Like many new parents, the minute I had my firstborn, I turned into a regular shutterbug. I photographed every single waking moment of his little life. I took LOTS of snapshots, and I have piles of prints, hard drives full, scrapbooks stuffed to the brim with memories. I wouldn’t change that for the world.

I’ve embarked on 365 projects several years – some were successful, some not so much. There were a couple years I gave up completely, threw in the towel and decided I was done with my daily photo project. Looking back, I missed a lot of memories those years. And I hate that the books from those years are nearly empty. So I decided to change my perspective.

Now I do a daily-ish project. I take lots of photos, I have my camera charged and ready. And most days I use it.

But on the days I don’t, I don’t stress. I don’t feel like I’m falling behind. And honestly, I don’t post them ALL in a lineup with dates and times and descriptions, because that’s just a recipe for discouragement in my book.

So. Where to begin? What to photograph? What makes a good 365 project / daily project ? What works for your style, your family?

For me, having some clear-set ideas in mind is important:

  • I want to photograph our everyday. Sometimes that’s a bit messy. And that’s ok.
  • I want to photograph my kids doing stuff. I rarely make them look. That’s what school photos or a yearly portrait session is for.
  • I want to show them in a positive light – they are getting older and while I have no personal issues with photographing them in their low moments, THEY do. And I need to respect that. So no crying photos here.
  • In that mindset, I won’t be sharing everything I take. Sure, you can talk about how curating social media is harmful for our mental health or whatever, but the truth is that I just don’t feel like sharing everything I take, for my children’s sake.
  • I love light, but honestly it doesn’t always happen. I’m not going to stress about after-hours dimly lit photos, I’m not going to put away my camera because it’s mid-february and I’m sick of all the darkness. I’m going to take the pictures anyway, nasty overhead lights and all.
  • I’m going to play around. I’m going to take pictures outside at 4000 ISO when the world is dusk and shadow. I’m going to try harsh sunlight or motion blur. I’m going to use my phone sometimes.

My ultimate goal is to have a slice of what their little lives are like. We recently added a great dane puppy and a bunny to our family, and I want to celebrate the growing relationships my kids have with their pets. I want to celebrate sports – there will be a LOT of baseball photos in my galleries, because quite frankly that’s about all we do between April-October.

One new thing I want to try is a monthly self-portrait. I want to get in front of the camera more. I want to be present with them in these shots.

I hope you’ll follow along with me in 2018! You can see a selection of my daily photos (not all. just the ones I feel like sharing) at the “The Everyday” tab on my website or at the direct link here.    And if you want to share, tag #mischiefandlaughs on instagram! I’d love to see your little lives unfold.

Also, I’ll be posting a few things I’ve learned about daily photo projects over the years. It’s a long road to the end of the year and there’s no single right way to do it, so I hope you’ll be able to glean a little from my musings on daily photo projects. I’ll be sure to add article links here as they are added.