Sunday, July 16, 2017

Following on from yesterday's post about Photo Projects and Books

One other major photography project that I undertook with a friend was "Project 365" in 2009.  This is a well known project where you take one photo a day for 365 days straight.  It sounds like a big commitment but it's only one photo a day which can take a couple of minutes.  I did it with a good friend of mine and we would email each other our photos at the end of the day.  I never missed a day and it was fun thinking about what photo I was going to take for the day.  At the time I was already using my camera 3-4 days a week so it wasn't much of a stretch.  

One thing that is great about that project is you can see the improvement in your photos over time, better composition, more understanding of your camera dials, enjoyment over remembering the simple things.  My plan was easy, I would think about the week ahead and work out which days we had something on that a photo would be taken eg. playgroup, friends catch up etc and on the other days I would just see how things would unfold.  Mostly it was really hard to narrow it down to just one picture.  Not all the photos were of my kids, sometimes they were of a bunch of flowers, our dinner, the blue sky, the famous Brisbane dust storm (do you remember weird).

My purpose for this project was to end up with a canvas with all the 365 photos on them.  At the same time I used a Kikki K photo box and printed the photos complete with the photo number and description of the photo.  eg 5th January, 2009 - 5/365 Summer time fun in the pool.  I have all those photos in the Kikki K photo box to look back on with the words.  The big project was the canvas which hangs in our dining room.  Often at dinner my daughter will play an "eye spy" game and say "I spy with my big eye (yes she uses big instead of little) Aunty Lisa's fish and we have to look the canvas and find the picture.  I remember taking each one of those photos and it is such a great project.

Before I started the project I went and saw a company who printed Canvas (way before Kmart, Big W and Harvey Norman were doing them) and I told the guy what I wanted to do and we worked out a size and how big the images would be and then all I needed to do was in one year's time give him the USB with the images in order.  Fast forward a year and the guy had sold the business but the new owner was just as keen and he did an amazing job.  He set up a Photoshop template dropped all the images in and printed the Canvas on his expensive fancy machine.  It was so exciting to see all the images together.  My photography has come a long way since 2009 however it's the memories in these photos that I treasure not the technically perfect photo.

Here's a picture of the Canvas on the wall.

Just let me tell you that I can name two people one local, and known to me, and one overseas that I follow and both of these ladies embarked on a Photo a Day project of their family.  Just everyday at home photos of the kids eating dinner, watching tv, playing games etc.  In both these cases sadly one of their children passed away that year.  My friends 8 year old daughter died 6 months after getting Leukemia that year and one of the biggest gifts she had was that I encouraged her to do Project 365.  She said she would not have captured all those everyday at home photos of her daughter had she not started this project and wrote me a letter to say how much those photos meant to her and was so thankful I encouraged her to participate that year.

The other one a beautiful Mum in the US had her 2.5 year old son suddenly pass away in the middle of the night a few weeks ago and she had been posting photos everyday of their "photo a day project" prior to this.  I pray to God this doesn't happen to anyone however it just goes to show how important photos are and documenting our everyday life at home because you just never know what is going to happen in the future.  Remember the camera normally comes out for those special birthday, holidays and Christmas type of events.  Just document your life, as it is now complete with messy kitchen, messy hair, life at home with your family.

If you haven't ever done a photo book on line it can seem daunting and overwhelming.  My best advice to you is spend an hour a day or an hour a week going through your trip photos or your year's photos and picking the images.  They don't have to be the exact images to go in your book, however they may be a collection from which to choose from.  Once you pick your images edit them with your cameras' software to fine tune them. Make them brighter if they are to dark.  Crop them if there are things you don't need on the edge of the picture.  There are lots of simple edits you can do to tweak them.  I think some of the photo book companies might have little editing tools within but not sure.  So now you have say 200 photos from your trip that you might end up using 120-150 photos for your book.  You usually load them into the photo book work space/software and usually it's a drag and drop method to pop your image into the space on the page in your book.  Most photo book companies come with standard templates (pages that might have spots for 1, 2, 4, 6 images to a page) and you just select that page and drop your images into them.

Most of your time will be spent going through your photos and picking the ones you want for your book.  Put them onto a USB or make a new folder on your desktop so that those images are together in one location.  Once that is done the rest is not that hard.  

I prefer to use software that I can work "offline" on my own computer and then load the book once it's completed.  That means I download the software to my computer work on the pages and when I'm ready to print I just upload the book.  As my Week in the Life book is so detailed the upload could take 30 minutes from memory.

Here is a link to my 2012 Week in the Life pages and how I went about my book and some images from 2010 Week in the Life book.

This is the link to the designer and her book where I purchased my Photoshop Templates and used them for my WITL project.

If you need more inspiration or tips on how to make photo books here's a few other links for you.

My pinterest board on photo book ideas.

Make a photo book on your veggie garden. I've done this after seeing Elise's book.

This is another apartment Elise lived in and documented.  I wish I had done this when I first moved out of home and the places I lived in.

This is Tracey Larsen's Week in the Life in the same format that I do mine in.

Tips from Rebecca on photo books and documentation.

I hope this gives you some inspiration and motivation to get started to go through those photos on your hard drive.  I don't put any time pressure on myself for my photo book projects.  My 52 Project I add the photos to my folder and template each week which takes about 10 minutes.  My Week in the Life book I spend time getting all the photos into the pages as the first step.  The 2nd step is to write the stories and the third step is to upload the pages to the photo book.  I've been working on and off my pages for about 2 months and I'm pretty close to having them ready to upload.  As long as they get done at some stage and off my computer.  Putting together this photo book a year later is quite lovely because you get to go back a year in time when the kids were younger and you remember that particular week with fond memories.  What are you waiting for....go and document and print your life.  It's totally worth it.  


  1. Thanks for the detail you've provided here, Kathy. I'd love to make a photo book with images from all the times we have been on our annual island holiday, each year our son being that one year older and changing so much. Meg:)

    1. That's a great idea.....I find that breaking the task into steps makes it not so daunting. eg 1. locate photos for year 2010, edit and put into folder. (2 hours) 2. locate photos for 2011 edit and put into folder. 2 hours) 3. locate photos for 2012 edit and put into folder (2 hours). 4. Decide what album company you want to use and download the software and spend time working it out (2 hours). 5. Upload images to software (1 hour) 6. Drag and drop images (2 hours) 7. Put some writing/journalling on pages (2 hours) 8. Check all pages for spelling mistakes etc. (1 hour) and 9. Upload and order. After each step you get closer but with manageble tasks.

  2. Oh I'm so motivated...Thank You!!!
    And I will be checking out that Make a family Cook Book link when I get time, I've ALWAYS wanted to do that!

    1. Her cookbook is amazing and I love the photography in it making it so personal.