I think it’s safe to say that six weeks (and dare I say possibly more?) of “stay home” orders can feel like an eternity. It can be hard to find a little “extraordinary” when every day can end up feeling the same. I’m right there with ya and I’m ready to shake things up!


In the month of April I want to invite you to join me in a 30 day photo challenge to inspire you to find joy in your everyday life.


Each day you will have a different word that will inspire you to photograph anything you like. Many of us will choose members in our family to document this crazy time but the only rule here is to BE KIND. This challenge is for learning, growing, and just having more “regular” (but beautiful) pictures of your every day.

I participated in something like this several years ago called a “365 challenge.” A 365 challenge is where you post an image every day for a year usually with a theme word per day. I’m sad to say that I never ended up finishing the entire year, however, the images I took in the months I did participate are ones I treasure!


The challenge pushed me artistically and forced me to take more intentional pictures of my own children.


Most of us take pictures when something momentous happens…your child blows out a candle on their birthday cake, opens up Christmas presents, or maybe you see your children hugging spontaneously. Those are worthy of documenting, don’t get me wrong! However, there’s more to your life that is worth celebrating and I want you to have pictures of those moments too.

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. One day during the 365 challenge the word was “teal.” I took the following image, which was a new Christmas present my son was obsessed with. If I hadn’t had the word to inspire me I never would have taken this picture of him playing with it.
five year old boy with his green eyed electronic cat toy in a dark hallway

I also started carrying my “big” camera around more so that I was ready when the moment struck. I started noticing the beauty around me more. The word I had for the following picture was “vanishing.” This is my kids walking to the bus stop. They just happened to be staggered like this with how they got out the door and with the fog in place it just worked!

It also tells the story of how our youngest child is the most concerned with getting to places on time. He is up in front. And one of our twins (last in place in this photo) is much more carefree about things, doesn’t take too much seriously and is the one who is usually hardest to motivate. He’s on his own time. The other twin (in the middle) is the most easy going and likes to keep the peace, a typical “middle” child. I just love how this image really sums up part of our family life.
Three kids walking to the bus stop in foggy weather

One final example I’ll share, the word of the day was “parallel.” It was the end of the day and it had occurred to me that I hadn’t yet taken my picture of the day. It was bath time. Our youngest child loved to slide on his tummy in the bathtub with his legs straight together. Perfect! I grabbed my camera and voila! I guarantee you I never in a million years would have thought to capture this without the challenge and I may have altogether forgotten how he loved doing this. He’s older now and doesn’t take baths.
Black and white image of a little boy legs in the bath tub

My hope is to inspire you to try new techniques to improve the photos you take! I will explain it all in simple, easy-to-apply tips throughout the challenge. You’ll find these tips when you join us in the private Facebook group.

You can use whatever picture-taking device you want to take an image with the word in mind. Cell phones, point and shoots and big fancy cameras are all a-okay!

One thing I want to drive home is these images do not need to be perfect. There is beauty in imperfection! The idea is to capture your moments however messy they are. I will guide you along the way with inspiration, encouraging words and tricks to try next time. I want you to stretch your creativity a bit and go beyond the “say cheese” picture. Capture raw emotion, the naughty times, the quiet seemingly “nothing” moments of your everyday because those moments are so valuable.


These images might just be the ones you treasure most when your children are all grown up.


What if you skip a day? No worries! Just hop on board with the next word or you can post a day or two late. That’s fine too! This is about building a community around photography and love for family. Even if you leave this month-long challenge with one single picture you absolutely love I consider that a success.

Do your children have to be young to participate in this? No way! I welcome images of children of all ages. I have a high schooler (as well as younger children too) that I will definitely be featuring along the way. It doesn’t matter what you’re photographing. It could be still life if that’s what floats your boat! The idea is to apply the techniques to whatever subject is your preference to photograph.

To participate in the 30 Day Photo Challenge join me in my private Facebook group, the JCP Storytellers. Post your pictures in this private group or on your Instagram account and tag your photos with #jcpjoyful30.

I’m excited to do this again but this time with you alongside me! I want to push you to get better at photography, be a part of a community that cheers you on, and to take more pictures of your life with intention and purpose. See you there!

Four pictures of kids in everyday moments

Julie Collins Photography is an Oconomowoc Family Photographer located in beautiful Lake Country, WI who loves capturing true emotions and candid moments that help tell the story of the families she works with.
If you’re looking for an Oconomowoc Family Photographer, send a message to chat!

Come visit my family photography site to view more beautiful pictures of babies, kids and families too!

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