Capturing a Day in the Life: Benefits of a Personal Project

Have you ever heard of a day in the life project? Have you considered one or tried it? It’s quite simple, but does take focus.

The benefits however are great, and I think you’ll love how yours turns out. I decided to take on a day in the life essay project once a month this year because I want to focus on my storytelling skills and this is a great way to do it. A day in the life is essentially a story about your life in one day in photos.

Because those little in between moments in life I remember to capture them when I'm doing a day in the life.

What is a Day In The Life Project?

For the project, you pick up your camera to capture your everyday moments throughout one chosen day. All the daily mundane things, captured on your camera by you. It’s a form of storytelling. Visually, you create a documentary essay of what happens one day in your life. You become a photojournalist for your life. To do it, you have to focus, and therefore it takes practice. I missed some parts of my day, this time, that I wished I caught because there were times I forgot to snap some shots.

Today, I’ll look at what the benefits are to shooting a day in the life project, and I plan on talking in two other posts about the process of shooting and processing a day in the life.

Benefits to a Day In The Life Project


Storytelling is a key component to photography. Storytelling is where you express what you want to say about the moment or place you are in, yet you have to do it visually. That’s not easy for some people, and others it’s still easier than trying to write a story. If you can convey a feeling, an event, or a moment through one photograph or a series of photos, then you’ve successfully told a story. Storytelling allows your photos to be more compelling, to draw in the viewer because they want to know more about the story. Tell them something and get them to stick around and ask for more.

Capture the Mundane

Many times through life we pick up the camera for the big moments. The big events. But we tend to let the little moments slide right by even though those are the moments that we talk about to our kids. We tell them about the little things they used to do or say. Capturing the mundane or small moments and details occurs more naturally when you do a day in the life project because those moments unfold for you throughout the day. You take notice more of those things, and the benefit is you end up with a photo to memorialize those mundane moments and details, that you may realize are not so mundane. I don’t know about you, but I will treasure those photos. And I know if I didn’t do this project that I might never capture those.

New Perspectives

Do you ever feel like you’re shooting the same photos over and over again? I’ve been there and was bored. But, by shooting a day in the life, you’ll be able to push yourself to look at those same moments that you keep shooting but from a different perspective. Yeah, you’ve shot your kid going down the slide a gajillion times, why do you need another one? Because now you can find a different perspective. You need to capture the moment for you project, find another way to capture it. Or if you are unsure shoot in every way imaginable. You might be surprised at the fresh results.

Easier to Swallow than a Large 365 or even 52 Project

There isn’t much to say on this except if a 52 week or 365 project is too daunting for you to take on, then this is a much smaller, less tremendous undertaking than those. It only takes one day. And if you want to make a bigger project out of it, then do it one day a month for a year. Less pressure to shoot everyday, or even every week (although you should be).

A Path to Improvement

It’s another path to improvement. Like I said, if you can tell a story and capture your viewer through your storytelling skills, then you are doing good. It’s another way to push practice too. Because practice does make you better. And what better way to practice than shoot all day for one day. It also forces you to push your creativity – especially if you are doing several days in the life. Finally it pushes you to explore the narrative, to learn how to shoot to tell a story.

It’s a Personal Project

If you’ve ever heard how great taking on a personal project is, this is worth considering. If you’ve read anything out there about personal projects, you’ll know most people grow from them. This is one way to do a personal project.

A way to shoot without trying to impress

When you stop shooting to impress and instead start shooting to express your heart, a story, something you love, or something that is stirring your soul, then it comes across in your photos. Your photos will shine with your expression. When you shoot to impress, it’s salesy and no one likes salesy.

Even if you’re working from your phone’s camera or a point and shoot, it’s well worth pulling out whatever camera you do have and shooting a day in your life. For me, it’s a way to improve while also keeping little details alive through my photos. And if you want to see how to shoot a day in the life, I’ll cover two approaches you can take soon! Sign up for the weekly newsletter so you don’t miss it. Plus you get tons of other great stuff!

A look at my January Day in the Life.

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Thanks for looking and reading!