Lesson 04 Photo Strategies
Hi guys, today we are discussing photo strategies for our pocket layouts. I specifically approached this lesson in two ways: the photos we take and the photos we include. Let’s talk about how I work with this part of pocket page scrapbooking!
I have talked about this before, and feel like it is really important to emphasize again, in this project and for these layouts, to consider what it is you want to carry throughout your album and stick with that. For me it is relationships: capturing how we relate and interact with the world around us, and with each other, is for me personally what I like to focus on. I also love simply capturing what I am loving at the moment: the people, things, events, that I love. Photography is great for learning technical skills and I encourage you to work on improving your own skills, but for the purposes of pocket pages and weekly life documenting I think it is important to embrace where your photography is at today. Just take the photos you love of the people, places, and things you love, and enjoy it.
“Just take the photos you love of the people, places, and things you love, and enjoy it.”
I am also really passionate about documenting real life and keeping the photos and layouts as close to reality as possible, with the joy and the sadness, the good times and bad times, while still constantly reminding myself that overall life is really good. As a survivor of trauma, it is important to me to constantly remind myself that the most important experiences of life are the experiences of now. I also think that when we document our children’s lives we are gifting them with important pieces of their own identities, so they grow up knowing who they are.
With that in mind, I also think it is ok to look at the environment around us and make it a happy environment so we are proud to photograph it! We have built our whole house in order to foster an environment that is easy to keep clean and organized both for our well-being but also because I want to be proud to take photos here. Documenting life on a weekly (or semi-regular) basis is a great motivator for making good things happen!
“On the other hand, there is a balance in creating a beautiful life but also keeping it real.”
On the other hand, there is a balance in creating a beautiful life but also keeping it real. I do know scrapbookers who stage their photos and their photos are so gorgeous to look at! I think if you enjoy putting together pretty settings and vignettes and photographing those vignettes, then you should do that and have fun! That is not who I am and that is not really how I live my life. My photos are for the most part in the moment, taken as life happens, with very little serious consideration to anything other than the focal point and having a photo that is not blurry. And sometimes, I even use the blurry photos.
I tend to be really inspired by looking at other photographers and taking inspiration from others. If we are paying attention, inspiration can literally come at any time and any where. Other scrapbookers who do pocket pages are the most wonderful source of inspiration for me, because they are doing the same type of layouts and they are also similarly focused on regular documenting. I particularly also love the projects of Day in the Life, Week in the Life, and December Daily, all designed and marketed by Ali Edwards, simply for the photographs that are sparked from those projects. I have never done Day in the Life or Week in the Life, but I absolutely love to still follow along for the photography inspiration and the contributions that those detailed photography projects bring to our art!
I also love to find inspiration in magazines, other photographers, and artists. And another particular source of inspiration that you might be surprised by is music videos! I love just watching the camera angles and the focal points of the captures.
So once the photos are captured, how do we know which ones to include on our layouts?! I have already talked a little about this, and so once again I will emphasize relationships! But my favorite part of pocket pages is that these pages provide context for all the seeming random things that happen in our lives. If you ever opened a box of old photos and wondered why some photos were taken, you know what I am talking about! I want to take photos of the people, places and things I love, and the weekly layouts become a tremendous context. I am not even sure that we recognize it in the moment, but maybe in 10 years it will make perfect sense that I took photos of my tea cup considering everything else that was going on. Right?
In particular for me is the idea that our lives are all filled with both good and bad. Sometimes the bad seems to outweigh the good, and this is certainly true when loss and/or trauma are involved. I have spent many years entrenched in trauma recovery and sometimes it has felt like that was really all that my life was ever about! But seeing, on a weekly basis, how much good things I am able to capture and document, has helped me maintain a feeling of balance in life. It isn’t all bad. It might not all be rainbows and roses either, but for sure I know there is lots of happiness.
In light of this idea of context comes the topic of telling the stories we want to tell. I love how one photo can evoke lots of stories, and I gave the example of the photo with my grandparents when I was just a toddler. So if five stories can come from one photo, what do we do with a potential of seven photos on a single layout, many of them random or seemingly unrelated?! And my answer to that is context. What again, is the over-arching feeling or theme you want to carry forward and how do the photos in your layout back that up?
I have this layout from January of 2017 and I feel like it is a great example of this. In that particular week we were snowed in for like three days and some of those days we thought we might go a little nuts. I also struggle with the dark days of winter and so that week was a challenge for me! But when I looked back on the photos I had from the week, I saw how the week evolved from snow and being locked in, and then the snow melted and the sun shone again, and life was ok again. All of the photos in this layout convey that feeling of hope.
Lastly, I want you to remember that some of this doesn’t even have to come as a result of terribly complicated or intense focus, but really is more an intrinsic part of the process itself. In other words, this all happens as we do it and we might not even be consciously aware of all that we bringing into these albums, but now that you hear about it and see it, I bet you can look back at your own layouts and see how this has happened for your own albums. Most importantly, live a full life, photograph and document it, and embrace it for the lovely life it is. Let’s look at my process videos for this lesson!