The Day Planner
Last week, Kat asked those of us who are taking her Starting the Journey e-course to write about why we photograph in our photojournals. What an eye-opening experience. She later asked us to start pulling some of our favorite photos (from the past 2-3 months) into an inspiration folder. I’ve never though to literally pull my favorite images into a separate folder but I noticed a trend…I noticed that 1) I love to fill the frame, 2) I really like to use negative space and 3) I prefer to use a wide aperture.
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With that in mind, she then asked us to take a familiar object or place (something that likely was repeatedly represented in our inspiration folder) and photograph it from multiple perspectives. And by multiple…she meant 50+ photos. I started by selecting a location in my house that I regularly use…the light by the windows in our dining room and office.
Planner Collage
I practice this exercise on a regular basis, but I rarely take more than a few shots before I upload them to my computer, edit and post to my blog. This time, I think I took 54 shots before reviewing my work and the only reason I stopped was because I had a kink in my neck (ouch). I also used THREE lens (50mm, 18-55mm and 105mm) during this exercise to further change my perspective. Yeah, you heard me right…I even pulled out the kit lens for its wide angle.
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As you may or may not have determined, I decided to photograph my day planner…my NEW day planner. I’ve been saying for a while that I couldn’t wait for the year to finish out so I could get a new day planner. The one I’ve been using for the past year is a bit messed up, but it’s gotten the job done. Well, my mom heard my plea and picked up a really cute Lilly Pulitzer planner for me (the adjoining shop to her’s carries them).
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This new planner is completely awesome…and considering that I will be carrying it with me EVERYWHERE, it only made since to photograph it. As a part of this exercise, Kat asked us to pay attention to the way the exercise made us feel.
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Interestingly enough, I found myself paying really close attention to the light. There were several compositions that I had high hopes for, but the light was kind of yucky. I also found myself slipping into storytelling mode. If this were not a photojournal post, I’d likely be using these photos to tell a different story…that’s just how my brain works. Either way, I really enjoyed this exercise. I probably would have done this photo shoot without being prompted, so thanks Kat for this assignment. I’m not sure that I’d do anything different in the future – okay, I might eat before shooting. Happy Tuesday!


    Interesting – and it looks like a wonderful planner, I like the shots! :-)

    I love it when we are prompted to go in a different direction to that we would normally go in, and find surprises or not along the way. I would love to do one of Kat`s courses! Great shots and the journal is lovely. There is nothing like starting a new journal.

    isn’t it amazing how it can look so different from so many angles, Phriend and I, while out on a photo day trip, will often take photos of the same building, flower, tree … and it will look so totally different ~ great exercise

    It’s really amazing what we learn about ourselves when we do asssignments like this. I really liked all the perspectives (and the planner itself is really cute!) and I love the story you told about it.

    This sounds like a really simple and yet challenging exercise! I have never tried to be that creative when photographing a thing, but now when I photograph people I try to challenge myself to get more creative, look up, down, left right, move in and out, try odd angles etc. I really love this though because you also moved the object into different settings and created different feelings with the light…I just might challenge myself to try this with a household object!

    Oooo la la! Love the colors. Very cool exercise! I am excited to take Kat’s class in the future.

    Thanks for inviting us along on your journey.

    that is a really good exercise! You are so very talented.

    These are great photos Ashley, I love the way you compose your shots. Nice new day planner too.

    I’m with Amber – love the colors and enjoying being on the journey with you! Beautiful job!

    xoxo Jill

    What a pretty planner. Nice shots.

    I love how you make a dayplanner look so good. It’s very pretty and I love all the perspectives. Awesome job!

    i NEED a new planner.. so pretty

    I love it! I have to force myself to look at things from different perspectives since it’s second nature to take the same shot over and over. I love the up close binding shots the most. What a perfect subject because that planner has such vibrant pattern and color :)

    What a great exercise, that’s a lot of photos. These all look great. What a pretty day planner :)

    Can I steal that day planner? Love it!

    Great shots! Love the planner…just going to have to get me one…large or small that is the only question? ;)

    Gorgeous photos. Way to rock the kit lens! ;)

    This is a really interesting assignment. I hope you continue to document your e-course experience. It’ll be cool to follow along and see your growth. I think it might inspire me, too!

    By the way, I find that I tend to want to photograph the light now, not subjects. Is this something I’ll get over? :D

    Beautiful photos! I don’t read many photo blogs, but we found each other through teachinfourth’s challenge. Gonna take a look around now. :)

    Sounds like an interesting class. Focusing on the why as well as the how. Neat concept.

    I agree with Casey. I think that I am going to try this out also! Amazing range of shots!

    Your new colourful daytimer was a lovely muse but the excercise was so interesting and a bit cathartic. I thought the whole process was one that I would like to try myself. V

    Very nice day planner! I think my favorite are the last two. I really like the feel of the last one and the light on the one with the blinds! :0)

    I came to your page via Jason!. I would love to find a planner like yours… instead of the traditional black!. Great photos.

    What a pretty planner! Great captures too…that is an awesome exercise. I should try it!

    Yeah for wide apertures!!! I don’t know why, but I love how you say your old planner was “messed up”…hahahaha, I chuckled. I don’t know why…it’s early :) hahahahaha!!!

    That planner is pretty! Beautiful shots, Ashley!!!!

    In our sea of love

    I am in love with the colorfulness of your new planner!!! And I love how you’ve captured the lines and beauty of something otherwise pretty ordinary….like you normally do.

    54 captures. whoa. whoaaa! I do that often though so I get it. ;) Great pictures. The light looks fine to me.

    I love my day planner… I am a little addicted. My husband wants me to go fully digital but I can’t help that it, I really love crossing things off or throwing away to-do lists… such fun.

    wow! this sounds like a truly amazing class! I love the perspectives you used and the different ways you captured light and just the emotion you captured in your writing! What an awesome post! i love the things you share!! :)

    what a great excersize. Sounds like something I could/ should do for practice sake.

    Veryy pretty planner. I too need a day planner. My life is so busy. I do not know what I would do with out it.

    what a lovely post! inspiring and beautiful :) I’ve already bookmarked you. xo

    Awesome Ashley! Not only do I love the planner, I like how you tried so many different things in your images… angles, locations, light, lenses. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m so glad to have you in the class.

    Pretty planner. the exercise sounds like a good one. I think I may try it myself.

    it’s a lovely little planner :) from every angle! and a great way to get you thinking about your photography.

    I too have noticed a trend with my photography – wide open ….. within the limits of my camera just now but not for long! and the use of limited space. I’ve never felt the need to have a planner until recently normally it’s wee bits of paper in my pockets.

    This is nothing about your post (as always) – I’m here to just gush about your photography. Fantastic pictures. I love each and everyone. You’re such an inspiration!

    I can’t wait to get home and take some pics of my journals!


    Great job!!! I need to do this still, and will make sure to eat beforehand. Congrats on the pretty new journal. I absolutely adore the “wide angle” shot.

    i LOVE this Ashley. what a great exercise! Kat is a rockstar, she has challenged me to see things differently too :)

    Great idea…. I am one of those photographers who seem to fill my 8G memory cards way too fast by taking a couple hundred shots of each thing from different angles… you never know which shot will be the one that just nails it. I loved seeing how the varying angles showed how light interacts with your object… it would be a fun photo exercise to play with. I also never thought to make myself an inspiration journal of the stuff I loved the most. It will be fun to try going through these past few months and see what I can come up with.

    By the way…. I followed you here from teachinfourth’s blog!

    oh to have enough time to do this!! Alas, my three kids are pulling at my shirt all day long! By the time I pick up a camera – I just shoot and hope!

    A great idea and always love how you display your photos!

    I like the whole idea of the folder as well as the 50 perspectives. Opens everything up again.

    What a cool exercise! Sounds like that class is a great one.

    Pretty photos, the lighting in the last shot is great.

    What a great exercise! I need to do this ;) I love your bright pretty photos, and considering I am addicted to new notebooks and office supplies I am now jonesing for a trip to Office Max, LOL!

    I love the colors! What a great exercise!

    Oh how pretty and so pink!!!! I love it!!

    What a CUTE planner!! I have to get a new one in another couple of months, so I’m in debate as to what kind to get. GREAT shots!

    Interesting exercise. I would like to take this course sometime…

    I live by my planner too, only mine is way more functional than it is pretty.

    These photos are lovely!

    Beautiful images, I hope to get this as a routine as well using the different lenses, angles and being conscious of the light. The image with the blinds is my favorite.

    Love your photos. You always use space in such a inspiring way.

    Kat’s class sounds fantastic.

    And now I’m off to look into getting a new planner, because there’s nothing quite like a new planner.

    Don’t know much about the mechanics of photography, but I do know how much I like YOUR photos.


    PS. And your planner… ;)

    WOW… who would have known! A day planner being a beautiful subject for photos. What a neat exercise… I need to do some kind of course like this!

    My goodness Ashley, I can’t believe you would bother to look at my photography blog…your work is amazing. You are certainly professional…and hopefully have opportunities to do a lot of teaching. I love your Lily Day Planner, and what a colorful object to decide to shoot. I used to have her book that was full of idea. I eventually gave it to someone. We share the same camera, but I don’t begin to have your lenses. I am thinking I might like next a 24-70 F 2.8 L series….do you have an opinion? I will mark your website as I will have much to enjoy looking at and learning.
    smiles: sharon

    What an incredible assignment – your photos are lovely as always – but you also gave the rest of us plenty to think about.

    Gorgeous shots. Thanks for sharing some ideas. I love your day planner. Mine is just a drab burgundy. I will be getting a cute one next time.

    love the look of the new planner… I actually find that the free teacher planner – though ugly as ever – is perfect for recording my monthly endeavors.

    I love that you’ve played with so many different angles and changed lenses to achieve a variety of effect. I assume you shoot without flash?

    I think my fav of the ones you’ve shared is the one on the chair arm. It tells more of a story (though I’m thinking journal).

    Oh yeah, another why didn’t I think of that moment. WOW! So funny you mentioned the kit lens. I had that VERY same thought the other day to get a wide angle shot. I didn’t do it yet, but I wonder how much different my 18mm on the kit lens vs. 24 on my full frame would be. I swear I still don’t get the difference between full frame and crop sensor. (I mean I “get” the difference…but I don’t know how the picture would look different. My brain doesn’t work that way! I have to DO it and SEE it, then I get it!)

    WOW, rambling away as usual. BEAUTIFUL shots & gorgeous planner!

    Cool shots! I think that is such a great idea to take photos of the same object from many different angles. I think I need to challenge myself to do that.

    Cute planner!! What a great idea… I seem to loose everything ;) Happy Tuesday!!

    Wow. Who would have thought you could have so much fun photographing a day planner. :) This is the beauty of digital. Being able to take 54 shots of the same thing. :)

    Looking good! Great colors and use of light. :)

    Lots of good information here, even though you are the student. :)

    First- love the planner itself. Perfect colors for my liking & anything to keep me organized- gets me in a happy mood.

    I love that you were able to get so creative with the composition of each shot. That certainly would be a challenge to photograph something 50+ times & still make it interesting. But you did it quite well.

    Very pretty! I need a new one too. Although I say that every year and I don’t use it ;)

    Great day planner shots! Are you using a back drop or anything for the pictures that are all white in the background?

    What a cool project!! I may go through and pull some favs too – look for some trends in my shots!

    I love my day planner! eventhough.. lately there isnt much in there. This is a neat project, thanks for sharing it with us :)

    Wow! This seems like a lot of work, but at the same time like a great tool to learn more about your own photos…

    Thanks for sharing the assignment. I totally want to try this!! Gorgeous photos. I love the colors!!

    So interesting Ashley! This planner is beautiful, & so are your shots!

    Great subject and wonderful shots Ashley, especially the last one!

    your shots are gorgeous…not to mention, your day planner too. I need to do this exercise too.

    You fascinate me : )
    I LOVE your new journal.
    Love it so much.
    What a fun class to be taking.
    I wish I was in a class.

    Thank you for sharing this process of insight into your personal work. I wish I would have signed up for the class. Another time :)
    Ashley, thank you as well for your encouraging words and comments. You really amaze me with your work, ideas, and ability to connect to people through something you obviously love very much.

    I love bright colors and filled out frames. That must be one of the reasons I love your work.

    Wow, what a pretty gift from your mom. Don’t you just love when you get pretty things? It’s an added bonus because it’s also a photography subject. I love the idea of taking lots of pictures of the same thing. I’m like you, I probably take 5-10 and then move on. I might just try this for the heck of it. And by the way, I love the 5th one with all the spirals.

    Such a pretty planner! I love taking a moment now and then to see the different perspectives! Great work!

    So me: love to fill the frame, love a wide aperture, and love negative space. :)

    I LOVE your day planner!!!! And such gorgeous photos! Now I want the exact same one…! ;-)

    That its a pretty planner. The lighting is just fantastic. I love the simple, sleek look of your shots.

    I have to take 50 shots to get one perfect shot when photographing things–that’s why Scavenger Hunt Sunday has been such a wonderful experience for me in terms of learning and expanding my view point. I bet all 54 of your images were beautiful. Now I want to know the story you would tell with your day planner~it is definitely a strength of your photography along with interesting composition and great use of light and empty space. I love all the white in these shots contrasted with the happy colors. Now I should go finish my assignment.

    You should get a commission because I really want that planner now.

    I love what you shared in this post…and I can’t believe you were able to take 54 snaps of your dayplanner. It is cute, but wow-I did my 50+ last evening outside a shopfront where I always get inspired, but eventually wandered away and got inspired a 2nd time.
    I love the way you use negative space and when you mentioned the things you like-I nodded right along. I know that’s true about the images you oft share.
    Nice to think things through a bit.

    These are fabulous! It’s so awesome that you were able to take that many of your planner! Your lighting is amazing, and I am also impressed that you changed lenses – always a great way to change it up and get some other shots in.
    Again, fabulous job!