5 Tips for a Rewarding Parent Photo Project

Infant dogla boy wearing bath robe laying on his tummy belly fluffy furry throw wooden background modern studio shoot modern look

With holiday madness approaching, the end of the year drawing near and a movie queued up for a rare quiet evening at home the other night, I decided to review and catch up on my photo-a-day project, and I was pleasantly surprised to find very few gaps in my calendar for 2018!

I’ve been doing this project since my first son was born in 2009 and I have photos for almost every day since then but, well, let’s just say that for past few years, I still have quite a bit of back-filling to do. However, this will be the first year that I close the year on December 31st with a photo posted for every day!

So what was it about 2018 that motivated or made it possible for me to keep up with not just taking a photo daily (which to me is the easy part) but selecting, editing and posting a photo daily (much easier to fall behind on)?

I would love to say that I was more intentional this year, that I set a goal and stuck to it, or that I spent more time with the kids so took more photos, all of which are to some degree true, but actually, what I realized as I thought about it is that I have Apple to thank: this was the first full year with an iOS that groups photos by date!

What this means is that it is easy to see which photos you took on what day, which means it is much easier to go back and post photos from the past week or two, or even further back. In the old days if you fell behind by more than a few days, it was hard to figure out which photos were taken on what day. Not impossible, but not convenient. Now that your photos are visually grouped by day you can catch up every week or two and keep up with the project without investing a huge amount of time.

In fact, you don’t have to find extra time in your schedule at all to do this project. If you have just one tv show you like to watch each week, you can catch up with your photo-a-day project during that show and be done! Or if you commute as a passenger, you can do it during your commute. You can even sneak in a few moments at the playground or in line at the grocery store to post a few photos.

I have always loved doing this project. It is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve done as a photographer and as a mom. For me it is a daily gratitude journal as well as a document of our lives, one day at a time, so it is exciting to realize it doesn’t have to be a huge time investment.

Here are my top 5 tips for a successful photo-a-day project:

1. Use iPhone photos

The best camera is the one you have with you and your iPhone is great for capturing every day moments

2. Go for emotionally vs. technically good photos

The criteria I use when selecting the photo for each day is, what do I most want to remember about this day?

3. Don’t ask your kids to pose, or you’ll end up with 365 remarkably similar photos

Try to capture as many aspects of their personality and life over the course of the year.

4. Take some photos first thing in the morning

This way, you know you’re covered, then you are free to see what unfolds during the day that you can capture.

5. You don’t have to take all the photos

If you are a working parent, you can ask care givers to take photos for you. The photos don’t all have to be of your kids either!

Bonus tip: Don’t forget to get in the photo yourself from time to time!

Happy holidays!