We’re excited to welcome photographer Donya Luana as today’s guest blog contributor for our Snapshot blog series.
Since starting Project Life 14 months ago, I’ve noticed a few changes in the way I approach photographing my family and every day life. These are a few ideas I keep in mind when taking photos I plan to scrapbook.
Create “negative space”. This is a term for the blank or empty space in a photo or design. Composing a photo with negative space provides a great area for embellishments and journaling. Though you don’t always have to fill it up! Leaving it empty is a great way to create “breathing space”. The blank part of a photo becomes a resting spot for your eyes as you glance over the page. Instead of filling the whole photo with the subject(s), step back or compose your photo so that your subject is not centered.
Shoot from multiple angles. Instead of always taking a photo from your typical standing viewpoint, kneel or lay down so that you are level with your subject. Try shooting from above or below. Simply changing the perspective in a photo can add much more interest.
Be mindful of colors. Avoid distracting colors surrounding your subject. This tip can be applied to photography in general, as it can be distracting to the eye to have a bright colored object positioned behind your subject. In the case of Project Life, having similar colors in your photos will create a cohesive look to your spread. When possible I remove any objects/colors that do not need to be in the photo. Oftentimes if a photo I really want to include contains colors that stick out from the rest of my spread, I will make it black and white so that it fits in with the rest of my page.
Use the timer. Take photos of yourself. Take photos of your family, including yourself. It became apparent really fast once I began Project Life that I wasn’t taking many photos of me. With two little boys who seem to constantly be showing off their cute or crazy side, I often forget to turn the camera on myself. Sometimes this means handing the camera over to someone else and asking for them to take a photo. But I particularly like playing around with the camera timer both on my DSLR and the iPhone, especially since I’m typically home alone with my two boys and neither are great at taking photos quite yet.
Take vertical and horizontal photos. Shooting both vertically (portrait) and horizontally (landscape) gives you many more options when it comes to laying out a Project Life spread. This took me a few weeks to get used to as I tend to take a lot of portrait photos. But you don’t want to be stuck with 10 vertical photos and only a 1 or 2 horizontal ones. Give yourself options by taking at least one of each when possible. However, be warned that you may end up with both a vertical and horizontal photo you feel you just MUST include.
Storytelling Images. As people say, a picture is worth a thousand words. But really, take the time to think about this as you photograph your every day life. Are your images conveying the story? Looking back at that photo 20 years from now, will you be reminded of the story behind the image? Sure, some of this can be told in journaling, and should be, but I also strive to capture a lot of the story in the image as well. Sometimes this can be done through a series of images.
Lastly, remember to keep your camera handy. Whether it’s your phone, point-and-shoot, or DSLR – the best camera is the one you have nearby and ready!