Hi everyone! It’s Linda and I’m so excited to be here today to share some of my favorite tips as we get ready for Week in the Life next week. This is going to be my ninth year embarking on this project and I have definitely found a rhythm that works for me in this project. Hopefully some of these tips help you feel ready to dive in on Monday (or whenever you decide to play along)!
Tip 01: Create a “scavenger hunt” list of items to seek out during the week.
After doing this project for a few years, I found that it doesn’t make sense (nor is it super interesting, to me) to document every single detail of everyday. That is a lot to collect! I also struggle with the concern that my daily life might be “boring” to document. I am a single mom of a teenager and I spend a lot of time working, crafting, or just doing ordinary life activities.
What keeps this project exciting and interesting for me is instead focusing on a “scavenger hunt” list of items that I want to seek out each day during the week. Sometimes these are product driven—this year the main kit has 7 fun “-ing” words—sometimes these are photo focused—last year I took a daily photo of my outfit and something that was circular—or sometimes these are story based—I’ve sought out a daily gratitude or quote.
Before the week begins, I like to create a checklist of the items I am seeking out during the week and print it out so I can refer back to it each day as I collect my photos. In the picture above you can see my used list from last year and my new prepped list for this year.
Tip 02: Come up with an album plan before the documenting week, but then put it all away during the week.
I like to look at my products & album before the week begins and give myself a basic set up for the album. This allows me to get excited about the project and start thinking about the types of photos & stories I want to collect. I typically do this while assembling my scavenger hunt list so that I know I have a plan to include all of the things I collect.
Setting up the album in advance also allows me to be realistic about what I want to capture. I want to make sure my entire week fits in one album, which means at the most 8 pages per day. That’s a lot! But it also fills up quickly when you have multiple things you want to collect everyday. Laying out my album plan in advance helps me get a realistic idea of how many photos and stories I should collect to prevent me from ending up with too much or too little.
Then, I put the products away. I will look over my album plan one last time this weekend and then put everything away, minus my checklist, during the documenting week. That way I can focus on living & collecting stories. When I’m ready to put my album together, having it set up is going to help me get it completed. That said, if you don’t have your album set up yet, don’t worry! Do what you can this weekend, and then put it away. Enjoy collecting the photos + stories and then come back to your album afterwards.
Tip 03: Get yourself in the photo.
This is a project about YOUR week in the life. Not your children’s, not your spouse’s, not your friend’s or your cat’s, this is your week. You are the main character in your story, so you should be the main character in your album! Yes, the other people (and animals) in your life might play prominent roles in your life and album, but this is your story. Your album should reflect that!
If you struggle to get yourself in the photo, I would suggest creating scavenger hunt list items that include photos of yourself. One thing I did last year was take a daily photo looking downward—it usually included my hands & feet—each day and used that as my opening photo for the day. I loved how these turned out and it took the pressure off getting a “perfect” opening photo each day.
Another tip I suggest is use a camera timer. If you have an apple watch, the remote shutter on the watch is amazing for this project because you can see a preview of the photo on your watch and then have a 3 second timer once you hit the shutter. But, even without an apple watch, you can get great photos of yourself! The camera app on most phones has a built in timer, set up your phone and take some shots. Have fun with it, it’s totally okay to get 20 mistimed/misframed photos before you get one good one. That’s part of the fun of this project!
Tip 04: Select & edit your photos daily on your phone.
I take a TON of photos during this project. For me, selecting and editing the photos takes the most time and is often a barrier to me getting this project done quickly. The past few years I have avoided this issue by working through this daily during the week on my phone.
I created a new folder in my photos app (I use an iPhone) and then added 7 albums to it, one for each day. Each night during WITL I will spend 10 minutes or so scrolling through my photos for the day and favoriting the ones I will probably want to use. Then I will use the Color Story App to edit the favorited photos, last year I used the Hollywood filter so they all had a similar feel. Then I will save the edited photos to the correct day’s album.
When it’s time to put together my album after the week, I have my photos narrowed down and edited. I will only have to select which photo gets printed in which size and print them out. Plus, reviewing the photos each night helps me see what things are under represented. For example, I might realize by Friday that I don’t have any great photos of the front of my house, so I will make it a point to take one on Saturday.
Tip 05: Have realistic expectations & keep it fun!
This is a HUGE project. Documenting seven days in a row is a lot to collect, and then putting the album together takes a long time. Plus, you’re living life while doing all of these things! You can’t expect to capture every single thing, it’s just not possible.
Even though I create a scavenger hunt list of things I want to collect each day, it’s totally expected that I will miss some of them. Maybe I won’t find time to take the photo, maybe I don’t have any great ideas, or maybe I just completely forget! All are totally feasible. You should go into this project with the expectation that you won’t capture everything that you want to get, and that’s totally okay. You can have a back up plan in place for when you don’t get everything!
You can always use photos taken on the “wrong” day to fill in gaps. Last year, I included a flat lay each day. I loved that idea, but I knew going into the week I wouldn’t have the time or lighting to take a flat lay photo each day, especially when I was in the office. Instead, I think I took four of them on Saturday and just spread them out throughout the week, that’s totally okay!
You can also take photos after the week. If you are going through to put your album together next month and you realize you’re missing a key photo you wanted to capture, just go take it! It’s still from the same general time period, that totally works. Last year I wanted to capture a photo each day of a specific “space” in my life, but after the week I realized I never got a good photo of my daughter’s room. I went and took one a couple of weeks later and it is still very representative of her room at that point in time (but looks very different from now!).
Finally, you can just let it go. If you want to capture a daily outfit photo and you get 6 out of 7, great! Include those 6 photos in your album and on that missed day (if you’re anything like me, it’s going to be Friday), just put a different photo or a filler card in that spot in your design formula. It’s totally okay! Six outfit photos from a week is still a great representation of what you’re wearing right now.
I hope these tips help you get ready for this project. Above all else, though, keep it fun! We’re doing this because we enjoy the process… don’t forget that, so make sure you’re enjoying it. And, if you’re not, change it up.
I am sharing my set up and plan for this year over on youtube, you can find my video here.
You can find walk-throughs of some of my completed WITL albums here.
You can also find me over on instagram: @lindalovescreating.