9 : A Day in the Life

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Fly on the wall

Have you heard the phrase "The days are long but the years are short"? As parents, the time with our children flies by in a haze with so many of the small details lost in the rush. This week we are completing a documentary assignment to capture these moments, big and small.

You will be photographing your daily life on a timed basis (more instructions below.) Forcing yourself to take a photograph at set intervals may seem odd because the timing may not correlate to the most exciting parts of your day. Surprisingly, it has the wonderful effect of capturing a moment in time with clarity. 

As your day progresses, you will probably encounter many different lighting and composition challenges. The day will give you plenty of opportunities to try the techniques you have learned in Shoot Along so far. Though this assignment is quite involved, past participants have said that this is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling parts of the Shoot Along project. Some parents even repeat this assignment on their own several times throughout the year!

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A note from Heidi: "I completed a modified version, capturing my youngest daughter throughout our morning routine. Of my three children, she is the biggest dreamer. She happily lives in a world that she has contrived full of sweetness and imagination. Her worldview acts as a buffer to some of the realities of growing up. I get a glimpse of that dreaminess in these rapid-fire shots - the way that she chooses to lay on the sofa to look at the clouds before breakfast, for example.

In taking these pictures, I am reminded that recording everyday, mundane tasks such as brushing teeth or making a packed lunch to take to school, are just as worthy as photographing the big milestones and epic moments. I see small details that are overlooked in the usual craziness of our morning... the little hairs on her arm catching the light when she practices piano, the way the paint is peeling off her favorite thermos, and the physical closeness and proximity next to her best friend as they walk down the sidewalk to school."

Here is another photographer's take, with more insights about the benefits of this type of project.

Here is a past Shoot Along student's full post about this project:

Carlie Dalitz's Blog

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Creative Prompts

Document just one day in your life, but do it FULL ON! 

  1. Wake up with your camera placed next to your bed.
  2. When you wake up, take a picture. 
  3. From this point onward, set a timer on your watch or cellphone to go off every 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, take a picture or two no matter what is happening. Don't worry about setting up the perfect shot. Shoot and move on.
  4. Repeat until the end of the day, by which point you will have 75-100 shots showing a huge variety.

Will there be some duds throughout the day? Yes. But there will be some gems, too...


Share your images!

For Day in the Life projects, it is fun to share a collage. The moderators will be listing a few ways to make collages. Some of our members even have their own personal blogs. If you post your images on your blog please be sure to share with the group, too!