Capturing a Day in the Life: Using Vision

You can shoot a day in the life without a vision, but you may find the stories aren’t there or are hard to decipher. There were some photos this month I’d like to use for my day in the life, but I found I forgot my vision. Those photos fell flat for me. I’m unsure of the point of them. They’re good photos, but even I can’t interpret what I was trying to say. Without vision, there’s no purpose and you’ll find you only have a handful of photos that you love when you shot much more.

day in the life vision

What is Vision

Vision is hard to quantify. It’s difficult to ball up and present. Difficult to even talk about and make someone understand. It’s elusive because its a feeling inside. I think if you want to boil it down to something, it is your purpose, your why. But a deep why – it is the why of your why. It’s like when my 4-year-old daughter challenges me with why I do something, then she challenges again with another why, and if I let her she’d keep going. We all need a 4-year-old in our creative work to challenge our why, to dig down and find that vision. Moments of knowing and confidence come when we tease it out little by little.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset


Before shooting a day in the life, I ask myself why I’m doing it. I always answer to tell visual stories better. That’s ok, but I’m left with a pretty big and broad why. I drill down further. Why do I want to tell stories better? And what stories? What matters to me? I try to answer these questions. I do this in the morning before my girls awake, writing down in a journal my thoughts. In essence it’s visualization. 

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When I taught high school, many times students wanted to know why they had to learn history. To me it was important, but it was my job to make them see the importance of it all. Do the same for yourself. Make yourself see the importance of it all. If you’ve ever questioned why you take photos or why you follow your creative pursuits then you’re on the right path. Keep asking but also keep trying to answer. 

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What is Your Vision

During the day while I’m shooting a day in the life, I ask myself why I’m shooting a specific shot. What is it that made me pick up the camera. An emotion? An activity? Then I ask myself why I want to capture that – what’s important about it. I also ask myself what’s the best way to portray the answer – this is where skill, technique and all that come in – what’s the light, what perspective, framing etc. I shoot several frames because when I cull my photos I critically think about each one and decide if it represents my vision. Many times I’m sure I captured my vision with one shot, but it’s when I cull that I become positive or even see a better shot. 

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In the video below I show you my process of culling with my vision in mind. I narrow down about 15 photos to 3 or 4 photos that I’ll process. Once I start processing I’ll most likely fully process only 1 photo. Below the video is an action plan for you to explore your own vision.

Vision in Storytelling Images from Kathleen Scott on Vimeo.

Action Plan

  1. Write down your purpose. Then ask why and write down that answer. Keep asking like a 4-year-old child until you get the answer you know represents who you are.
  2. Capture your photos, shooting only when you know you’ve captured your vision.
  3. Cull your photos critically thinking about your vision and technique together.
  4. Process your photos with your vision in mind. This will also help you make faster and better processing decisions.

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