There will come a time when we look back at 2020 and a time when we stayed home. There will be a time whether it is with our children when they are older or perhaps our grandchildren, that they will ask what life looked like at this time. What will we have to show them? Are we documenting the history that is happening before our very eyes? Are we taking advantage of this time we have been given? To help you with this important task, I wanted to share five tips for documenting life at home. Because the truth of the matter is that this time is unprecedented. This is our history. Documenting it is so vitally important for the generations who come after us. And it is vitally important for our families, our own legacy, and the story of our personal history.
Sometimes we become complacent in our documenting. I think it is easy to only remember to pick up the camera for the big moments, the milestones. However, with this current gift of time, it is the perfect opportunity to dig a little deeper. Many of us have gone through changes within our homes, whether that be the abrupt push into home educating or perhaps working from home. Daily life looks really different right now and those changes are the story of the current situation. They will be the details we recall in the future of the time we had together as families. The time we had with no distractions, or busy schedules. It will be this incredible tale for those listening ears in years to come. It will be the tale of when the world stopped.
*Brief side note: All of the photographs in this post were taken with my iPhone. Telling your story doesn’t have to be complicated.
Kids are home right now unexpectedly with summer having started a few months earlier than anyone planned on. Suddenly there is time readily available for them to just be kids. They aren’t having to wake up early, cram for tests at night, or run from school to extracurricular activities. What are they filling their time with? What are they discovering, building, playing? If your home is anything like ours, then you probably have forts built, campouts happening, game nights in abundance, and movies on loop. And yes, of course, there is learning to get to, but let’s not forget the value of play, shall we? Photograph it. Document this time for them and what it looks like in their life.
Stand above your kids and photograph what they are playing. Sit across from your child while he or she is tackling home studies and document what educating looks like right now. Photograph the fort, the naps, the wrestling matches, the family board games, the reading of books… document it all.
I always say the story is in the details. And this couldn’t be more true when it comes to our families. The laughter, maybe consoling cuddles, perhaps the baking and cooking that is going on more than usual, little hands dirty from playing outside, the car rides enjoyed to get out of the house for a little bit, even your grown-up and seemingly large teenager sprawled out on the sofa. And then there are the deeper moments. The news broadcasts watched, the help that was given to loved ones and friends. These are the details that string the story together. Look for them. You will never regret documenting the smallest of details of your home and loved ones during this time.
Tip number three of my five tips for documenting life at home. This one may take a little coaxing to get everyone to comply, but with the extra time that you have, photograph each person individually. Creating these portraits will be something you will be so glad you did and they will be grateful to have themselves documented in this way and during this time for their own history book.
The easiest way to make a great portrait happen is right in front of an open front door. Turn off all of the lights behind the person and let that natural light fill in and create beautiful shadowing. For natural expressions, ask your child not to smile. Then tell the silliest joke you can think of right before snapping the picture. I even ask my loved ones to fake laugh which then always turns into an actual laugh and I can get a pretty beautiful and natural reaction caught on camera.
This is one of the top two most important ones. To my mothers and fathers, include yourself in the photographs. Be present in your story. I always hate having to pull the Dad card, but from someone who lost hers far too early in life, I would give anything for more pictures of him. Show up for your kids and in their history. Show up for yours. Get in front of the camera. This can be done by allowing someone else to document the moment while you are in the frame, and this is my go-to option most of the time, a picture done selfie-style can make for a beautiful photograph. Keep scrolling to see some proof.
Okay, this is the most important one. Before we know it kids will be back in school, parents will be back at work, sports games will be on the schedule, appointments to be kept, and we will once again be back to our lives just as they were. But part of me wonders if we will look back at this time and wish for it again. When the frustration and fear have dissipated, the stressful situations corrected, will we remember just how sweet slow living was in the Spring of 2020? Make sure and gather the entire crew for a self-portrait. Nothing over the top, just as you are. Gather close and make it meaningful.
I’m sure it will be one of the very first photographs you pull from the album as you recall this year in the future. Because it was the year that the world stopped. Just for a moment. And allowed us to remember what matters most.
I hope these five tips for documenting home life during the 2020 pandemic are helpful. And I hope it inspires you in the important work of preserving your family’s memories.
For more tips for photographing and documenting everyday life, enjoy past posts right here. You can also follow along over on Instagram or the Kara Layne Facebook page where I share daily life and how I am documenting it.
If you want to take it even further, join me for the Documenting the Everyday educational series and let’s link arms in preserving our stories. Click here for all of the information.