One of the biggest things that I hear when I talk to other moms about documenting their teens is that they feel like it’s silly to take photos of the same things every day. I feel their pain and generally speaking they are spot on…most of our daily lives are spent doing the same things over and over again. But there are gems hidden in the everyday. We live our lives in the everyday, in those routines live the memories that our kids will take into adulthood. These are the things that they will remember when they’re doing the same with their children someday. Document these seemingly repetitive moments and I promise you’ll find some of your favorite moments.
The thing to remember is that when we are in the thick of it and it feels like we’re doing the same thing every day all of a sudden we realize that we’ve just experienced one of the lasts. The last time we had to take our kid to school…the last time they asked us to tuck them in at night. The last time we made their lunch, the last time we took them to practice, their last game, the last of so many things. These are harder to see. When our kids are little we are super focused on them achieving all of their firsts…these lasts are sneaky. But if we are making an effort in documenting all of the things these little lasts don’t pass us by without us noticing.
HOW TO DOCUMENT THE SAME THINGS EVERYDAY
Think creatively - how many ways can you show a basketball or a football game? How many ways can you show your child at a piano recital or a dance competition? Don’t go for the same shot every time.
Overall images - take images that tell the overall story. The entire baseball diamond. The whole football stadium. I would love to have images that show me in my high school as they have since remodeled it and my memory seems to be fading. I know the school that my kids currently go to will look differently in less than 5 years…get overall images of the events or practices or carpool drop off because you never know when things will change.
Details - go for the small things. Do you get your hand stamped at the games? Do they give tickets? What do the seats look like? The score board and other elements. What does their instrument look like? What does their hand look like playing the keys on the piano? Get closer. Find the little details that are so quick to fade away.
Ask your teens for their input - what is important to them about what they’re doing? Do they love the warm up routine and laughing with their friends? Do they love that everyone has matching gear bags? Do they love that they have a lucky pair of goggles or that they wear the same shoes at every recital? There might be things that you don’t even realize that are important to your teen about the things that they do everyday…now is your chance to find out.
Ask your teens for their images - you know your kids take photos, maybe lots, maybe a few. But ask to see them. Look at their daily life through their eyes to see what means the most to them.
The tools of the trade - similar to getting the details, but really think about all of the things that make up the activity…the shoes, the uniform, the helmets, the instruments etc…what are all of the things that your teen needs. These things change over the years so it’s fun to look back at these things over time. We love looking through our high school year books with the kids showing them the differences between their days and ours.
Include people - not just your own child, but get their teammates and their friends and the coaches and teachers. Find out who is important to them and include them in your images. (Don’t post images online of other people without their permission…obviously)
Just the scene - the field when everyone is gone…the empty stage. The parking lot after a game or the court and stands full of people.
Change your perspective. I find that I often sit in the same spot at all of my daughter’s basketball games…it’s the best spot for photos. Well…not if I’m going for variety and to see something a little different. Sit somewhere else, shoot from down low, shoot from above, shoot from a completely different vantage point and everything will seem new again.
Create a hashtag for your series if you’re active on Instagram. I love looking back on our instagram hashtags that we created for the things that we do day in and day out. Check them out before you use one…might have been used for something already that isn’t in line with what you might have hoped :)
Here is a great read on the Carrie Owens Photography blog about documenting a series. It’s so fun to look back on these images. We were doing the same thing nearly every day and I really didn’t see an end in sight. I remember thinking that we would be swimming every single day for the rest of time. These days I only have one swimmer (even though I thought for sure I would have three high school swimmers this year) and things look very different. I love that my kids can look back on these images from those busy years and remember what this point in their lives looked like.
What is something that you do everyday? Or every week? How can you look at these parts of your life creatively so that you enjoy documenting the things that you do? I would love to hear your tips and ideas on this subject.