The more I photograph, the more I understand the importance of storytelling. The two go hand-in-hand. Photographs are beautiful. But, when you incorporate words along with them, the photographs come to life. That it is probably why I enjoy Instagram as a social media outlet so much because it allows you to connect both words and photographs together and tell a good story.
This last year of my life has been so different. A very good different! I turned thirty. I became a fiancé. I started planning a wedding. I felt like a bride for the first time in my life. Throughout all of it, I found myself wanting to remember what it felt like to be in this spot. To be in this time of my life. All that left me with one question: How am I going to tell this story and remember this time?
Whether we realize it or not, we tell stories more often than we think. These days we have a TON of resources to create, document, and share our lives. We have social media, videos, websites, and blogs. If you choose not to share your information online, you can journal or photograph or create something. Depending on which option you choose, you can find yourself creating content for different types of audiences and learning how to tell a good story. It can be difficult.
For my online presence, I usually share stories on this blog and through social media accounts. On the personal side, I journal at least once a week and photograph personal memories all the time. So, I figured I would be creating content for my online presence as well as documenting personal stories just for me. Over the past year, I learned a few tips along the way that have helped me remember this time in my life, and I would love to share those with you today!
1 | Determine Your Why
Before you start writing or photographing or starting any project, I find the best place to begin is to understand why you want to tell a particular story. Think about these questions: Why is this season important? What is different? What is the purpose of remembering this time?
This step so important because at some point you are going to become unmotivated or out of ideas or questioning why you wanted to do this in the first place (or maybe all three). When you come to that point, come back to your why because it will give you perspective and strength to continue. Trust me on this one!
Here is an example of what my why looked like:
Why do I want to tell this story? Why now? Why this? Writing is a stress reliever. Knowing that this time in my life will be filled with change, I want to document what that change is. I want to remember what it felt like to plan and the steps associated with it. I want to remember my thoughts and my prayers as I go through this season. I want to remember. And if my thoughts can help someone going through this process as well, I want to share.
2 | Determine Your How
Like I mentioned earlier, we have tons of outlets to share a story these days, which it leads to good question. How do you want to share your story? Are you a huge Instagram person? Or Facebook? Or both? Do you have a blog? Or would you rather keep it personal and just for you? Would you journal or photograph personal moments?
They have a ton options out there to help you find what is right for you. I find the best rule of thumb here is to keep it simple, and realize that you can’t be everywhere all the time and do it well.
Here is an example of what my how looked like:
I am going to document this season by: (1) Writing my personal thoughts in a journal about each step of the planning process, (2) Photographing important moments of the process for me, (3) Creating blog posts each month, and (4) Sharing posts on Instagram about the planning process.
3 | Create a Timeline
What worked for me was setting a goal to write at least once a week about what was happening. Whether it was planning or decisions we were making, I jotted down what we were doing. On top that, I tried to write immediately before and/or after something took place.
Here is an example of what my timeline looked like:
– Write once a week in journal about what is happening
– Make sure to write immediately before and/or after something important takes place (for example dress shopping)
– Photograph 3 – 5 images each month of what is happening
– Edit photographs every month and upload them to storage sites
– Create one blog post each month (every 30 days or so) to share the planning process and offer tips
4 | Figure Out What Is Important to You
Remember the rule of thumb to keep it simple and that you can’t be everywhere all the time and do it well. This is great place to apply it. Make a list of topics you want to photograph or write about. Keep in mind areas that are important to you and/or your audience.
Here are examples of my important topics:
– Photograph and write about wedding dress shopping
– Write about the engagement session and share a few images online
– Share the to-do list to help others see how to manage time and to let others know what goes into planning a wedding
– Share any tips that I find along the way
– Photograph any showers/gifts/experiences
– Photograph the invitations/mailing process
Along the way, you may discover a topic that is important to you and want to add it to the list. Or the opposite might happen. You may decide that a topic isn’t as important as you thought. For me, I ended up creating posts about budgeting/saving, and I wasn’t expecting to do that.
5 | Get to Work
Let’s recap. You have a list of moments you want to write about or photograph. You have an expected timeline that shows you when you need to complete these items by. You know why and how you are going to document this season. So, now it’s time to get to work and put your ideas into action.
Start writing. Start photographing. Start editing. Start writing captions. Start creating albums. Whatever is important to you, it is time to create it. And if you find yourself feeling creatively drained, stop and take a break. Let your mind wander to something else and you will be surprised how creatively it fuels you.
Here is what I accomplished with my timeline:
– Write once a week in journal about what is happening. Completed and sometimes it happened more than once a week.
– Make sure to write immediately before and/or after something important takes place (for example dress shopping, engagement session, showers, etc.). I accomplished this for dressing shopping. For the engagement session and shower, I wrote about it immediately afterwards.
– Photograph 3 – 5 images each month of what is happening. The months of December and March this didn’t happen. All the other months, yes.
– Edit photographs every month and upload them to storage sites. Completed. I stuck to this. It is the only way to stay ahead of editing and organizing photographs.
– Create one blog post each month (every 30 days or so) to share the planning process and offer tips. I missed the months of December and March – Not bad! The other months had published posts.
XOXO – Ashley “AKA the Future Mrs. Hooker”