Have you been participating in A Week In the Life with Ali Edwards?
At the beginning of my lunch break on Tuesday (the second day) I got online and saw that she had started it so I grabbed my camera and decided to use it to motivate me to learn to take photos in this new house.
We’ve been here almost three years and I still had not found a photography routine here as of Tuesday morning.
I say, “as of Tuesday morning,” because by participating in the photo phase of A Week In the Life last week, I’m finally finding my way around this house with my camera. Every morning I started the day by looking at Ali’s photos, noticing how she aims or what she aims at, and then keeping that in mind as I went about my business.
So I want to share some of the things I learned from Ali along with several of my own photos.
Shoot from above.
I love it when Ali does shots like this. Our stairs are quite a distance away from this seating area — 15-20 feet — so I never thought I could get this shot. I finally decided to actually try and was surprised that my camera and lens could totally handle it.
Now I have a new card in my photography deck.
Aim toward windows. Don’t let them stop you.
When you put your subjects in front of bright light you darken the subjects, so I’ve usually tried to avoid as much window as possible, which limited me to awkward angles. Sometimes I just fail to get a picture because I know the lighting won’t be great.
But Ali shoots it anyway, and I love the regular photos she takes of herself and her family sitting at their dining table, surrounded by windows. Never mind the imperfect lighting — the story capture and the framing draw me in.
This one got a bit too blown out but it’s good enough for me.
Shoot in the semi-dark.
We were excited for Game of Thrones night on Sunday (which, by the way, met our expectations). Darkness is not good for photos. So how is it that I love Ali’s dark evening photos so much?
Again, when the framing and real-life capture are compelling, then I don’t care so much about whether a photo is technically ideal.
There is something to say for lamps, though. Ali has lamps in her darker evening photos and they’re great for creating a warm, cozy mood. Plus, it adds more contrast between light and dark, making evening photos more interesting.
We have yet to get a side table for our seating area, thus no lamp in this room. We actually need lamps all over the house, but it will be a while. I’m still going to take these evening shots, though.
Shoot from the floor and the table.
There’s something really cool about the plane of the floor and how it leads the eye to the photo subject when you put your camera on the floor to get the shot. It creates a feeling of movement.
The same thing happens when you put the camera on the table, and Ali is great at getting good lines and planes on tables. I still need to practice that. I don’t have the cool lengthening plane in this shot, but I still like the way the photo highlights my supplies.
Here’s another table shot that doesn’t have the elongated plane that Ali is great at getting, but I do like the reflection on the counter top.
Get yourself in the photo by putting the camera on a surface that is across from you.
My goal this week was to find more surfaces than the few I’d been using before. The funny thing about this is the surfaces I “discovered” last week were always around me. And they were obvious. I was focusing on getting a great photo, so I had unconsciously limited my options and never even tried many of the surfaces and angles.
The great thing about participating in the photo shooting part of Week In the Life was that I didn’t have time to try and get the ideal photo. I didn’t have time to try again and again. I had things to do and so I had to quickly set the camera somewhere, take the shot in just a couple tries and move on hoping it was good enough.
From a table…
From a window ledge…
From a counter top…
From a chair I pulled out from the kitchen table…
Shoot one room from the other side of the door
Whenever I walk by this doorway while I’m in my kitchen and get a view of this bookshelf I feel happy. So why not get that shot?
Ali does this all the time and I’ve always loved how these photos of hers create a feeling of intimacy and like you’re getting the special privilege of being able to peek in on somebody’s life.
Learn from what’s missing
My goal was not to do the entire Week In the Life project. I was not up to documenting entire days, nor an entire week, nor make an album for it (maybe next time?). I just wanted to get inspiration from Ali’s photos and spend a week finding more ways to shoot our everyday life at home.
For that reason my collection of photos from this week is much smaller than most people’s. But it gave me a good idea of what’s missing in my documentation and what I need to actively look for.
Here are some of the other things I did capture, and below that is a list of what I realize I missed and still need to get:
Here’s what I see I’m missing as I look through my photos…
- interaction between family members
- Aiden — the biggest introvert of the family who is usually up in his room
- my kids in their bedroom
- Blake going off to work or at his workplace
- Izzy in his office
- Me working
- Izzy composing music
- Me as a homeschool teacher to Trinity
- Izzy cooking
- Me in the laundry room
- Many of the rooms and spaces in our house and yard
- Me outside working with my plants and garden
- Trinity heading out to dance
- Aiden heading out to gymnastics
Some thoughts on photo captions
You probably noticed that some of my photos have captions attached. After choosing my favorite photos, I titled all of them, and captioned the ones that need an extra explanation beyond just the title.
What you see above are those captions. The titles don’t show up here, but they are present in my photos software (I’m currently using the Photos App by Apple).
I believe that captioning our photos is the number one most important thing we can do for memory-keeping. It gives me more joy than all the beautiful, colorful products I love to play with.
Do it right away.
Our lives are busy. Our minds are cluttered. It can take as short as a week or two to forget what someone was doing when we took a photo, so always make a quick note soon after you shoot!
What did YOU learn?
Did you participate in the photo taking for Week In the Life last week? What did you learn?
Go ahead and weigh in!