lot!! If I don't take any photos in the morning, than I try to take a photo as soon as I get home from work. This is because I don't like to use my flash, I would much rather use natural light. That being said, I do sometimes turn the flash on if it's dark in the house. Now if I had a decent camera on my phone to carry with me at all times, I may find myself documenting more of my daily life at work, which I think would be neat! Maybe I'll make that happen this year :)

Even though most of my photos are taken around our home and local parks, etc, I do take my camera out with me in public. I know lots of people do this, but not where I live they don't! I am in a small town and I have NEVER seen anyone else like me!! Trust me, if I did, I would go up and ask them if they're doing Project Life too!! I take photos in the grocery story, the mall, a favourite restaurant, etc. Sometimes I want to take a picture in public, but don't because of the size of my camera. Again, this is where having an iPhone would be nice! It's not uncommon to see people taking pictures with their cell phones. No one gives those people strange looks, but as soon as you pull out a big ole camera, you get a funny look! LOL

I take pictures of just about anything!

There are times I need inspiration from others! This is why challenges are great and seeing what others are documenting in their Project Life pages. Our daily/weekly routine is always fun to capture, especially what we do every morning and night.I also truly believe in ensuring that we, the parents are included in the photos at least once a week! My girls love seeing photos of us with them.

It truly is the everyday moments of life that make up most of my photos.

I take pictures of handwritten notes & lists, artwork, receipts, books, etc or I also take screen shots of stuff I want to include on my pages. This is my way of including the memorabilia part of this project. Although, I do have a plan for some of the physical "stuff" that I like to keep that I obviously can't include in my digital layouts, but I can include in an album...more about that another time :)
I am not the only one who takes photos. My husband, whether he likes it or not does take quite a few photos too! He isn't as instinctive about grabbing the camera and taking a picture as I am but he is getting better.  If he's not around and I want to capture me doing something with the girls, than I use my self-timer on my camera. I also have a wireless remote that I use and love!! Having pictures of me doing things, like baking with my girls is SO important to me! These are the types of photos I wish I had of my Mom and me from when I was a kid.

This year, I would love to have my girls start taking pictures. My oldest has a toy camera that takes pictures, but even she recognizes that the quality isn't very good! Just the other day she asked for a new camera! Music to my ears!! She always says she wants to be just like me when she grows up! The two of us actually had a conversation last week about "picture of the day", that's what she calls it. Because now when she sees me taking a picture she asks, "Mommy, is that going to be the picture of the day?" I love this!! Because of her interest, I think it would be nice to start having her take the picture of the day. How fun would that be!!

after the photos are captured
I typically wait until the weekend to download my photos from the week. It's at this time that I also edit my favourites. I usually only select one photo for each day to include in my weekly layouts, but I like the idea of including a bunch in a 4x6 or even 3x4 grid. That's something I think I'll start doing this year!

My process for editing is probably just like the rest of you, I brighten the photos, maybe add a pop of colour, crop them a bit, etc. For the most part, I don't spend a lot of time editing my everyday photos. The only time I spend more time is if I did a photo shoot with my girls.

telling the stories behind the photos
After I've edited my favourites, I start working on my blog posts. This is where I think I differ from most people, in that I actually create a blog post for each day that includes my favourite photos from the day, along with the story I want to capture.

I'll explain my process for capturing my stories in an upcoming blog post, so look for that soon!


  1. Hi! I discovered you through Becky. I would LOVE to know your process for putting the page together. Not just the Project Life but your other pages. What's your scrapbook flow. I'm just a newbie to the digital way and I'm overwhelmed with how to get the paper, embellishment, etc. together to make a good layout. Could you do a future post about that?

  2. Hi Sheri! I too discovered your work through Becky. I LOVE your style and all the books you made through Blurb! I have done PL digitally through Zilbio the past 2 years. I just haven't been able to get into it on Shutterfly this year, not sure why. I'm still taking the pictures and jotting down daily happenings in my pocket calendar, but it's not flowing for me. I'm inspired by your layouts using Becky's digital elements offered through Jessica Sprague. I've never gotten into digital layouts other than photo books where you just drop photos & journaling. I'm nervous to start, as there are so many options out there and I could see myself spending ALOT of money buying all the different embellishments, papers, etc. and ALOT more time playing with all the layouts. Any thoughts? BTW You remind me so much of myself, same big camera, in a small town, & working outside home fulltime. I so look forward to following your blog!


You might also like:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...