I’m really excited about Project Life this year. My Seafoam Edition core kit is due to arrive any day now, and I can’t wait to include bits and pieces of it into the boys’ albums (which I promise I will post about soon!). Also, I just found out today that my talented and beautiful friend Liz Tamanaha from Paislee Press has designed this stunning Midnight Edition core kit that is due to be released around May. I have been such a big fan of Liz’s work since I ‘discovered’ her last year shortly after starting Project Life, and I simply love her graphic style. She’s a minimalist after my own heart, and it is going to be such a joy to get my hands on her core kit and work out how to incorporate it into my albums.
Today, as well as posting Weeks 44 to 47 from last year, I thought it would be fun to share some tips specific to taking photos for Project Life. As you probably know by now, I’m a big believer in letting photos do the story-telling. In fact, most of my Project Life layouts are simply photos combined with minimal text on top. This wasn’t something I set out to do intentionally, but I soon discovered that this was clearly my natural ‘style.’ And I love it. Not only does it reflect how I like to capture memories, it’s also simple, straightforward and easy. So without further ado, here are some of my tips that might help you when taking photos for your Project Life album:
1) 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, one of my favourite page layouts is the one shown above from Week 44 as the shades of purple, grey, and brown all complement each other really well.
2) 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 have been ones where you can’t actually see their faces…
3) 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.
4) 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, the photo in Week 45′s title card (directly above) was taken when I had an hour or two by myself at the cafe; I’d wanted to document that rare moment of being alone, so I chose to photograph the people sitting opposite me by capturing their silhouettes. The purpose of the photo was not to document what I wore or the food I ate, but simply of that short, precious time I had all to myself in the cafe. Similarly, in the Week 46 layouts below, there is a photo of the pillows on our bed and another photo of the view out our window. Again, I was not trying to actually record what our bed looked like or the colour of our walls, but simply to capture the mood of that particular morning when I’d woken up to the sound of rain falling outside. 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.
5) 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. Also, try to photograph against a plain background wherever possible. 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.
6) 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?
7) If you are using an iPhone camera, learn to control the exposure properly and to make the most of the grid function. It’s not hard, and doing these two things alone will make a huge difference to your photographs.
8) 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 (like the one below of our ‘It’s a boy!’ announcement) or in a row of four 3×4 photos or even just as two photos side by side like the ones of Angus and Pete above.
9) 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 Project Life spread, because it will allow you the flexibility of displaying a photo in either the 6×4 pocket or the 3×4 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).
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Next week, I’m hoping to cover Weeks 48 to 52 and then it’ll be onto 2013 layouts!
You can read my other Project Life posts here.
Materials used: Becky Higgins Design A page protector; Kodak 210gsm glossy premium photo paper. All photos printed on the Canon MP630 Pixma.
(Linking up with The Mom Creative.)
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