Memories are wonderful things, but sometimes it is hard to actually remember them! This is why I started journaling years ago and now would like to teach you how to start a Daily Online Photo Journal. For years I documented the key parts of each day in a written journal. This got hard to keep up with, especially on days where where I just wasn’t in the mood to write. With the invention of the internet, I moved on to blogging. However blogging was never all that exciting – especially when I had slow days and nothing to write about! That is when I came up with the idea of creating a Daily Online Photo Journal.
What is a Daily Online Photo Journal?
A Photo Journal can mean different things to different people. To some, it may mean just taking a photo and posting it online and that’s it. There are even blog styles that allow nothing more than a photo a day. However to me, a Photo Journal is more than just a photo a day. Instead, it is a way of documenting my day-to-day events. Photos are a key part of the process, but I also write a blurb to go which each one and describe the day’s events.
I decided to make my Photo Journal online, but password protected, so I could share it with friends and family. I also decided to make it Daily because this adds an extra challenge as I must take a photo every day!
Why choose a Daily Online Photo Journal over other methods?
Writing in a written book was fun for awhile, but the trouble was that if I wanted to reference an event I had to flip through the book to find it. This becomes tiring when sometimes I can’t even remember what year the event happened in. I was using one book for each year, so over time those would start to stack up. By doing a journal online, it is now possible for me to search the journal to find key events or things I want to look up.
As for blogging, I already mentioned that blogging isn’t always that exciting. When I had a day or week with nothing special going on, I found my blog was getting more and more mundane. I skipped days where I wouldn’t write because of this, and then I would end up losing track of days or forgetting to blog altogether.
On the other hand, a Daily Online Photo Journal is exciting! Every day I challenge myself to find something to take a picture of that will describe my day. Since I started my Photo Journal, I find myself actually looking for new things to do or new places to go just so I can have a photo for the day! This Daily Online Photo Journal has not only improved my memories, it’s also gotten me into trying more new and different things.
In addition, a picture speaks 1000 words, or so they say. With each photo I only add a short paragraph or a few sentences to describe the day and that is all that is needed. The photo says the rest!
How to start your own Daily Online Photo Journal
Step 1: make the commitment. If you are going to do this, you have to commit to taking a picture EVERY DAY! This means carrying your camera or camera phone with you everywhere you go. It’s ok if you miss a photo here and there, things happen, but it should become part of your daily routine.
Step 2: tell your friends and family what you are doing. Many people will be curious why you took a picture at the movie theater or why you wanted to take a picture of the food you were about to eat. Tell your friends that you are creating a Daily Photo Journal and be sure to share it with them once you start it!
Step 3: get organized. How will you house all your photos? I created a folder on my computer for each month of 2010. Inside I copy the pictures from my camera related to that month. It’s best to keep updating your photo journal weekly so you don’t get disorganized or forget the day’s events.
A Daily Online Photo Journal will only have 1 picture per day. Pick out your favorite picture from each day and label it as YYYY-MM-DD. This will be the photo you use in your Photo Journal. Any other photos you can still save and share as you wish, but they won’t be part of your Daily Photo Journal. It can be a challenge picking just 1 photo to represent your day, but that is part of the fun!
Step 4: decide where you want to post your Photo Journal online. You could easily use any blogging site, however I choose to go with a Shutterfly.com Share Site. I already have a share site, so I just added an additional tab called Journal where I add my photos for each day. Shutterfly allows you to format the view of your album so that you can see a thumbnail with text (see attached photo). This is a great way to be able to see your whole year in photos just by scrolling down. The thumbnail can be clicked to see the larger photo.
Step 5: start snapping away! Now that you have your Photo Journal created, all you have to do is start taking pictures! Your Photo of the Day should represent something that happened during the day but it’s ok to be creative if you can’t think of anything to photograph that day. One day I photographed some Goldfish Crackers because it was a slow day! Otherwise, take a photo of the place you went, or the people you saw that day. Take a photo of anything new you tried that day. At first it may seem difficult, but overtime it’ll be a habit that you can’t break.
Back up your Daily Online Photo Journal
After doing all this work, you might be concerned about losing it. It is good practice to back up your Photo Journal once a month (or more often if you like). I designed my Shutterfly Journal to show ALL photos from one entire year on one page. To back it up, I simply save this page as a PDF and keep it on CD. You could also copy/paste the entire thing into Word and back it up that way.
Granted, this method will only save the Thumbnail, but the description is the important part I want to back up. I have backups of all my photos in full size, so backing up my Photo Journal is mostly so I don’t lose the text I wrote for each day.
Turn your Daily Online Photo Journal into a Book!
If you do this for a solid year, you could then turn your Photo Journal into a printed book. Sites like Cafe Press let you submit documents that can then be bounded and made into a hard cover book. What a fun way to preserve your memories! I plan to wait until I have multiple years worth of photos, and then turn it into a book. This could be something you pass down to generations to come. Enjoy!!