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Photography Project – One subject, 30 days
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Photography Project – One subject, 30 days

It started with a shooting prompt, “Shoot the same thing for thirty consecutive days”. I had been documenting my oldest daughter’s love for her stuffed chicken for a few months on Instagram, complete with it’s own #thingschickenslove hashtag. Her favorite book series, Tilly and Friends by Polly Dunbar is built around a little girl and several animals that live together in a yellow house. The chicken “Pru” is my daughter’s favorite character, when I found her a stuffed chicken, it quickly became her “lovey”.  I had been documenting their adventures together, mostly with my iPhone for several months, she loved calling me in to see what Pru was “doing” or what she “loved”(which gave birth to the hashtag).

photography project one subject

When a group of photographer friends and I decided to take on a “shoot the same thing for 30 days” project,  some picked everyday household objects- their sunglasses, a coffee cup; I decided to make my project about my daughter’s chicken and all the things they loved to do together. The idea of shooting one object for a set period of time was supposed to inspire creativity, as you found new ways to see and shoot the same thing over and over.

So for a month, we took Chicken (Pru) everywhere, (well, we already were bringing her everywhere but this time I took her picture).  They went to the water park, grocery shopping,  played dress up and make believe. And I documented it all, every morning we sat and tried to think up things for her and Chicken to do, and it began to turn into so much more than a photo project. It turned into a great way to spend quality time with my little one  and a few days into the project she asked me if we could turn it into a “thingschickenslove” book.

soakedchicken

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So after the month of shooting nothing but Chicken, we kept it up, every so often she’d think of something she wanted to add to the book.

Chickens loved books about chickens (naturally).

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and chicken themed wardrobes.

chickdress

And Chickens loved Halloween for sure.

halloweenchick

 

It took several months until we had enough images for our book, but then I collected all the images and put them into a book for my daughter to read.

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Not only did the project spark my creativity as I explored different lighting conditions (I practiced silhouettes for the cover and low-light night images several times)  but my daughter and I had a blast finding new things to shoot and she absolutely loves to pull the book out and read it (to Chicken of course). She still brings me Chicken occasionally and asks me to take a new picture for “the second book”. And I’ll gladly document this sweet time in her life with her beloved Chicken, if we get some great pictures that’s good, but if we create great memories- that’s the best.

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You can keep up with the latest adventures of Chicken by following me on Instagram- @lizbehm and looking for #thingschickenslove!

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60 Comments
  • February 20, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    Liz, this is adorable!! What a good challenge to really test yourself! Did you print out a Blurb book? I love it!!

    • Liz
      February 21, 2015 at 2:52 PM

      Thanks Chelsea- her copy is a shutterfly book, but I’ve got a copy I’m building on blurb that I plan to print after a few more pages :)

      • Stacey
        February 25, 2015 at 9:59 PM

        I’m currently putting together a book for my son and I’ve used Blurb. It’s taken me so long as the program continually freezes and I have to shut it down on my mac. Does anyone else have this happen? I’m keen to find a company that prints books that can be over 100 pages and great quality… any suggestions??? I use a mac too :)

  • February 20, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    What a wonderful gift for you and your daughter! Not only will this become a treasured childhood memory, but when she has her own children she will have her chicken book to share with them too. Love, love, love this!

    I’d love to do something like this with our very busy, always moving 5 year old grandson :-)

    Thank you for the inspiration!
    tina

    • Liz
      February 21, 2015 at 2:52 PM

      Thanks Tina! I really hope she enjoys it for years to come!

  • Barbara
    February 20, 2015 at 11:12 AM

    Great idea!! This is 30 day project I can get on board with.
    Love the idea of taking a picture of the same thing each day and then making a book.
    My daughter LOVES Mickey Mouse so we will use this for our project!
    Great idea!!

    • Liz
      February 21, 2015 at 2:52 PM

      Thanks Barbara! Be sure to share your project when you complete it!!

  • February 20, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    First off, I love the chicken book! More than that I love the memories you created with your daughter.

    I also have never heard of this idea of capturing the same thing for 30 days but I love it! I live in Myanmar and the flowers here are really stunning so I might just do this one month while I am here and put all the flowers into a book.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Liz
      February 22, 2015 at 10:02 AM

      I think the flowers would be a perfect subject! Imagine if you found a spot where they were just planted and captured their growth for a whole month- it’s probably not long enough to capture them both blooming/dying back but I still think it would be an awesome project! Hope you share it when you finish!

  • karren hubrich
    February 20, 2015 at 11:59 AM

    I LOVE this idea. So fun, yet challenging!

    • Liz
      February 21, 2015 at 2:53 PM

      :) thanks karren!

  • Jacqueline
    February 20, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    This is awesome! I think I’m going to share it with my first/second grade class. We’re just starting a unit about book publishing, and I think they’ll enjoy seeing this!

    • Liz
      February 22, 2015 at 10:02 AM

      What a great idea for your class Jacqueline! I bet they will have some cute ideas of their own!

  • Simone
    February 20, 2015 at 1:58 PM

    What a fabulous idea!!! My daughter is 8 now. Is it too late to do something like this with her??? Any suggestions???
    Thank you so much for sharing the inspiration. :-)

    • Liz
      February 22, 2015 at 10:04 AM

      Definitely not too late- my oldest is almost 8 and he’s asked for a book about his stuffed alligator!
      If she has a favorite lovey- try that or a favorite activity? 30 days of drawing/painting/dancing?

  • Aradhana
    February 20, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    So cute! Such a simple idea that turned into so much more. I love that you turned into a book for you daughter!

    • Liz
      February 22, 2015 at 10:09 AM

      Thanks Aradhana!

  • Suzi Owen
    February 20, 2015 at 4:06 PM

    What other items can you use, especially if you have no children?

    • Liz
      February 22, 2015 at 10:11 AM

      Friends who also took on the challenge with me shot things like their favorite coffee cup (and all the places they drank coffee throughout the month- in different lighting, being washed etc.), or selfies with the same sunglasses on, your feet in all the different places they went over a month. A blooming plant could work if it lasted awhile (maybe an orchid?)

      • Sheryl
        February 25, 2015 at 3:34 PM

        This gives me an idea… my now 18-year-old son does handstands in every location he visits. I could gather them into a book for him for graduation! Thanks for the brainstorm session!

  • Sarah
    February 20, 2015 at 5:52 PM

    I love this! I so want to start one of these projects but I’m scared to commit! Ha! I think I OVERthink it! Do you use just your iPhone? Do you use your ‘proper’ camera? Or just the little point and shoot? Is it ok to use a combo of cameras? I think if want all my pics to have the same style (ie, same camera) but I know Minot going tone taking my canon everywhere . . . . And then I just don’t do it cos it all seems to complicated! Crazy, I know, but . . . Please convince me otherwise! My daughter would LOVE a book of her and ‘baby’ ;)

    • Liz
      February 22, 2015 at 10:13 AM

      Just do it Sarah!! I did this project with just my iphone for the longest- and the last page of the book is a collage of all the iphone shots. I think it’s more important just to get started and worry about which camera later, if you shoot something with your iphone and decide later you wish you’d used the big camera- re shoot! With a project like this- you can probably re-enact pretty easily I’d think!

  • Phyllis
    February 20, 2015 at 6:09 PM

    I LOVE this!!! I need to do this for my son and his Leo the Lion before he looses his lovey. Thank you for the beautiful inspiration.

    • Liz
      February 22, 2015 at 10:13 AM

      You’re welcome Phyllis! I hope you do!

  • Zoë
    February 20, 2015 at 7:14 PM

    How adorable! What a great idea. I really want to try something like this some time this year.
    Thanks for the inspiration :0)
    – Zoë

    • Liz
      February 23, 2015 at 10:14 AM

      You’re welcome!

  • Linda
    February 21, 2015 at 1:00 AM

    I love love love this. My kids are all grown and sometimes it’s tough to find inspiration. My sisters and I had running stories when we were kids about a bunny. I’ve been looking for the perfect stuffed bunny to bring with me places and photograph. You’ve inspired me .

    • Liz
      February 23, 2015 at 10:14 AM

      :) I’m so glad you enjoyed it Linda!

  • Riette
    February 21, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    I love love looove this idea! So cute! I think I will be doing this with all three my kiddies. My oldest loves her drawing things, my son loves his dragons and my youngest her monkey and roller skates – should make for some really interesting stories.

    Thank you so much! Awesome!

    • Liz
      February 23, 2015 at 10:15 AM

      Sounds like you’ve got some great ideas for your project Riette! Share when you complete them!!

  • February 21, 2015 at 4:08 PM

    That is fantastic idea. Love your story.

  • February 21, 2015 at 7:30 PM

    What a fantastic idea… and so challenging. I just might try this.

  • Linda Parsons
    February 25, 2015 at 11:30 AM

    TOTALLY inspired…and loving this idea so very much! I am going to participate in my own 30 day project, starting March 1…and chronicle it on Instagram (lifeillustrated). My theme will be “music in our life”, #musicrocksourworld , as we are HUGE music lovers and always have it somehow enmeshed in everything we do. Please check it out starting 3.1 & thanks so much again for this wonderfully motivating idea!!

    Linda

  • February 25, 2015 at 11:43 AM

    I am bananas over this idea! It is so genius and I am totally going to borrow it! For my daughter it’s Zebey her stuffed zebra. Such a fabulous, fabulous idea. Thanks for sharing. It’s just gorgeous and what an incredibly special thing to share with your daughter – and pass on to her!!!

  • February 25, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    Photography has totally taken over my “spare” time and I know my oldest is feeling it.
    This would be a great way to involve him in my passion and create some memories!
    Thank you!

  • April
    February 25, 2015 at 11:49 AM

    I love this idea! Thanks for the inspiration. My daughter has a tiger, aptly named Tigy, and he goes everywhere with us!

  • Debbie
    February 25, 2015 at 11:58 AM

    What a fabulous idea! And to end up with a keepsake that you can share is just the icing on the cake. I have a 3 1/2 yr old girl who is getting a little tired of having the camera shoved in her face so the idea of making her a part of creating a book and letting her choose what to shoot is exactly what we need to make this a team project and get her engaged. I’m not sure I’ll do it specifically as a 30-day project and will likely expand it from one “lovey” to numerous activities my daughter enjoys but a brilliant staring place. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Katrina
    February 25, 2015 at 12:30 PM

    What a lovely and meaningful project – just wonderful!
    Thanks so much for sharing your ideas and the process… makes it seem do-able even for me!

  • February 25, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    This is precious! What a great idea. I have teens now and would love to do something similar…. Need to think of an idea for their ages.

  • Kathryn
    February 25, 2015 at 1:05 PM

    I just ADORE this idea!!! Thank you so much for sharing! By the way, those images are just AMAZING! :)

  • February 25, 2015 at 2:51 PM

    I’m always searching for great photo projects and this one is so inspiring and unique. Thank you for sharing, love the story, love the book and love the photos. Great job!

  • Kathryn Macaluso
    February 25, 2015 at 3:00 PM

    I love this post! Such a great way to expand your photography and get your child involved. I would love to do this with my daughter. She is only ten months old so maybe we can start once she picks a favorite toy or stuffed animal. Thank you for sharing!

  • February 25, 2015 at 3:09 PM

    The most precious thing I’ve seen in a while! What a great idea!

  • Julia Pugh
    February 25, 2015 at 9:38 PM

    ooo yes i will be doing this with now to decide what it will be, i love the idea of the book, i think it would be neat to do with my 3 girls

  • February 25, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    Oh my heck. This makes my heart so full it hurts! I’m going to be doing something like this now!

  • February 25, 2015 at 10:49 PM

    This is such a cool idea. I am definitely going to put this on my list of things to do once Tafe has finished.

  • Ly
    February 26, 2015 at 4:11 AM

    This is too cute. What a special project for you and your daughter! I definitely going to do this with mine when she’s a bit older :)

  • February 26, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    wonderful! That’s what I have been doing with my middle child and hats. #sheloveshats #hatlove Would love for folks to follow us at @jreinerimagery on instagram.
    Love this post!

  • February 26, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    Where were you when my kids were little? What a fantastic idea.

  • February 27, 2015 at 11:03 AM

    I love this!!! You are an amazing photographer. Can’t wait to start this challenge..3 kids hmmm…what to do what to do :)

  • March 1, 2015 at 9:56 PM

    I love this so much that I kind of cried at the end. I have a 4 year old girl and she would LOVE to have me document her “fluffies”.Good stuff, I’m inspired!

  • Suzi Owen
    March 1, 2015 at 11:21 PM

    Well Liz,
    I will be starting my challenge, with my Duck Jake. He is an old Beanie Babie! But Jake is going to have to do some traveling this month with this challenge to my hometown of Cleveland,Ohio from Sunny Florida. Am I up for for Challenge, yes. I have already introduced Him to my Facebook friends and Family. I am so excited. Thank you.

  • Julie Anne
    March 2, 2015 at 6:47 AM

    Love the photos and the book made by the collection. But even more, I love your daughter’s passion for her chicken.

  • Carissa Donarummo
    March 3, 2015 at 12:04 AM

    Love it great post

  • Amanda
    March 8, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    I just found your FB page and absolutely love it already! I am hoping my 7 month old sleeps in a little today because of the time change so I can read a few more posts!
    This post was so beautiful and so inspiring. I definitely want to try a 30 day photo challenge! Thank you for sharing!

  • Leah
    March 17, 2015 at 12:04 PM

    Just found this site and absolutely LOVE this idea. My daughter is 2 and inseparable with her ratty old Pooh Bear snuggly. I have taken the odd photo of him for fun but this would be amazing!
    I am a complete beginner in photography and looking for inspiration after completing a beginners online course.
    Thankyou for a wonderful idea.
    I hope I can be as creative as you with photos and compositions.
    So excited to give it a try!

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