1 November 2013

Being intentional about capturing details

I've been thinking about intentional photography.

I've been asked a few times how I take so many instagrams. What is there to photograph every day?
Well the answer is both everything and nothing.

Most days there aren't big moments, special occasions, red letters. There is life which involves work and food and often dull things. So in that frame of mind, no there isn't much to take photos of.


But at the same time there are so many things to take photos of. There are many things I see when I walk to and from lectures that make me smile or make me stop. I think it is about noticing things. Noticing perspective, noticing light and patterns.

I think you have to be intentional about capturing every day photos. I have to bother to take my phone out and snap that photo. But at the same time the more I practice seeing the details the more I want to photograph them.

There is a purpose too in capturing the details. I want my children to see what Durham looked like on a rainy day or what joy autumn brings me. I love the big special photos but life isn't just big and special. It's hum drum, it's repetitive but it's also minutely beautiful.


My go to phrase when I am pondering whether to take a photo is this:
"did it make me stop, smile or think?"
"If yes, would someone else do the same when they saw my photo?"
"Does this photo tell another story? Is it beautiful in whatever way that may be?"

I think this photo sums up what I am trying to say.


My housemate was sitting on her bed, engrossed in her work. The door was open a tiny bit and the afternoon sun was streaming in. The light, the view point and her work were a perfect subject.  She was beautiful sitting there but she was also everyday. I nearly passed her by but instead I ran upstairs, grabbed my phone and popped it around the door. It was everyday but it made me smile. It's by no means a perfect photo but I am proud of it.

I want to be an intentional photographer. I want to learn to look for the moments to capture rather than focusing on the people who will pose for me.

What are your thoughts about capturing details?

11 comments:

Sian said...

I would have loved to have been capturing the details with a phone camera when I was your age! I think there is something magical about how easy it is to frame a picture with a phone camera. It has definitely made me look at lots of things with new eyes

alexa said...

A lovely post and I am all about the details :). I wish I had paid more attention when I was younger because, in the end, those are the things we remember and are woven into the fabric of our lives - the small, the homely, the daily ... Keep snapping and recording, Abi, and you will never regret it!

ally said...

I love Instagram. It's about capturing the little things in life as well as the big things.
What's your name on Instagram?

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

A lovely and thoughtful post, Abi. I love capturing photos of everyday/ordinary things and I think that simple act actually takes some practice. Lately I find myself looking for new things to photograph around my house - I think I've covered that ground fairly well over the past couple of years. Anyway, I do love seeing your photos (here and on Instagram) and I think you do a fantastic job of capturing common details and making them look really interesting.

And that's a great shot of your house mate! :o)

Ruth said...

Doing PL has made me much more aware of intentional photography and I am no longer embarrassed to pull my DSLR from my bag and take the shot. Your future children will thank you for giving them the ability to see into your life pre them!
Snap away!
And I love the shot of your housemate.

Karen said...

Like Sian and Alexa, I regret that I came so late to capturing details. I was interested to find that I took many photos for Instagram while we were traveling, but they never got to Instagram. I have the photo thing down, but not the posting! You take lovely photos, and the one of your roommate is really special!

Amy said...

I try very hard to be an intentional photographer - mostly for the kids but I get a lot of enjoyment out of observing little moments and details.

I loved seeing that shot of your housemate on IG and I think it perfectly describes/shows how to photograph with intention.

Niina - It seems pretty obvious. said...

I have my ups and down when it comes to capturing the little details in life, sometimes I'm pretty good at it, but right now I kind of suck at it :)

I loved this post! Really inspirational!

Sandra said...

I'm Instagram obsessed and because of that I enjoy photographing the everyday little things and you've certainly succeeded in capturing special moments

Miriam said...

I am about anything that catches my eye, the details, the colours the shapes, If I have noticed it I photograph it. And I think that because I photograph so much I notice even more. I am hopeless at posting though!

Gail said...

What a thought provoking post Abi. It makes me want to take more intentional photos. That's a great picture of your housemate.