I photograph tons of pictures throughout a year, and I love documenting life. Whether it is for my clients or for personal use, I love photographs. You can imagine with so many photographs it is hard to stay organized, focused, and disciplined.
Throughout the years, I have researched photography organization tips. I have tried yearly photography projects in the past. Some worked and some did not. I have created albums. I have prints. I have posted on social media. After many trials and learning what works best for me, I found a sweet spot for my personal photography journey.
I started with defining what I wanted to photograph in my life. I focused on two areas: every day life and special occasions.
Every day life includes photographs of myself and my husband, our puppies, doing things I love to do (e.g. walking our dogs, cooking, etc.), our home, details of a season (e.g. swimming in the summer, playing in snow for the winter, etc.). Moments that are a part of my every day life, and I want to remember.
A side from photographing every day life, I photograph special occasions. These include vacations, birthdays, get-togethers with family, events with my niece and nephew (e.g. baseball games, dance recitals, school events, etc.).
My goal is to photograph at least one photograph each month that represents my life.
Why one photograph? Because it is doable. Do I normally photograph more? Absolutely. This allows me to feel productive even during a crazy, busy month, and it reminds me to pick up my camera not just for work but for fun as well.
I use a combination of my iPhone, my DSLR, and my film camera to document my personal life.
If it is a day where I want my hands to be free or if the weather is rainy (and I don’t want to chance my camera in the elements), I will keep my iPhone with me to photograph. If it is a moment where I need just a few photographs or if it is a difficult lighting situation (like my niece’s dance recital), I photograph with my DSLR. If I know I can photograph a full roll of film and it is within my budget, I use my film camera (like on family vacations).
“The best camera is the one you have with you.” I have heard this saying many times, and it is so true. I have struggled in the past with wanting to use my DSLR for everything, but in reality it was hard to carry around so often. I have learned to use what I have and to take the best photograph possible while using what is around me.
I am known for taking a personal photograph and leaving it on my camera card without uploading or editing it for months at a time.
What I learned is to place a reminder on my calendar to edit, upload, and store photographs each month. Because I upload on a monthly basis, I created folders on my desktop for each month throughout the year (e.g. January, February, March, etc.). At the end of every month I upload every personal photograph I have taken, edit them, and export them to the specific monthly folder. Once that is completed, I upload the photographs to storage sites.
At the end of every year, I create an album with my favorite photographs.
One thing I remember about my grandmother was her stacks of photo albums that she stored underneath her coffee table. I loved that her home was filled with photographs and memories. I want to make sure my photographs live beyond my camera card and computer. So, I print albums every year.
I keep the design simple. I focus on three to four layouts that include a combination of collage pages, single photograph pages, and some pages with words. One design aspect that I always splurge on is lay-flat pages. It completely changes an album and allows you to see every photograph especially with collage pages.
The reason I fell in love with photography was the way I captured moments within my life and my family. I never want to lose those moments and memories. It may take a lot of trial and error to find out what personal photography means to you, but it is worth the time and effort. You will love looking back on those photographs throughout the years!
So, tell me… How do you tackle personal photography?
XOXO – Ashley