Friday, October 2, 2009

Photo Planning

Do you get Creating Keepsakes magazine? I do, and I still love it as much as I did when I first started subscribing to it. Granted, there are usually a few features each month that I'm not crazy about, and sometimes some of the layouts aren't really my style, but in general, I still gets lots of ideas and inspiration from this magazine. And every now and then, an article or tip or project published in CK makes me take a step back and say "Wow! Fantastic idea! Why didn't I think of that?"

A month or so ago, I had just such an "aha!" moment as I was sitting out on our sunporch, my CK spread open on the table in front of me. The source of my mental commotion was an article from the special 2009 Top 10 issue entitled "10 Can't Miss Photos to Take Each Month," by Joannie McBride. The simple, straightforward article consisted of a list of each month of the year, with 10 ideas for photos bulleted under each month.

Okay, call me crazy, but the proverbial light bulb went on in my head as I read this piece. I've often carried ideas around in my head for a special picture or two that I wanted to take on different occasions, but I have to admit that it had NEVER occurred to me to actually write down all of those photo ideas, much less organize them by month. This simple idea was pure genius. I just love the idea of thinking about each month ahead of time, contemplating the events and photo opportunities it might bring, and listing ideas for photos that I want to make sure I don't miss for that month. I'm a fairly organized person, but I never thought of bringing some kind of organization to the wealth of random photo ideas fluttering around in my head. When I look at scrapbook magazines, I often mark layouts featuring interesting or unusual photographs, noting in the margin "photo idea." But most of the time, those notes never make it out of the margin of the magazine page. (That's why it took me several years to get around to taking the photos for a layout about our family's most cherished Christmas ornaments -- I'd never remember to take the necessary photos while the tree was up!) Now those margin notes would have a home under the appropriate month on my "Photos to Take" list, where they'd be much more useful.

Now, unlike the CK article, I don't plan to map out a year's worth of "can't miss" photos ahead of time, although you could certainly do that if you were so inclined. Instead, what I plan to do is sit down on the first day or so of a new month with a cup of coffee, my calendar and that inspirational "Top 10" article, and really think about the upcoming month. I plan to make a list of photos I'd like to take that month (and I'm not limiting myself to 10 ideas!), taking into consideration seasonal changes, what my family is going to be doing, the kids' school activities, holidays or celebrations that might be included in that month, and other factors. Once completed, I'm going to keep my list for that month right in my monthly planner, so that I can see it and refer to it often throughout the month. Will I end up taking every photo on my "Photos to Take" list for a given month? That's pretty unlikely. But with the list as an easy reference point, I have no doubt that I'll do a better job of remembering to take my camera to more "everyday" kind of events (isn't that half the battle sometimes?), and I'll be more conscious and deliberate about capturing images that are important to me, both for my family's enjoyment and simply to make scrapbooking easier and more fun. Am I ONLY going to take photos from my list? Of course not. The "planned" photos will simply take their place alongside all of the spontaneous, everyday photos that I also take each month.

Seeing as how it's the beginning of October, I thought I'd go ahead and share my list of photos for the coming month with you.

Photos to Take -- October 2009

Jack 'o' lantern before and after (this cool idea is from CK)
Fall baked item on new pumpkin serving tray
My family, all wearing sweaters
Stack of my favorite sweatshirts, folded
Colorful fall foliage -- both landscape shots and detail shots
High school football game
Marching band at "light show" halftime performance
Brian holding a jack 'o' lantern and imitating its expression (from CK)
New fall wreath on the front door
Baskets of apples at a farm market
Kids at the pumpkin patch (need to plan a trip to do this one)
Cases of Boy Scout popcorn stacked up in my garage
Bosses' Day food spread at work
* Kids' costumes
* Groups of ToT'ers going around the neighborhood
* New treat bucket I intend to make
* Halloween decor
* The candy haul
* Brandon with his friends

Well, that's my list. Are you ready to create yours?

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