We’re surrounded by photographers shooting their Day in the Life projects and offering these sessions to clients. If you’re anything like me, you’ve become too busy to do your own and too “I really don’t want to invest in a photographer when I can take our family photos myself with a little strategy to get in the frame once in awhile.”
And then, you look at your many digi-files filled with photos only to see it’s been over a year since the last time you intentionally took photos to remember this season of your life.
You have lots of photos of random things and moments here and there, but nothing that actually speaks about your reality. I’m totally guilty of this. It’s been almost 18 months since the last time I photographed one a day in our world.
When I saw Alaina’s incredible Day in the Life, I thought:
‘Why am I NOT doing this for us? For me?’
Why have I let a part of my core values slip away? And how do I get the motivation and momentum to pick up the damn camera or hire someone I admire to photograph us? Why is so hard to say YES to our own self-care and happy tasks?
So, in hopes Alaina’s energy and fire was contagious, I reached out to her for a deeper look inside her own Day in the Life project. She shared her work with us + answered some Q’s below. If you’re in need of some accountability to document your own life, The Preservation Project may help!
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Why was shooting your day in the life was important for you?
I want to (one day) photograph this way for other families and I feel that I can’t document for others without having done it for my own family. If I don’t BELIEVE what I’m trying to achieve, potential clients won’t believe it either.
Also, I want to preserve the now in my family. We’re a family who bounces around every few years and I want to preserve our time right here, right now.
How did you prepare in advance to capture these images?
To be honest, there wasn’t a lot of preparation for documenting this day. I had been saying for quite some time now that I was going to do a day in the life for myself, I just didn’t know when.
While on Facebook one night, someone asked about a dinosaur exhibit and if anyone knew when it was going to come back to town. Someone else commented with a link to the T-Rex Planet & said that they didn’t know about the other exhibit, but this T-rex thing was going to be in town this weekend.
I clicked on the link, checked everything out, and thought oh we should totally go to that. My little man is crazy about dinosaurs. He’s watched Jurassic World and Jurassic Park so much, that he knows the lines to the movies from beginning to end and he’s ONLY 3.
So, I asked my best friend, whose son happens to be my little man’s best friend, if they wanted to tag along, so the boys could see the dinosaurs and they obliged. Once all the details were settled, I decided that would be the day I’d shoot my day in the life.
I commented in the documentary group asking for pointers and such in regards to documenting your own family and a few folks reached out. One particular comment stuck with me and that was:
Get all of your gear together the night before and sleep with your camera next to your bed, so when you wake up in the morning you can start documenting.
What was your thought process behind it?
Be simple and document the things I don’t want to forget.
I had never done something like this and with the little bit of knowledge I did have I didn’t want to blow it by over-thinking what all I wanted captured. The goal was to remain present, but still photograph the day.
What was the experience like for you?
Fun but CHALLENGING!! I really enjoyed just shooting for myself, but found it to be a challenge balancing being present with my family and documenting the day.
I didn’t want to miss out on making memories WITH them but I also didn’t want to miss photographing a moment – especially if it was something I knew wasn’t going to happen again.
What did you learn?
Technically, I learned I need to work on my exposure triangle and make sure I’m getting everything right in-camera. I also need to become more comfortable with my camera. I get so lost in trying to get that shot that I tend to fumble some times and end up missing it all together.
Personally, I learned my husband would rather be chauffeured and was utterly disappointed that he had to drive, so I could document our day. LOL
What was your biggest take home from this experience?
THIS IS YOUR ART. YOUR STORY… so tell it how you want it to be told.
I’m TERRIBLE when it comes to comparing myself to other photographers. I see the work of others and think, ‘Gosh! Why am I not that good?’ When I know good and well, these photographers have worked so hard to get where they’re at and at the end of the day I’m never going to be THAT photographer.
I’m going to be me.
I have to continue to work hard at my craft and I’ll be all I hope to be.
What might you wanna remember about your past + your present that you haven’t yet documented?
Create a To-Remember list and save some of your best from slipping through the cracks.
What do you feel you executed very well and what would you do differently next time?
I feel that I executed shooting the details very well. From the music we were listening to, to the different times of the day, and all of my sons toys.
What I would do differently next time, is be in more of the frames. I documented my life & have but one frame of me in it… (shaking finger tisk tisk) and photographing my shoes doesn’t technically count in my book.
Next time, I will be paying more attention to my composition, angles, and not staying dead center. I’d also like to improve my storytelling skills.
Intro from Marie Masse. Images and responses from Alaina Miles.
About Alaina: Alina is originally from Sunny San Diego, but currently resides on the beautiful Island of Oahu. She is 26 years young, a wife, mother and fur mom to a wild bunch. Alaina has an infatuation with clouds and trees. She loves food and traveling, but hates packing. Besides photography, music is her happy place and she can jive to anything! She’s just a mama trying to find her way in this thing called life. Website // Facebook // Instagram