Day in the Life Series: Forgiveness

First of all, I love that you are here.  You were probably drawn in by the idea of a swear word in the title, so we should be friends, I think.  Alas, the F-word I’m referencing isn’t the same one you might use when you break a dish in the sink…I’ll get to that though.

Years ago, I started shooting a full day in the life (sunrise to sunset) series of my family in both photos and film once a year.  Unposed and totally real, it’s the most exhausting day of shooting but also my most beloved.  For some reason, I do this every August or September, I’m not sure why that started though.  Maybe because the calendar is a little more open? Regardless, I put it on the calendar, don’t plan anything else for the day, stock up on wine, and mentally prepare.

Creating a day in the life video with your DSLR

Creating a day in the life video with your DSLR

I’m a raging lunatic the day before and I pre-apologize to my husband for how insane I am and will continue to be. The day of a DITL (day in the life) shoot, it’s not about being a present mom.  It’s not a day mommy bloggers will reference for being magical and full of whimsy.  You don’t stop and smell the roses, and if you do, it’s for the photo, not the actual process.  You won’t thoughtfully listen to conversations and you won’t do the dishes.  You will only take photos and question your sanity…for 12 hours. And then you will sleep like a baby.

Tomorrow you will be present and thoughtful and rested and not a total crazy person. Today? You will be a tripod and camera carrying lunatic.  And that’s okay…the end product is worth it. 

So you might be thinking, get to the f-word already, lady!

Got it.  The f-word is (drumroll)


…and let me tell you, you are going to need a truck load of it, friend.

Creating a day in the life video with your DSLR

Creating a day in the life video with your DSLR

Forgive yourself…

  • for missing focus before coffee
  • for snapping at your kids because they moved out of the frame
  • for forgetting to charge your batteries
  • for wanting to give up when you realize “OMG I HAVE TO DO THIS FOR 5 MORE HOURS!!!!”
  • for forgetting your coffee in the microwave
  • for not putting on makeup
  • for missing the shot because you were looking for your coffee
  • for not getting in the frame as much as you hoped
  • for not shooting the most unique compositions
  • for giving up on life at least 12 times that day
  • for dropping the other f-word when you probably shouldn’t have
  • for overshooting and now you have a gazillion photos to cull through (note: I filled up almost 2 memory cards with photos (roughly 600 images) and video clips (almost 200) and culled them down to under 100 photos and a video collection that’s just over 3-minutes long…you can do it!)
  • for setting unrealistic magical expectations of what your everyday life is really like
  • for not leveling the tripod and having a lot of slanted photos and/or video clips

Creating a day in the life video with your DSLR

Creating a day in the life video with your DSLR

Forgive your kids

  • because they are kids
  • because they knocked the tripod over and gave you a heart attack
  • because they stopped doing the fabulous thing they were doing once you got your camera settings right
  • because they always want to play in the bad light
  • because they won’t give you a second to find your lost coffee
  • because they woke up early from nap and you need one bloody minute to sit down and rest

Your real life isn’t picture perfect most days, at least mine isn’t, but for some reason we expect when we get the camera out that will change.  It doesn’t.  Crazy and chaos march on.  Embrace it, let go of perfection, and do your best.  Shower yourself and your kids and and your good sport of a spouse in forgiveness. 

Creating a day in the life video with your DSLR

Creating a day in the life video with your DSLR 

I’ve written and talked about Day in the Life projects before so I won’t repeat myself, but here’s my greatest tip: you don’t need hundreds of photos of the same task.  Say eating..breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, supper…chances are they all look the same just with different foods.  Take a few photos and then put the camera away.  For your sanity and for the sake of everyone else.  Chances are if you shoot a little more selectively there will be less reason to forgive and more time for fun, and isn’t that a much better f-word?

So, if you made it this far, you must like pain, so here’s your job: get out your calendar and find an empty square.  No athletic events or birthday parties, no in-laws over for dinner.  A totally empty square.  Now write in it “DITL PROJECT.”  You can do this, whether you do photos or a film or both, you CAN do it.  Prepare, charge your batteries, find your tripod, format your memory cards, buy some high octane coffee, make a mental plan of your day (what you want to shoot, when you want to get in the frame, etc), diffuse some lavender oil, warn your family, and carry a big ol’ mug of forgiveness around with you the whole day, dumping it everywhere like it’s 1999. You aren’t perfect, neither is your house or you family, embrace it, shoot it, and after you sleep, enjoy every single piece of awesome that you documented that day. Your life is FABULOUS and so are you.

And I would say have fun, but let’s not fool ourselves here. xo

Creating a day in the life video with your DSLR

P.S. If a full DITL is just too overwhelming, start smaller! Try a morning or breakfast-to-lunch shoot.  Every year on my kids’ birthdays I do something a smaller version. We have breakfast birthday parties so I document our mornings from wake-up to nap time…I’m less of a lunatic on those days :)

{all photos were edited with Gypsy (color) and Silver Lace (b&w) from the Bohemian Collection with adjustments.

If you would like to start filming your life but aren’t sure where to start, you might want to read this post on the Pretty Presets for Lightroom blog “8-tips to Get You Started Shooting Video with your DSLR”

Music Credit: Okee Dokee Brothers //