One of my favourite photo projects to take on is a 10 on 10 project.
I’ve mentioned it a few times now on this blog, but if you’ve not come across it before it’s a project where you take 10 photos on the 10th of each month to try and capture life as it is on that day.
There are months where I really struggle with it. When the 10th of the month feels like the most boring, mundane of days when nothing at all worth photographing will happen. But doing the project forces me to look at those days differently.
To see the beauty in the ordinary days. And to notice the things that are so normal now that will one day just be a distant memory.
These are the things that we so often forget to photograph because they’re such a routine part of our lives we almost stop seeing them. It’s only when they’re gone, when that stage of our lives has passed, that we realise how special they were, and how we wish we had photographs from that time to take us back there for a while.
The hard part comes in noticing and picking out these things when you’re living them.
So hopefully this post will help you look around your family life and start finding these moments, these details, these little things in your daily life to photograph, so when your children have grown and changed and life looks completely different you’ll have these pictures to take you right back to these beautifully ordinary days.
Look at your every day routines
The best place to start is by looking at your regular routines.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down the things you do most days. Include everything from sitting the baby in their highchair for breakfast, to curling up on the bed together to read a book at bedtime.
All the little, boring things you and your family do day in, day out. Even things as mundane as your young child standing on the step-stool to brush their teeth.
Then go through that list and circle the the things that will most likely be different a year from now. The baby in the highchair might be sitting on a booster seat at the kitchen table by then, and your children might have moved on from needing a bedtime story, preferring to read to themselves in bed instead.
These things that you’ve circled are some of the things you might want to make a point of photographing.
Look for your children’s quirks and habits
When Rhys was a baby he would always reach up and twirl the hair from my fringe with his little fingers when I was feeding him. Looking back, it feels like I had all the time in the world back then, to sit with him in his room, just watching him drink his milk while he twirled those strands of hair.
I remember it so clearly, but it’s one of those routines that we never managed to photograph, and that will always make me a little bit sad.
So again, take a look at your family and write down a list of these funny little things that your children do, their sweet habits and special quirks that make them who they are right now.
Then make a plan to take photos of all these things.
Some of the quirks that I’m so pleased I do have photos of from when Rhys was a baby are these – fiddling with the straps on his buggy in the hallway (and getting frustrated when they wouldn’t click into place!) and lining his toys up neatly as he played with them.
Photograph familiar locations
I know it feels like you visit the same places over and over again with young children (I’m looking at you, play park), but keep in mind that one day you’ll stop. One day you’ll realise it’s been months, years even, since you were last there.
So take photos of your family at these places now.
Find ways to include recognisable features of the locations in your pictures too. I know exactly where this photo was taken, for example, thanks to the roof of the Patti Pavilion in the background.
Another great idea for photos in these places that you visit all the time is to capture your children next to familiar objects that will show how, over time, they’ve grown. I love this photo of Rhys with his cousins next to the railings in Brynmill Park, partly because of how small they all look compared to those railings. They barely come up to Rhys’ waist now!
Capture the school routine
The school routine is possibly one of the most receptive, mundane parts of family life but it is still absolutely still worth photographing. Because, again, one day you won’t be doing it any more. And while you might not miss it exactly, there’ll still be a weird sense of nostalgia for it when your children are all grown up.
And right now the school routine probably looks pretty different from normal so make a point to capture it.
Take photos of your child with their headphones on during a live lesson with their teacher. Photograph their little hands completing worksheets and making crafts. Capture the routines and rhythms you’ve fallen into during lockdown, like daily walks in the park.
Once the children are back in actual school, think about photographing the routines around that too.
Take detail shots of their little hands holding the lunchbox they picked out, and bags on their backs that look ridiculously oversized.
Think about all the things that make up your school day routine and take pictures of some of these things. It could be shoes lined up (or scattered everywhere) waiting to be put on, bowls of cereal eaten in a hurry, or the children singing along to songs on the radio if you ever get to school too early!
Think about the little rituals you’ve created with your children too.
Last year I would always go round to Nerys’ classroom window once she’d gone in and we would wave, blow kisses, and make these heart shapes to each other. I’m so, so happy I have this photo as a reminder of those times. I took it just before the first lockdown, so we never had another chance to do this before she moved to a new class.
Look for the mini milestone moments
For the first few years of your child’s life the milestones seem to come thick and fast, in a bit of a blur of special firsts.
There are so many other, mini milestones to look out for and photograph in your child’s life though.
Think of things like the first time they master the fireman’s pole at the park, the first time trying a new food, the first time on a new scooter or bike, the first time they do anything new or master a new skill really.
Some of these moments might not feel huge, but they’re all worth looking out for and photographing.
If you’re still at a bit of a loss for everyday moments to photograph, try asking yourself these questions:
- What toy does your child take to bed with them every single night?
- What items of clothing do they basically live in at the moment?
- Is there a particular bowl or plate or cup that they’ll ask to use every meal time?
- What things do you like to do together on a lazy Sunday afternoon?
- What little things about your life drive you crazy at the moment, but you know that one day you’ll actually miss?
- If a reporter spent a day with you and your family in your home, what would they notice?
- If something happened and you had to leave your home today, what memories would you take with you? What things would you remember happening in which corners of your home?
I really hope this post has inspired you and made you stop and think about the moments in your life that you want to make a point of capturing!
This post has been linked up with KCACOLS with A moment with Franca.