I am absolutely delighted that I went ahead with this project that I was initially hesitant about. Taking pictures daily has challenged me and caused me to grow as a photographer in a big way. However, I think it's mostly been a way to focus my heart on the wonder that's around me every day. These kids are growing and changing and loving and learning and Ben and I are busy up to our eyeballs with them. Sometimes it feels easy to miss the big picture when we're moving life along for our littles. However, this daily project has made me pay attention to the small stuff, and count my blessings.  

I'd like to thank my wonderful hubby for helping me put together this slideshow of the year 2012! Enjoy!

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I've so appreciated all the cheering on and love that our family has received as I've posted these pictures each day. It's been really fun! What's also been exciting to me is how many people who are considering jumping on the bandwagon for 2013. I have attempted to answer some of your questions on the logistics of this project. Hopefully it helps. I would mostly just encourage you to try, whether on your fancy camera or iphone. Have fun with it and give yourself grace if you miss a day (I explain below how I just slide in another photo when I have missed a day ;) ). Whatever camera you have, whatever skill level you are at, the reality is: only you can document your life and you'll be glad you made whatever effort you can with this project or any other project that documents your life.


How did you decide what to photograph?

This was initially one of my concerns...what if I couldn't come up with ideas? I really found that it was good for me to stretch and get creative. I obviously have a lot going on around her with four children but I didn't want to do every day shooting them with their toys. I tried to think each day: what is different? what are we doing today that's unusual (think school plays, day trips, etc)? Then there were a lot of days that funny stuff cropped up and I went running for my camera. To be honest, some days felt a little stale and flat and that's okay. Other days there were lots of images I could choose from. Not every day needs to be fireworks. After all, sometimes it's the simplest stuff we want to remember.

The sky is the limit: daily routines, cuddles, favorite foods, stores you frequent, places you travel, things you love, things you don't love, books, snack time, your transportation, seasonal activities, chores, timeouts. If you run dry of ideas just google "365 project" or "365 daily photos" and you'll come up with lots of inspiration.

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Fancy camera or iphone?

I want good images so I've opted for my d-slr but if making it easy on yourself with an iphone will keep you going, do it. There's no wrong way to do this!

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How do you keep it organized?

This is a biggie as it could get overwhelming.

  • I usually dump everything off my memory card every day or two but you could even do this every week or so.
  • I then choose one photo from each day to edit (or you don't need to edit if you don't want to).
  • With my photo information, it tells me the date and time I took the shot so I add that with a title.
  • I usually organize my photos by date and event, i.e. "2012.11.21 Making Thanksgiving Pie" but for each month I created a separate album to drop these special pictures into "Project 366- December".
  • I double check at the end of the month that they are in order and that I have one for each day and then I upload them to Shutterfly where I am working on a book.
  • I also every day or every other day or at the end of a trip, would post them to facebook to share.

You don't have to share them or upload them but I do really suggest keeping a collection of them by month somewhere so at the end of the year you aren't hunting all over for April 24.


How do you have your camera around when stuff is happening?

My camera is never tucked far away. I have it accessible to me all the time, though I am very careful to have it out of reach of little hands. If you are going the iphone route this should be particularly easy.

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What if I don't have kids?

What I wouldn't give to have a year of our first year of marriage documented or a year of high school! At whatever stage you are at, I think there is value in documenting your life.

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How do you keep your kids on board?

I really try to fly under the radar with these pictures and not make them a huge deal every day. I make pictures fun. The key to these pictures is to try to not get them to stand and pose but to catch them doing what they are doing.

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How do you date the photos?

I have really found that dating them helped me so much with keeping track of them. I added the date and time and a short title but I have seen just the date as well. Almost all editing softward that I've seen, even the simple stuff comes with some way to add text to the picture, even with iphone editing.

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What if my pictures aren't works of art?

Sometimes the lighting is crummy or my shot is just plain vanilla but that's cool. It's part of the journey. You don't have to be a photographer to do this project, you just need to be present and able to grab a camera. Your kids won't care if you don't follow the rule of thirds but they will be glad that there's a picture of them on the phone with their grandmother. A sense of humor helps too.

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Do you just shoot one photo or lots and choose the best?

Being me, I usually shoot several and choose the best. I often try out some different settings on my camera and angles. However, in the interest of simplicity, you could easily go ka-bam once with your iphone and be done with it.

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How are you in so many of the pictures?

I'm pretty determined to have lots and lots of photographic proof that I am a part of things and I hand off my camera all the time for pictures of me with my kiddos. Sometimes it's me first thing in the morning or with bad hair and that's okay. When Ruby sees this picture, she won't care that it's not a glamorous portrait. She'll be glad that her mom watched girl movies in bed on her kindle with her.

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Horizontal or vertical?

You could do one or the other or a combination. Because of the projects I do with mine, I have chosen to do it horizontally.

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What if I can't keep up with 365 pictures?

I was doubtful that I could keep it up last year when I started but I did, one day at a time. I found that having a system to keep them organized helped me to not be overwhelmed. Also, if I missed a day I did not feel the least bit badly about fudging a bit. Which means, I just took another shot from the day after or day before and added it in, of something that would make sense for that day too...like a favorite food or thing in our home. If Project 365 feels like too much, consider doing a Project 52- a photo each week of your life. Another thing that I do is A Day in the Life. I am currently working on the day I recorded in 2012. Another thing I have done is a family picture each month. Here's one of my Six Times Twelve updates (six Hamiltons times twelve months). And really, if you just do a month or two or six before you peter out, would that be so bad? I would LOVE to see a month's worth of daily pictures from when I was little.

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What do you do to showcase the daily pictures?

Each day I have shared the pictures on Facebook in a special album along with a sentence or two. The one I got the most response to was this one which still makes me laugh.

As much as I adore Tymen, there are times he wears me to a nub. Today I was all over him for chewing on the bottoms of his flipflops, breaking off chunks of foam from his carseat, pulling on the blades of the ceiling fan and breaking the fixture from the top bunk. This was the icing on the cake....a plunger strategically placed over my lemonade. 6:30 bedtime it is.

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I am making a giant collage to print on canvas using Picasa's collage feature...super easy and free. I am very excited about this. I am thinking 30 by 30 should show the pictures big enough. I can't wait to work on this now that I have completed all my days.

The other thing that I have done each month is upload all the pictures to Shutterfly where it's taken me about 15 minutes per month to drag and drop them into a photo book. After I do December, I will order my 12 by 12 book. I put between 1-8 pictures on each page. I'm going to put it on my coffee table for everyone to see :).

I would love to hear from you any ideas or tips or thoughts that you have regarding this project. Can't wait to see the beauty that you capture in your lives!