Documenting the every day

Instagram book

We all take pictures on big occasions.

Graduations, birthdays, weddings. During life’s major moments, we’re out there with our cameras — some big, some small — trying to capture it all. Regardless of whether or not you consider yourself a photographer, we all take snapshots. Pictures are our way of freezing time. If your family is anything like mine, photos from the past emerge regularly — and are a source of great comedy. And joy.

I’m biased, of course. My mom has had a camera glued to her hand since my parents welcomed me. I can’t think of an occasion without visualizing Mom with her Canon. Her pictures tell my entire life story — and our life story: the story of our family. Photos are important. We both take lots of them.

It’s not enough to document the big moments, though. As important as holidays and birthdays are, our lives are comprised of tinier moments — the everyday ones. Lunch with friends, a walk before work, our dog asleep in a warm patch of light. And with the advent of portable technology that’s always within our grasp, many of us are take pictures with our smartphones.


Though an iPhone picture isn’t quite the same as a DSLR capture, the pictures I’ve snapped with my phone are just as meaningful. My friend Guy constantly says, “The best camera is the one you have with you” — and he’s absolutely right. For as much as I love my Canon, it’s big — and heavy. I take it out when I plan To Take Pictures. That is: when I have an event or a time or a place. But I’m usually out and about sans camera, doing my thing, and the iPhone is the camera I have with me.

And that’s where Instagram comes in. As 2012 drew to a close, I knew I wanted a way to reflect back on what was both a momentous and tough year. I started a Shutterfly book in February, planning to update it with my Canon photos as the months went on, because I was tired of thinking about all the “little” pictures — the ones not tied to any set event — that were getting lost in the shuffle. I wanted a year — an entire year — in one photobook. I wanted to document the ins and outs, the highs and lows, and have everything in one.

Oh, I was so innocent.

I take a lot of pictures, friends. A lot of pictures. Like 2,000 on a single vacation, for example, and I travel as much as I can. For as much as I love Shutterfly books (and they’re not paying me to say that!), you can only include so many pictures in a book before you just . . . run out of space.

Bridalveil Fall

I figured out early on that I would just barely fit all of 2012 into one book before hitting the 111-page cut-off. My 2012 year in review book is almost finished, but I didn’t include any of the photos I’ve come to really appreciate: my Instagram snapshots.

So I made another book — and this one is just for phone pictures. Though some are grainy and the colors can be wonky and, you know, they’re not going to win me any awards, they’re my pictures. These are the photos I take on a random Tuesday, and they’re often of the things I value most.

I called the Instagram book “Day to Day” — because that’s how most of us are living, right? Taking it one thing at a time.

Or one snapshot at a time.

Heart in snow

10 thoughts on “Documenting the every day

  1. I agree, capturing the moment is the essence, either if its taken from a DLSR or a camera phone. Instagram and softwares of the like are anyway available to improve the appearance of photos 🙂


  2. Photographers everywhere have the same dilemma. Good job capturing the angst of wearing the gear to practice your art … or enjoying the trip and not taking “good” photos.


  3. My family have been photographers since the camera was invented which makes me the holder of an amazing historical social history archive. Yes, photograph daily life, but DO go to the trouble to make hard copies, because they will be what captures the imagination of future generations. 😃


  4. That’s a great idea to do ‘year in review’ books. I’ve been trying to figure out how to best store/display photos for some reason I’ve never thought to do themed photo books like that. Plus that way I won’t be mocked by my fiance for ordering ‘glossies’.


  5. I love the idea of collecting my photos in a book each year. I have made a few post big trips but just the yeabookr is a great way to collate and preserve those “little moments” – thanks for the idea!


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