Tips for Creating a Photographic Journal of a Single Year

We’ve all seen them – the flip-book style animations created by someone who takes a single photograph of themselves every day for a year. These are somewhat impressive, and can actually be a bit shocking because of the dramatic changes in appearance that some people experience.

So, how do they do this so effectively? It is done in many different ways, but the best approach is to utilize a repetitive environment and camera settings. If you have a modern digital camera that allows you to create or save a certain range of settings as a “preset” you should do so when you begin your year of photography. Before you do that, however, you must understand that this can become a somewhat tedious process if you don’t allow yourself some creativity.

How can that be done? Well, if you have experienced other photographic diaries you might have seen them incorporate a range of facial expressions that gave the slideshow the look of actual motion, or they might have used props in clever and effective ways too. This is done with some advanced planning, and must still use the presets in order to keep the finished product fluid and consistent.

Let’s first look at the setting. You must select a location that you will be able to easily stand, sit, or recline in, etc. each and every day. This means you shouldn’t sit in the front garden for the first few months of photographs unless you also want to sit there throughout the winter months as well (although this would make a remarkable and dramatic background). You should also select a time of day in order for the ambient lighting to be somewhat consistent as well.

The next thing to consider is the composition of the shots. Will they be of the “chest up” variety or do you intend to do full body photographs? You will need to clearly indicate the position you must stand or sit, and also mark up the spot where the camera is placed as well. This will help keep things like focusing and daily setup to a minimum. It also eliminates the chances for glaring inconsistencies later on.

Once your location, composition, and camera settings have been determined you can then begin to plan for any funny, humorous, or creative additions to your series of photographs.

If you don’t want to be the subject of the journal, you could easily use a house pet or even another member of the family. This would be a wonderful approach to recording the changes in the first year of a child’s life while also honing photographic skills!