How to Take Pictures of Your Everyday

How to Take Pictures of Your Everyday

There’s something so satisfying about photographing what you do everyday. Before I had my son, my everyday was very boring. It consisted of work, eat dinner, sleep, repeat. My weekends were exciting. But anytime my photography friends wanted me to do a Day in the Life … I couldn’t! I couldn’t figure out how to create images that showed my everyday. If you have kids, it’s a different story! There’s plenty to do and plenty to take pictures of to show your everyday. I am going to give you some tips to taking pictures of your everyday. And yes. It is possible even if you work a full day. Don’t be discouraged! You can still make time for photography. Let’s dive in.

new to photography? check out my 3 Tips to Get Started in Photography post


This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

day in the life

Honestly, one of the best ways of photographing your everyday is taking place in a day in the life. A day in the life means that every hour (it could really be flexible … every two hours, twice an hour, at least 30 photos in the day, etc.) you take a picture of what you’re doing, essentially. These photos don’t have to be amazing. But they do have to show what you are doing throughout the day. This is a great photography project to try, if you haven’t already! (I should do one … they are really fun. I’ll do one if you do one!).

So, why would we want to take pictures of our everyday? Honestly, sometimes we might find that our everyday is boring. We are so used to what happens on a daily basis, that it could become a routine. So, why would we want to photograph it? Here are a few reasons …

  • it makes your everyday exciting again!
  • it challenges you to take something simple and make it amazing! How can you photograph breakfast and make it exciting??
  • it gets you out of your comfort zone.
  • it (hopefully) gets your creative juices flowing.

Alright! Are you ready for some down to earth tips on how to photograph your everyday? Ready? Set? Go!


how to take a picture of your everyday

First and foremost … what does your ‘everyday’ look like? Is it super busy? Is it relaxed? Does it change from day to day? I want you to write down what your typical day looks like.

Planning your shots make it so much easier to get the exact shots that you want. Write down what you do daily and how you could make the daily stuff exciting.

1. capture the daily stuff

There’s something you do daily. Whether it’s put on makeup, making breakfast/lunch for your kids, taking a walk, playing with the dogs, getting ready for the day, etc. This is the type of thing you want to capture. If you think it might be boring, that’s ok! Try to capture it anyways! Something I love to capture that happens daily is nap time.

The reason you might want to capture this daily stuff, is because it might be daily right now, but years down the road, your daily life might change and you might forget what it was like. Nap time might turn into play time, and eventually those littles will be out the door (insert sobbing face here!!!!), so capture those sweet moments and memories. They might not seem like much now, but they will later in your life.


2. it’s OK to stage the scene

So … what do I mean by stage? If you always have a perfect scene in your house, you will see me bowing down to you … teach me your ways! If you are a mom of littles, I know your house is not always picture perfect! You can set the scene up to make it look like it’s perfectly clean. Simplicity and cleanness make your images look more professional.

That being said … sometimes the mess adds to the story. Folding laundry? Being buried alive? Leave the laundry piles in and show your exasperated face!

Set the stage by cleaning up the scene, but this could also mean bribing your littles to get the photo you want. Are they playing with a board game in horrible light? Move them (ever so sneakily) to a place with beautiful light and have at it! Think before you shoot. Set the stage before you shoot!

3. be brave

So when I did my first day in the life … I was working full time! I decided to take my camera to work and to photograph what I do throughout the day. I was so scared. Nobody asked me what I was doing, but I was so self conscious. I didn’t get the images I wanted because of it. Don’t do what I did. Instead, be brave! Now that I’ve actually shot more in public I am here to tell you that no one is watching. And if, for whatever reason, they are, it really doesn’t matter! This is your work. This is your day in the life. If your day in the life includes a trip to Target, take that camera with you! Do it. If your day in the life includes going to a public park, take that camera with you! Sometimes people ask me what I am photographing … and I’ll tell them and that’s that! They really don’t care, and you most likely won’t see them again. So, who cares? Be brave!


4. don’t be afraid to jump in the frame

I mean, you are part of your daily routine, I would hope! So don’t be afraid to get in the frame with your kids. If you don’t have kids, don’t be afraid to jump in the frame! Getting in the frame adds to the feeling of ‘day in the life’. These images don’t have to be perfect. They really don’t! They just have to showcase exactly what you do each day.

5. put the camera away

Once you get the shot, put it away, and really spend time with your family. There was one time that I was itching to take a certain picture … but I could tell that my son just wasn’t having it. So, instead of giving myself a headache, I put the camera away, picked up my son, and we played and had a great time. Do that. Family is way more important than the images you take. Trust me. Spending time with them is exactly what they want. Giving them a break from the camera could actually get them more comfortable in front of the camera (could we call that reverse psychology?).

have fun

I hope you have fun capturing your every day! Now that I am home full time, I love capturing the little details of my life. It helps you connect with your audience by showing them what you do daily.

Creativity Exercise: 30 Photos in 30 Minutes

Creativity Exercise: 30 Photos in 30 Minutes

If you are new to my blog, welcome! Starting in March I will be posting a creativity exercise every month! So if you like getting inspired, come back on the first Sunday of every month for a creativity exercise. These exercises are meant to push your creativity to the max. Do you feel like you’re in a rut? Do you feel like there’s something you need to work on? These creativity exercises will definitely push you and make you think.

One thing I absolutely love about photography is how there is always something new to learn. It doesn’t matter how advanced you are in your photography journey, doing a creativity exercise every month will challenge you and improve your photography. And I’m going to do it with you! The reason I decided to do this exercise as our first challenge is because I LOVE photo walks. And I also love trying to get 30 different images. It’s harder than you might think!

Each person sees the world differently. If you had two photographers go on the same walk at the same time, their 30 images would be completely different. So, are you ready to dive into this challenge? I’m excited to see what you have produced!

check out my 5 Reasons to Convert an Image to B&W post

Aly Dawn Photography Creativity Exercise: 30 photos in 30 minutes

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

the challenge

This one is super simple. All I want you to do is go to a outdoor location, take a walk, and get 30 photos in 30 minutes. Pretty great, right?

I went on a walk on a beautiful day, with lots of sun, around golden hour. You could challenge yourself further and choose a harder time to go. Like mid sunny day, or a rainy day. Challenge yourself and have fun!

choosing a location

Any outdoor location will work, really. The beach, a garden, your neighborhood, your driveway, a park, etc. It doesn’t have to be some grand location, though. The only ‘rule’ is that you want to stay in that one location for all 30 photos! The idea is that you push yourself to get 30 different photos in this location.

Have you been passing by a place you’d love to shoot? Go there! Or you can push yourself further and photograph a place you shoot often. There are so many options for picking your location.

the photographs

You are trying to take 30 unique photos in 30 minutes. Getting unique photos is challenging enough, let alone in 30 minutes in one location!

Each photo needs to be unique, but it doesn’t need to be of different subjects. Choosing to shoot the same subject in different ways is all part of this challenge.

The photos don’t have to be your best work, they just have to push you creatively. In theory, this exercise will help you in getting unique photographs in one location. For example, if you are shooting a senior session, you now have the skill to take 5 different shots of the same subject in the same location. 5 unique shots before you have to move on from that pose or location. That’s a very handy skill to have.

the time

30 minutes, guys. That’s it. Set a timer. This is all part of the challenge! It’s OK if you go over your time, but having a goal of 30 minutes is a good idea. I’m pretty sure I went over my time limit by like 10 minutes. And that’s OK!

how to push through

Are you feeling a little stuck? Try these things out to push through the exercise. You’ll thank me later. Try taking pictures…

  • From a different angle. Stand up on your tip toes, shoot down. Lay down on your belly and shoot up.
  • Using different composition. Try using framing!
  • Of textures
  • Using a different aperture. Take one of the same subject at wide open, then stop down. Which one do you like better?
  • Of people – portraits are definitely allowed!
  • Using the available light differently (from above, the side, backlighting, etc).
  • Of moving subjects – freeze them or show the motion.

There is a limit on your time and location, but your options are limitless to what you can shoot!

Aly Dawn Photography Creativity Exercise: 30 photos in 30 minutes

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours

I did this exercise a couple of days ago! I found it so therapeutic. I did it the day I found out my grandfather died and I was needing a way to cope with it. Photography definitely did that for me.

Although I loved this exercise, I did find it challenging! My walk was filled with a lot of dead stuff. Like, a lot of dead stuff. It’s just starting to warm up here, so no signs of spring yet. I liked the challenge, though. I think it definitely pushed me creatively.

I was really trying to not ONLY photography my husband or son. I couldn’t resist some of them, though. I mean, look at that light! I was in heaven. But I was really worried I wouldn’t get 30 images! I managed to do it, though.

Here’s my 30 images in 30 minutes!! All images taken with my Nikon D610 and my beautiful Sigma 24mm 1.4 – definitely my go to lens.

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Be sure to #alydawnphoto and #alydawn_creativity on Instagram so that we can all stay connected! I know it’s a bit hard to share 30 images on IG, but you could share your top 10! I’d love to see them! What did you find hard about this challenge? What held you back? Can’t wait to see everyone’s images this month.

Catch me next month for the next creativity exercise! I’m so excited to be doing these with you.

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3 Tips to Get Started in Photography

3 Tips to Get Started in Photography
Get started in photography and take control of your camera. I think it’s pretty obvious that I am passionate about photography. And trust me when I say, that I’ve been in your shoes before. Starting out, not really sure where to even begin with my photography journey, stumbling along without any help. Well, I would like to give you something I never had: help! I want to give you 3 tips on how to get started in photography. I started off with no knowledge and just a cheap point-and-shoot camera. Now, I have a lot of knowledge, a fancy Nikon D610, and a beautifully sharp Sigma 24mm 1.4 lens. But it took time to get here. And I want to help you get started!

check out my 100 Photography Blog Post Ideas post for ideas to get you started

3 Tips to Get Started in Photography - FREE guide to beginner photography!

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

my photography journey

I have discussed briefly different parts of my photography journey. Allow me to go into a little more detail. I have always loved photography. I remember one time my mom got me a little cheap film camera (the disposable ones – everyone had them!) and I took about 20 pictures of a ‘deer’ in our backyard. Only, you couldn’t see the deer at all. Alright, so I might not have always been the most amazing photographer out there, but I have always loved photography. My dad got me my first DSLR as a graduation gift from graduating high school – I was hooked. I thought I was taking fantastic images (looking back – yikes! I have improved a lot!) with my beginner camera, the Nikon D5100. I loved that camera – and still do! It took fabulous pictures. I recommend this camera to every beginner photographer out there. It’s a great first camera. But I still wasn’t learning anything.

It wasn’t until December of 2014 that I finally realized I knew nothing. I couldn’t even tell you what type of camera I had! Umm….a Nikon? I had no idea what any of the numbers on my lenses meant – I didn’t even know that I only had ‘kit’ lenses, which are the lenses that come with your camera and  – news flash- they are not the greatest.  I also had no idea about manual exposure, what’s aperture? What’s shutter speed? I am happily taking pictures on auto!

the best thing I did for my photography!

Well, January of 2015 changed everything! I took a leap of faith and signed up to be a Clickin Moms member. I want to point out, I was not a mom at that time. You don’t have to be a mom, or even a woman, to sign up! Give it a shot – it’s a wonderful community. After that I signed up for my first class, Mastering Manual Exposure. I was determined to learn more about my camera and photography. I have not looked back! That was the greatest decision of my photography career!

The best thing about photography for me is that there is always something new to learn. I am constantly learning new things.

my 3 tips to get started in photography

1. the gear

I loved loved loved my beginner camera, the Nikon D5100. Oh my goodness do I love that camera. It was an excellent tool in learning manual. One of my favorite features is that it has a screen that you can pop out and move around, which is fantastic for above shots. Buying good gear (and not just having a point-and-shoot) is really important. After buying your first beginner camera (and I do recommend getting a beginner camera first) then you can buy a beginner lens. I love the 50mm 1.8 lens. It is perfect for learning manual exposure. Which brings me to my next tip…

2. take classes

Definitely take classes. Learn manual exposure through a class. I would recommend against trying to learn manual exposure by yourself. I tried it and thought I had a handle on it, then took a class and realized I knew nothing. Classes really help you take control of your camera and take the images you want to take! After you take a class for manual exposure, expand your knowledge with more classes! Try composition, natural light, and storytelling classes.

3. shoot (everyday)

I will be first to admit that taking a picture as often as you can (everday, preffered!) will help you so much. You might not notice it at first. But compare your images you took in January to the images you took this month. Big difference, right? I can definitely tell a difference in my images! And guess what? I love the images I took this month 10 times more than the ones I took in January. I got better.
Shoot as often as you can. Take your camera with you everywhere. Photograph everything and anything. Experiment. Have fun. This is all a learning process and you need to practice in order to get better. I promise you will thank me one day for making you take pictures as often as you can! Shoot what you love, and love what you shoot. Don’t give up. Ask for help. Take classes. Seek out a mentor. Photography is an excellent hobby to get into and I hope you start!

free eBook!

As an added bonus, I have created a Beginner Guide to Photography for you. And yes, it’s FREE! (I know, I’m so generous!) If you download it and read it, please leave a review down below in the comments. Also, please comment something that is holding you back in starting photography. What is something you need help with? I would love to hear all about it in the comments!

what’s included

  • 28 PDF
  • 4 exercises to help you learn
  • Beautiful images
  • Feedback


A Simple Guide to Beginner Photography


Lightroom Shortcuts You Should Know

Lightroom Shortcuts You Should Know
Shortcuts make everything easier, am I right? I am about things to make my life easierLightroom shortcuts are amazing. They help get your work down in half the time. No joke! I love using these shortcuts to quickly edit pictures. And who wouldn’t want to quickly edit pictures? I love Lightroom for so many reasons. One of them is because of how easy Lightroom is to use. I will be honest, I started off a Photoshop only girl. But one of my friends convinced me to switch to Lightroom and I’m hooked. I don’t know what I’d do without Lightroom! Lightroom shortcuts make Lightroom my go to editing software. I only take an image into Photoshop if I have to. Like if I need to clone something horrendous out! But that doesn’t happen often. I hope you find these Lightroom shortcuts helpful and I hope they speed up your Lightroom and editing time!

check out my Why You Should be Comparing Your Images in Lightroom post for ideas to get you started

Lightroom Shortcuts You Should Know

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

lightroom shortcuts you need to know

why lightroom

As I stated above, I love Lightroom! It is so easy to use. That is my number pro. It’s also easy to learn.

Allow me to give you 4 good reasons why you should use Lightroom:

  • It’s easy!
  • You can cut your editing down by 50% from using it
  • It allows you to edit your images beautifully
  • You can make presets to make your work flow even faster

And now, without further ado, I give you my handy list of shortcuts! I have tested and made sure each of these work! I use Lightroom Creative Cloud – if you have a different version of Lightroom, and these shortcuts don’t work, let me know in the comments below so I can update my list!

general shortcuts

Press Tab to hide side panels.

Press Shift + Tab to hide all panels

Press to show/hide toolbar

Press F6 to show/hide filmstrip

Press to enter in lights out mode.

library module

To switch to Library Module press Ctrl + Alt + 1 (Cmd + Option + 1).

1. show the shortcuts

I just found this neat shortcut. If you press Ctrl + / (Cmd + / for Mac users) it will allow you to view a full list of shortcuts for each module. How neat is that? This shortcut expands beyond just the library module – it’s for each module that you are in. If you want to see a list of shortcuts for the develop module, make sure you are in the develop module! Easy peasy.

2. import + export photos

Here’s a nice little shortcut that can save you about 2 seconds 😉 If you press Ctrl + Shift + I (Cmd + shift + E for Mac users) it will allow you to import your photos. I love using this. I sometimes get distracted with all the buttons available that it takes me a little while to find a certain button. With this shortcut, I don’t have to, and it really does help to save 2 seconds of my busy editing time!
Just like with importing, if you press Ctrl + Shift + E (Cmd + Shift + E for Mac users) it will allow you to export your images.

3. set ratings, color labels, and picks/rejects

I use these shortcuts on a regular basis!! They help me when I cull my images. To set star ratings, simply press 1-5. I usually rate my images a 1 if I am unsure and a for keeper. Of course, you can come up with your own work flow. To set color labels, press 6-9. This will change the boxes around your images to certain colors. My favorite is 9 – blue, which is my favorite color! I change all my editing, finished, and ready for export images to blue.
Here’s one of my favorite tricks for Lightroom! I love setting my images as  picks/rejects. How you do this is simply press for a pick and X for a reject. I ‘reject’ any images that are for sure ones I need to delete. Missed focus, doesn’t tell a story, etc. Then I can go to Edit > Select by Flag > Rejected and have all of the ‘rejects’ highlighted and then deleting them all. Really quick & easy and now all of my complete rejects are gone!

4. different view modes

I love using the different view modes in the library modules. If you press it will enter into Grid Mode, showing all of the images in that library in a grid. Get to look through a lot of images. If you press E it will enter into Loupe view, which is basically viewing one image at a time. If you press it will enter into compare mode, where you can compare two of your images. This is great if you are trying to get your editing to be consistent. If you press it will enter into Survey mode, which will allow you to press as many images as you’d like to survey and make sure they are consistent. I love this view. After I am done editing, I press all of my images and then to see if they all look the same. Then if I need to tweak any, I can click on that image, switch to develop, and edit, then switch back to Library to see if the changes look more consistent with the other images.
If you press = or – it will change the size of your grid thumbnails.

develop module

To switch to the Develop Module, press Ctrl + Alt + 2 (Cmd + Option + 2).

1. crop shortcuts

By pressing R it will bring the crop tool up, allowing you to crop right away. Then while in the crop tool, you can press X to rotate your crop view from landscape to portrait, and vice versa. Then if you would like to change the overlay of the crop, simply press O. This will cycle through some different crops, like the Rule of Thirds, the Golden Spiral, Golden Ratio, Golden Triangles, and more. While you’re in some of these crop overlays, you can also press Shift + O to rotate the crop view.

2. adjustment shortcuts

Press Q to pull up the Spot Removal tool. Pressing M will bring up the Graduated Filter. Pressing K will bring up the Adjustment Brush. Pressing will show your clippings, highlights or shadows. Pressing [ or ] will change the brush size (I sometimes find it annoying that Photoshop doesn’t have this shortcut!).

3. edit in photoshop

Sometimes you have to take your image into Photoshop to ‘clean’ it up a bit. Lightroom, sadly, does not have the best cloning tool. If you press Ctrl + E it will pull your image into Photoshop for you to edit it there.

4. create a new preset

The shortcut to create a new preset is Shift + Ctrl + N. If you aren’t making your own presets to help cut down on editing time, I highly recommend it!


What are some things you struggle with and would like to know about Lightroom? Comment below! Also comment what your favorite shortcut is.

Lightroom Free Shortcuts Printable

Along with this fancy little guide, I’ve created a FREE Shortcut Printable for you to print and hang near your computer. After you start using and implementing these shortcuts into your workflow, you’ll start remembering them instantly.

10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest

10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest
Learning how to compose your images is a great next step in improving your photography. There are so many ways to improve your photography. I recommend learning manual exposure first, if you haven’t already. Learning manual exposure drastically improved my photography. After you learn manual exposure, the next step is learning how to compose your images better. Learning composition is fun – trust me! It will help take your images from snapshots to work of art. I’m going to go through all the composition ‘rules’ (they are more of guidelines to experiment with) that will help take your photography to the next level.

check out my 5 Easy Steps to Getting a Blurry Background post for ideas to get you started

10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest

10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest

1. rule of thirds

Let’s start with the easiest one!
You are more than likely already implementing this rule in a lot of your photos. Divide your photo into nine even sections. Two horizontal lines & two vertical lines – this is known as the rule of thirds. At the intersections of these lines is where you would place your subject. This placement is so natural. It’s a beautiful (and easy) way to compose your images. By following this rule it gives your image more balance and is more appealing. I love using this composition rule. It is one of the easiest ones. I am naturally drawn to composing a shot in the rule of thirds, I really have to pay attention and focus if I want a different composition. Remember, these are just rules that don’t have to be followed 100%.
10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest

2. leading lines

The next way to compose your images & add impact is utilizing leading lines. Leading lines refer to any lines in your images that lead your viewer straight to your subject. This is a great composition rule that will add impact to your portfolio. Once you start seeing the lines, they’ll come naturally and you won’t even realize you are implementing them. In the image above, the lines from the counter tops lead straight to the little girl. Leading lines are great ways to add impact to your images. If you use them correctly, they will lead your viewer straight to your subject. But be warned: if you use them incorrectly, they can cause the viewer to wander all around the frame. Make sure you have your leading lines leading where you want them to, and not out of the frame, for example.
10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest

3. fill the frame

One of my favorite ways to compose an image is to fill the frame. You fill your picture up with your subject. This composition is perfect for when you want to focus on the details or get rid of distractions in the background. I think this composition rule is beautiful because it helps you to focus on your subject. I love filling the frame with people’s faces. Get nice and close and fill the frame with your subject’s beautiful face! It helps your viewer to know exactly what the subject is – because your subject is the ONLY thing in your frame! This composition rule can really help simplify your image.
10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest

4. color

I think color is the one compositional tool that people often overlook. You can use color to compose your image by adding a pop of color. Look at a color wheel and use colors that are across from each other. Converting an image to black & white can also be a compostional tool.
10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest

5. texture

Adding texture to your image can add interest. The viewer goes straight to the texture. It helps bring a photo to life and creates a 3D look. This is perfect for portraits, wedding rings, flowers, even people can have texture.
10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest

6. center composition

A center composition can add symmetry to a photo. Usually beginner photographers use a center composition for everything. When using a center composition, I want you to really think about how and why it would add interest to your photo. Look for symmetry.
10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest

7. framing

I love framing. Framing is a great way to make an image look more appealing. There are many natural frames in nature. You can use windows, doors, trees, anything that creates a frame within the frame.

10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest

8. negative space

Negative space is a great way to compose your images to simplify them. It will draw your viewer straight to the subject. I love using negative space to also get rid of distractions. You can also use negative space to fill the photo with sky – that is always appealing, in my opinion!

Comps (4)

9. reflections

I love the way reflections look in an image. This technique is especially beautiful in landscape photography. But everyday reflections can add so much depth and symmetry as well. Images with reflections in them always cause me to stop and stare a little longer.

10 Different Ways to Compose Your Photos & Add Interest

10. depth

Adding depth to your image is fun. Basically, when you having things in the foreground (front) of your image, it helps give your image depth – or make it look more life like. It can really help to bring your images to life when you add depth. Try ‘shooting’ through objects to create foreground blur.

I hope these 10 composition rules have inspired you to get out and practice! But remember – these rules are just ‘rules’ or guidelines, that once you know how to use them, they are OK to break and experiment with. Don’t ever feel like your image is good enough if it doesn’t have one of these rules in them. Remember to practice all of these compositional rules – practice is what will really take your images from snapshots to amazing works of art.