documenting your life

01 | documenting everyday life with teens

Tell me about when your child was little - better yet, show me. I am willing to bet that you have tons of photos and videos and maybe even albums full of little moments of their lives as young kids. Now show me a recent photo of your teen...tell me about their everyday moments. Are we losing touch in the hustle and bustle of our overly busy days? Do we struggle getting them in front of the camera for a year end photo for the holiday card? Or do they just "refuse" to let us take photos of them anymore? My kids are nearing that moving out of the house stage and I don’t love it. I’m proud of them and know that we’ve taught them well…but I want to make sure that we’re documenting the memories that we’re making now for our future.

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A couple of years ago I wrote a series on the Carrie Owens Photography blog about documenting your everyday life and all of the little components that go into that. (Documenting your Everyday Life) Now that my children have all moved into that teen area it's gotten more difficult to document their everyday lives the way we used to so I thought it would be a great time to revisit many of those tips and ideas.

me, typing a paper, sophomore year (1990)

me, typing a paper, sophomore year (1990)

This year long series will be held here on the Carrie Diane blog as I will also get into what to do with those images and some tips and tricks on getting those teens of your on board with your efforts. I would love to hear thoughts and ideas and questions from parents of teens and tweens and even adult children or those that are away at college - what are you struggling with? Do your teens put their hand in front of their face every time you try and take a photo? Do you feel like you're invading their space by taking photos? Do they demand that you don't ever post a photo of them on social media? I get it - and I get all of those responses from my own three at various times and in various ways. I have come up with some really great solutions that have put us all on the same page and we can all get what we want out of the deal.

WHAT WILL WE FOCUS ON?

  • getting your teen on your side (it was so much easier when they were 2)

  • capturing everyday moments (everyday moments are quite different from 8 years ago)

  • capturing traditions (how have traditions of your child changed over the years)

  • capturing those moments you don't want to forget when they've moved away (yes - even the not so great moments)

  • getting images with you AND your child together (very important!!!)

  • social media and privacy issues for your teen (let your child lead in this area and be sure to have an open dialog)

  • what to do with these images (the answer is not to leave them on your phone)

  • phone and camera tips - as well as some social media tips from the teens themselves

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

When our children are little and brand new and going though all of those amazing milestones we cannot wait to snap a pic and share it with the world. This is great - even if we aren't sharing those photos with the world, we're telling them (in a way) how proud we are of them, how much we love them, how important they and their stories are. Once our kids start growing older and becoming more independent those photo ops change. They don't necessarily become less frequent - they're just different. We need to actively look for them. Their stories are just as important to tell (and we need to make sure we're getting their permission on where and how we tell them). These are the years that they remember and having their stories told from your point of view to look back on are more valuable than you can imagine.

me, first day of school, junior year (1990)

me, first day of school, junior year (1990)

I'm sure you're still getting those first day of school photos...when they'll let you. Those are important. I love looking back at mine (my mother was adamant about getting these shots - she even had my college roommate take my first day of school pic my freshman year). I love to see the clothes that I wore, the car that I drove, the way my hair looked. There are many things that I wish I could see, but having these images reminds me of things I might otherwise have forgotten from this time in my life.

me, first day of school, senior year (1991)

me, first day of school, senior year (1991)

Other than these images, birthdays and holidays and images before dances there aren't a lot of photos from my teen years. And that's ok. I was busy, my mom was busy and there wasn't a camera attached to our hands at all hours. That's simply not the case today.

me and erin, a random shot, december junior year (1990)

me and erin, a random shot, december junior year (1990)

This photo above of my best friend and I at her home in a random little moment means so much to me. We've been best friends since we were 5 yet have seen each other just once in the past decade. But we're still close, will always be close. Seeing that photo, I can hear her laugh. I can remember what it felt like being in her home. I remember her family. I remember our matching J. Crew jackets. I don't know why I'm smiling so big or what we are doing but I can feel how much our friendship still means to me.

I know that my kids have a lot of pics on their phones, selfies and photos with friends. I know they have instagram and other ways of sharing those images, but I want to make sure that I'm continuing to tell their stories as well. That we continue to create memories together and document those times for them (and for me) to relive when they're older.

Don't stop taking photos just because they're growing up...don't think that a photo of them walking away from you and into practice doesn't tell a story.

everyday life is in the details.

xo, c

instagram recap | september 2018

This past year has been crazy and busy and full of new things and somewhere along the way I stopped documenting our lives quite as much. The kids are all so busy - often out doing their own things…so what do I take photos of now? I’ve been trying to work on making more of an effort this past month but I can see that I’m still falling short of where I want to be. This month (hello October!!) I’m looking forward to a new month with new goals on getting the images of our daily lives that I love.

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Why is documenting our daily lives so important to me? I often forget these days, or just think that it’s ok not to take the photo or make the post. But when I look back at a series like the one I did 4 years ago on my Carrie Owens Photography blog (31 days of documenting your everyday life) I see so many amazing things that I’m grateful that we have the images that I would take of the family. Do my kids get tired of me asking to take their photos? Maybe. But I know that they appreciate it, it’s a little reminder to them that they are important. That their story is important. And it is.

For October my goal is to post something on my instagram (carrieowensdaily) of our daily life everyday. Which means a lot of football and polo and basketball. And a lot of days of me at home working or out doing “boring stuff”. The challenge that I am giving myself and would like to challenge you is to look for the little things in the everyday. The things that you will for sure forget in a couple of years time. Capture the big moments, of course, but look for the in between moments. What little details tell the story of your everyday life in October of 2018? I’m excited to tell the story of our next 31 days.

happy instagramming,

xo,
c

one little word | january 2018

The One Little Word project is from Ali Edwards and more information can be found on her blog here. There are many other people who follow a similar idea in choosing a guiding word for you for the year, rather than a resolution. I love this project and each year I choose a word. Some years I carry that word with me throughout the year and others it simply fades in and out. This year I have chosen a word and am following along in Ali's workshop with her designed prompts. I am looking forward to sharing my progress here on the blog in the year to come.

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how does the word [home] translate for me?

For me, home doesn't just mean my house, where I live. It means more than that to me and there are many ways in which I will use this word in 2018 to drive my goals and intentions.

home | a place where one flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates.

PHYSICAL | house
PERSONAL | body
WORK | businesses
SPIRITUAL | wellness
EMOTIONAL | family

Within each of those categories and areas above, there are many facets that I want to explore and am excited to get moving with. 

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I love that quote above and need to keep reminding myself of that daily. Give myself grace as I work towards my goal and understand that progress (any progress) is good...and keeps me motivated to continue on.

My One Little Word album progress for January

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I'm loving this process so far and working towards my goals with intention. I've already started working though my February prompts and I'm excited to get that one finished as well. 

xo,
c

instagram recap | january 2018

I've always been a huge fan of documenting our daily lives. As the kids have gotten older, the photos tend to get fewer and farther in between...but the moments are still happening. I think that it is so important to keep taking those photos - even if they are mostly of the same things each day - and to really work on stretching myself to see these daily little pieces of our lives for the truly amazing moments that they are.

There is a lot of basketball in those photos - and swimming. This month I really want to work on getting images that tell a different story about those events. Getting out of my comfort zone. What angles do I need to take, how close up should I get - what little details can I capture? What will best show our lives as they are at this moment.

The thing that I'm most excited about these photos..is that they're printed (along with others) and going into my Project Life album for 2018. Not only is it important to take the images, but it's so important that they live outside of my phone and instagram.

Happy photo taking + life documenting - get out there and see how you can tell the story of your family today!

xo,
c

why I love the one second every day app

Have you heard of this app? It's really and truly wonderful. I remember seeing a friend of mine using it a couple of years ago and I thought how cool it was...but I was sure I could never keep up. I later saw another friend's finished video from her 2015 year and it was simply amazing. I knew that it was something that I had to try for 2016.

Watch my 2016 video below...with sound and you'll even hear snipits of voices and laughter.

There are a lot of days that seem the same in our home...kids to school, kids to practice, mealtime and homework. There are many days that we're up and out of the house when it's still dark and home from practice after dark...there are many days where I do wonder if we're really capturing anything with the silly little one second. And then I sit back and watch the video above and I'm so grateful that I make the effort. And when I hear that my daughter logs into Facebook just to watch it...that makes me happy too.

If you get a moment, check out the website, download the app to your preferred device (your phone...although I do have it on my tablet also as my devices are linked) and give it a try. There's a great support and idea group on Facebook and so many great things that you can do with this project.

TIPS + TRICKS

  • Use the inspiration that you see on the site and other videos that you see online, but don't get too caught up in being perfect...the whole idea here is to start.

  • Just start. Don't feel bad that you didn't start on January 1st...don't think you need to wait until the 1st of the next month. Just download the app and start today.

  • Stay consistent with your video orientation...I always shoot in landscape mode.

  • You can choose 1.5 seconds or 1 second per day

  • You can add titles and music over your finished product, mine is pretty raw (I'd love to take the time to add a title) but I love the little voices that I hear throughout the video, so for me for now, no music.

  • You can use the app to create custom "freestyle" videos - think about a video of snitpits of your vacation, or a sports season or any other great event in your life. You can have several timelines going at once and create some really awesome projects.

  • Get your kids and family involved. My kids know when I pull out my phone (especially in landscape mode) that I'm taking a video. Sometimes I get the hand in front of the face and other times I get great cooperation. Both are good - that's where we are in life right now. I also have kids asking at times - "what will you do today for your 1 second?" It's great to get them to buy in.

I would love to see what you come up with for your video or if you have any fun ideas for this favorite app of mine.

xo, c

instagram recap | july edition

July wasn't too heavy in the instagram department and I think that is directly related to my inability to stick to #thebethadillychallenge. Also, it was a busy month with a trip to Lake Powell - yay! - and the Utah State Swim Meet for my kids. I had been doing great with this project for months and I love it...but for some reason I've really slowed down and have become entirely too inconsistent.

Here's the collage of my favorite photos from July:

Now that we're a couple weeks into August I can say that I'm somewhat back on track. But come September, I'm challenging myself to really focus! I love the challenge that Beth has put together and I find that it really does push me creatively on my photography. Who's going to join me? It's not too late to pick up and start any time. Make sure that when you post you use the hashtag #thebethadillychallenge on instagram when you post your image - and if you've got some time, scroll through the feed to find some great inspiration!!

Happy Instagramming!

xo, c

ps...are you already following me on instagram? If not - I am cophotography on Instagram
 

ordinary everyday | me + them

This is a tough one for me. I am great...overly great...at taking photos of my kids. They would probably argue that I might just take too many photos of them.

But I think that someday they will be grateful for that. I know that my mom took a ton of photos of me, she even got teased about it, but I am so grateful for those images. I love being able to look back at my childhood through her eyes and to be able to share those visual memories with my kids today.

Even with as good as I am about documenting my kids, I really struggle with images of myself. I'm not so great at getting photos of me. Or of us together. Not so great at all. But I am trying. Last year I did a month long series on Documenting your Everyday Life and a friend of mine asked me about part way through when the day about documenting ourselves was going to be posted. I hadn't even really considered that one. I don't like being in front of the camera. But I knew that she was right. So I created a post about documenting you and made a promise to myself to get in more of the images.

I think that I've done better. Still not great. On my trip to Norway I watched my cousins snapping selfies left and right and finally joined in...when in Rome (Norway?). I also took some selfies with my mom - so grateful for those. And when I got home, I continued the trend with the kids...for a little while. I've slipped again.

Time to get back to it.

what's stopping you?

I know for me, I feel really silly taking selfies. Today's teens are so great at it, but I kind of feel like an old lady taking a selfie...but it's a good habit to get into. Master the selfie. I also (as many women do) feel a bit self conscious about my appearance. "When I lose 20 pounds I'll take more photos with the kids" and similar thoughts. I need to tell myself what I tell my clients: This is important. Your family loves you for you. Think about the love you have for your family and that joy will shine through in your images.

what can you do to get in photos?

  • I’m going to ask someone to take a photo…either my husband or a kid, whoever.

  • Master the art of the selfie. Elsie Larson has some great tips on selfies

  • Use the timer feature on my phone and my big girl camera.

  • Continue with the feet…I must admit, I like the feet images.

  • Get over myself and my insecurities. Easier said than done, but if I’m expecting my kids to let me take photos of them, I can’t very well say no.

My challenge to myself...and to those that are up for it...is to try and get in at least one image this week. At least one. And if you have kids, get in an image with them. It's so important to live their lives with them and to document that.

xo, c

ordinary everyday | shoes

I know 14 years is a long time. I get that. But when I look at my oldest it's still crazy to think about how much he's grown. It feels like he was just this young, just this little...and all at the same time it feels like I've known him forever.

Why do they grow so fast?

I have to admit...I do love this age. This age where I can talk and relate to them and I know that the memories that we're making now are ones that we will all remember. These are good years. Just full of lots of changes. Changes that I'll forget if I don't start documenting them.

What's changing fast at your home? Are you making sure that you're telling the story? I had this idea in mind when my big brought home these football cleats - he loved them so much, they were his first orange and black cleats and I wanted to tell the story of how much he loves them. And I was floored at how huge they were. Just like his dad...size 14 shoes at 14 years old.

xo, c

ordinary everyday | bedrooms

Each of the three kids have all used each of the three bedrooms upstairs at one point or another since we've moved in. Now they are all pretty settled and the big has a finished room, the girlie's room is under construction and the little's room is still in decision mode...we need to make a plan there.

For this week's prompt of "bedrooms" I decided to go in and capture little tidbits of their rooms that tell me something about who they are right now. Only three years separate the oldest from the youngest, but their rooms each tell such a different story. Read on (and click on the photos in the strip to see larger) to see what I chose to document about their bedrooms.

the big

For my big kid...what did I want to make sure that I didn't forget? His room is (nearly...waiting on one last thing) the finished bedroom in the house, designed to his idea of a Seahawks bedroom. He seems to love it, spends a lot of time there...which I think is important. I love that he has a space in our home that feels like his that he can escape to when he needs. If you want to see more about his room, click on this post on the carrie owens photography blog. (an updated post with sources and some new art will be coming to this blog soon).

the girlie

Her room is mid-redesign, but her story is still here. I love that (just like in the other two kiddo's rooms) there are always a few water bottles that need to be taken back down to the kitchen sink. I love that her crown from her Halloween costume is still on her dresser. I love that there are currently thumbtack holes next to little notecards with her quotes and sayings that scatter the walls. Those will be patched up soon, painted over and her notecards will be attached to bulletin boards, but for now, I love that she expresses herself through these little notes.

the little

What I love about his room is his personality is starting to emerge and you're starting to see the things that are important to him. He's recently started writing a book, so it's front and center on his dresser with his pencil and sharpener. I love that his collections are starting to shape themselves and that he still has stuffed animals on display. I love that he can clean the center of his room like nobodies business...but can't quite sort out the perimeter yet. Which really means that he needs a better storage system. And might need to get rid of a thing or two.

what is the benefit in documenting this?

For me, I love looking back on photographs of my own childhood and seeing the things that I cherished enough to give them a prominent place in my bedroom. I want my kids to have that same opportunity. I also love that if I took a look back at a photo of their bedrooms from 3 years ago - they would look and feel completely different and tell such a different story. If you want to read my post about documenting your everyday | bedrooms from the series I wrote about documenting your everyday life, click on the button below.

xo, c

photo tips + ideas for summer

It's here...no school, no homework, lots of sun, vacations and staycations. Shorts and sandals, otter pops and bbqs, sun bleached hair and lots of sunscreen.

SUMMER


Aside from fall and winter and spring, summer is pretty much my favorite season. I'm kidding...kind of. I do love summer, but the heat here in Utah is less than desirable for me. It's my daughter's favorite season, she's an early summer baby and she loves the outdoors and anything water related (might be why she's such a dedicated swimmer). Over the years I've gotten a little used to the sun, I try to embrace it, but as a blonde who often forgets the sunscreen, I'm not quite in love with it yet. But for me, the best part of summer is getting to spend more time with the kids relaxing, exploring and making memories together.

We're working on our summer bucket list (we put one together for Spring Break and we were able to cross everything off of our list!) that I'll be posting about soon but for now I want to talk a little bit about summer photo tips and ideas.


SUMMER photo tips

  • Always remember that the best camera you have is the one that you have with you. If there's a shot to get, take it. Don't wait to run inside the house to get the big camera, grab your phone or your kid's phone or whatever you can find and get that shot!

  • When getting your shot look at where the sun is falling - are you getting big shadows on your subject's faces? Is there a better position that you could get into to eliminate those? Be sure to move around when you're shooting.

  • Don't forget the little items that are essential to summer...sunscreen, water guns, flip flops, etc. Get environmental shots as well as closeup shots and images of the overall scene. Varying your perspective will get you some great images.

  • One of my biggest tips (and one that I'm working on) is to get in the images! Take selfies with your kids, ask a friend or your spouse (or a stranger!!) to snap a photo. You need to be present in your images. Make this a priority, your children and future generations will thank you.


summer photo ideas

If you're thinking about getting a summer bucketlist together, these photo ideas are a great jumping off point.

  • kids sleeping in

  • summer attire

  • ice cream/popscicles

  • road trips

  • sunglasses selfies

  • sunsets/sunrises

  • picnics

  • trips to the park

  • bbqs

  • trips to the pool/beach

  • bubbles

  • sidewalk chalk

  • parades

  • vacations

  • gardening

  • bike rides

  • water balloon fights

  • kids in the sprinkler

  • hikes

  • summer foods

  • summer drinks

  • fireworks

  • the farmer's market

  • arts + crafts

  • indoor quiet time

  • movies

  • campouts

  • s'mores


I'd love to see some of your favorite summer images. Leave a comment with a link to some of your favorite summertime shots that just scream summer. Next week I'll post my summer bucketlist and talk a bit about how we plan on tackling that list.

xo, c