| Written by Ronnie |
Over the weekend, I had our family's life album out on the floor of my studio for a photo shoot. On Saturday afternoon, when it was time for the boys to wake up from their naps, we found Bear on the floor of my studio, quietly looking through the album as he studied the faces of everybody near and dear to him. Oh my heart, what a moment that was. As I observed the look of awe, wonder, and love etched on my littlest's face, I felt utterly vindicated in my determination to pursue and uphold memory keeping as a part of our family's life.
A number of you have contacted me in recent weeks about my old Pink Ronnie blog. It's true, I've had to take it down for now due to personal reasons. This fills me with a certain degree of sadness, as I poured a lot of my heart and soul into that space of mine, but for now, it's the right decision for our family. Since then, however, I've received a number of messages about accessing my old posts on life albums/Project Life. In response to this, I've decided to re-publish them here on this blog, which I feel would be a very apt new home for them. And so, today, along with my Week 30 layouts, I'll also be sharing with you my personal tips for taking photos for your own life albums:
Try and capture similar colours in your photos throughout the week.
When the time comes to layout your weekly spread, being able to include photos with similar shades of the same colour will help to tie it all together. For example, this Week 30 layout is quite lovely because the shades of green, blue, and purple all complement each other really well.
Take photos from different angles and different viewpoints.
Photograph from above. Directly front on. From a distance. Up close. One big application of this is to make sure you take photos of your children from different perspectives. Sometimes when there are too many 'up close' portrait shots of people clustered together, spreads can look overly busy. Plus, it's nice to be able to add a bit of variety to each spread. Some of my favourite shots of the boys are ones where you can't actually see their faces...
Take photos in different lighting conditions.
Take photos indoors, and take photos outdoors. Take photos at different times to make use of the different light throughout the day: mornings, late afternoon, and twilight are my favourite times to take photos, but I often end up photographing indoors late at night as well. The lighting from lamps can make for very interesting and atmospheric photos. Also, don't be afraid to capture shade as well as light.
Don't let your photographs always be dictated by the subject matter (ie. people, food and objects). Instead, try to focus on capturing a 'moment' once in a while.
For example, in the middle photo in the top layout above, there is a blurry, blue photo. Whilst it doesn't look like much, to me, it captures the essence of that particular moment, when I was sitting alone at a cafe in the late afternoon after having spent the entire day there writing and working. There was nothing in particular I wanted to photograph so I set my lens to blur, lowered the exposure, and clicked the shutter. Rather than any physical subject matter, it was all about the light, the mood, and the feel of that particular moment in time. Similarly, in the insert photo directly above, I remember we were just about to leave for dinner that evening. I'd rushed back into the house to grab something I'd forgotten, and as I walked past our dining room, I felt compelled to capture the twilight in that very moment. This is where the importance of shade versus light comes in, because often it's through playing with shadows and shade that can really help to document simple moments like this.
Leave breathing space in your photos.
By that I mean, don't fill up every pixel of your photo with action or subject matter. This is where the famous 'rule of thirds' comes in: try and only let your subject matter fill up about a third of the photo. Not only does this usually make for a better photo, it also means there is more 'canvas space' for you to add text and other elements onto the photo. The photos in this Week 30 layout have an abundance of negative space in them. Also, try to photograph against a plain background wherever possible. The self-portrait of myself in the left hand page is a perfect example. Not only does this help to keep the focus on your subject matter, but again, it leaves breathing space in your photos which helps to prevent layouts/spreads from looking too busy or cluttered.
Leave out unnecessary details.
In other words, 'crop' the image while you're taking it. Leave out the air vent in the ceiling or the power point in the wall or the stack of books on the desk, if it's not needed in the photo. Remember you're trying to keep the background as clean as possible so as not to distract from the subject matter of the photo. Of course, you can always actually crop the photo afterwards either on your phone or on the computer, but why not just try to get it right from the start?
Take an 'action sequence' of photos once in a while.
These can make for a fun series which you can showcase either as an insert or in a row of four 3x4 photos or even just as two photos side by side. This is particularly helpful if you are low on photos for a particular week, as the extra photos essentially function as 'filler' photos.
And lastly, take both portrait and landscape shots of the same scene or moment that you're trying to capture.
This will allow for more options when you're laying out your weekly life album spread, because it will allow you the flexibility of displaying a photo in either the 6x4 pocket or the 3x4 pocket. Plus you avoid the problem of finding yourself with sixteen photos in the landscape mode that you really want to include and yet none in the portrait mode (which is a rather dire situation to be in when you're a Design A addict like me).
* * *
I hope these tips were helpful, especially if you are new to life albums. Feel free to share your own photography tips in the comments below!
You can read all the other posts on life albums here.
- Digital templates used: Signature Card Set (Rockwell Edition)
- Physical supplies used: Becky Higgins Design A page protector; Kirkland Signature professional glossy photo paper
- Printer used: Canon MG6360 Pixma