Project Planning: Start Making an Annual Gift Calendar Now

A few weeks before Christmas last year I was still struggling over the perfect gift for friends and family when all of a sudden it hit me! I wanted to make a calendar. With that thought began a project that sent me into a four day, fun-filled whirlwind of memorable insanity.

So I wanted to make a calendar, sounds easy right? Except I didn't want to make the kind of calendar where I would choose images of my family throughout the year and upload them in a pre-made layout to get printed. No, me and my crazy self wanted to do it all from scratch with just a few days to spare.

I got my husband on board (I'm really lucky that he is great about going along with my crazy schemes) and the adventure began. I wanted to take images of the two of us in different situations that represented each month of the year. So we made a list of possible ideas and locations, gathered clothing and props, and were off. We drove around re-creating an entire year in two-days. The car became our mobile Seattle prop house and dressing room.

With my DSLR and tripod in tow we set up scene after scene and kept shooting until we got it exactly what I had envisioned. This meant wearing summer clothes in 40 degree weather, going out on the water and playing with sparklers with smiles on our faces until our fingers froze, and dressing up in full Halloween costumes for trick or treating to name a few scenarios.

I know this might sound insane to many of you, but I can't tell you how much fun we had. We laughed for two days straight and will have these fantastic memories forever.

After the shooting was done, I began post-production on the images, designed the calendars, printed them and cut each one out by hand. They were then wrapped and sent out with a refrigerator magnet across the country.

Since this was such a blast we want to continue to do this annually except from now on take one photo each month at the appropriate time of year! It will be fun to see what we can continue to come up with over the years.

(Image: Alysha Findley)