Photo Tips | DIY Documentary

Taking pictures is the first step

You've been thinking about your friend's Documentary Family Session and you love the way everyone looks so natural. The moments you see in the photographs are perfectly imperfect and the personalities were captured flawlessly. The DIY-er in you wonders if you could capture the same kind of photos for your own family.

These days you don't need to know how to use a fancy camera. Most smart phones can take beautifully detailed photos of whatever you want. There are also many click and shoot cameras that are smaller than some phones and can take even better photos. The best thing is that the camera limitations of the past (such as being limited to the amount of photos you can take, and that you cannot access them immediately) have gone away.

It's the best thing since flushing toilets and color TV!

There are so many ways to record your days

I discussed a few ideas in a previous post, for those doing a 365 Project but if you are anything like me, you want to take at least 10, right? One little doesn't always tell the story that you want to remember, but if you take too many, the story you want to tell will get lost.

The main thing to remember is to shoot purposefully

Avoid shooting burst for every single shot. If you know that the first thing your daughter does when she leaves her room is to pet the family cat, prepare yourself for that eventuality. You just don't need a million before and after pictures of it. You know your family rhythms the best, so you have a distinct advantage in this respect to someone who doesn't.


Five Tips for your DIY Documentary Family Session

1) Think about what moments are the most important to you. Is it the quiet mornings before everyone wakes up? Is it the cuddles your children give you in the morning? Is it the way your husband makes the coffee just the way you like it?

2) What details do you attach to these moments? Your favorite coffee cup? Your son's favorite spoon? Your daughter's favorite hat? Or even the full sink of dishes? Seriously, this last one is something to think about! I no longer consider it a mark of my bad housekeeping; it's a sign that we have full lives with food to eat.

3) Document one thing at a time. There are so many things that happen during the day. You have people and other things to take care of. Choose one thing to document, be it the morning rush before work, or the evening downtime. Don't worry about missing moments; because you are already paying attention to them, you will get better at knowing when they are coming.

4) Consider videotaping parts of your day. I found a really cool app called 1 Second Everyday - it's available for the iPhone and Android devices - and it allows you to create a video using one second from each day. It's a fun way to document bits and pieces of your life (literally!)

5) Remember to include yourself in the pictures. Yes, I know, this one is HARD! My hair never looks right, my cheeks are too big and I often...okay, always...look tired! But you know what I tell myself - this is me and if I can't put myself out there without feeling self-conscious then who am I to ask others to do the same. So I do it...


My own family story

I recorded my own mini DIY documentary family photosession last week where I shared them on my Instagram account. 

In an upcoming blog post, I share some selfie tips that I use. Let's be honest...somedays I just want to look good in pictures.

See you there!