For the last few years many people have undertaken the rather impressive challenge of Project 365 where you take a photo a day and share it online.
I say it’s a challenge, because doing anything out of our regular routines, every day for a year, is not an easy task to undertake. But it’s well worth it!
1) It’s an amazing way to document a year of your life. When you force yourself to snap a picture a day you’ll keep track of a million little things that might have gone unnoticed.
2) It’s a good way to really get to know the range and limitations of your equipment. The more you shoot with your phone the more you’ll learn how to make it work the way you want it to work. At the end of a year that phone will be like an extension of your eye!
3) It radically improves your photographer’s eye. It’s one thing to snap a picture when something catches our eye, and another to constantly be scouting the world around us for something to capture. This skill is like a muscle; the more you exercise it, the easier it becomes to “see” things worth capturing and sharing.
4) It’ll help you stretch your comfort zone. Look back through your photo gallery. Are you guilty of always taking the same kinds of pictures? Don’t you wish you could broaden your horizons a bit? Taking a year of photos is a sure-fire way to push you beyond your usual style.
Interested in joining the growing number of people putting themselves to the test?
Here are a few tips that will help you!
1) Know why you’re doing Project365
Does it sound fun? Do you want to challenge yourself artistically? Do you wonder what a photo a year will look like at the end of the project? 365 days is a long time. Knowing why you’ve undertaken the project will keep you motivated.
2) Do what works for you
This is supposed to be fun, not work, so do what feels right to you. 365 Instagrams? Fine. 365 photos of your feet? Sure, if that’s what you love. Or 365 photos taken with whatever phone or camera you have on hand that day? That works too.
3) Feel free to break the rules
Your project, your guidelines. Missed a day? Oh well. Took 100 pictures in one day? Great. Don’t be hard on yourself. Remember, fun.
4) Keep your eyes open
We tend to go through life with our eyes half closed, taking for granted and not seeing the things that are always around us. Look around you. If you lost everything tomorrow, what are the things you’d want to remember? Snap those pictures.
5) Always have your phone with you. Never wait to take a shot
You’d be amazed at the number of times I’ve missed a shot because my phone or camera was out of reach or I was busy finishing something up. You never get those opportunities back. Take the shot. It only takes a second.
6) Make a shot-list
Over a cup of coffee one morning make a list of all the shots you wish you could take during the project. Keep the list with you and add to it when new ideas strike. On those days when you really don’t see anything worth capturing you’ll have something to inspire your shot of the day.
7) Be inspired by other photographers
Join Instagram, look a the photography section on Pinterest, spend a bit of time on Flickr. There’s no shortage of incredible photos online from which you can draw inspiration. When you feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, take some time to see what others are shooting. It’s guaranteed to get you motivated again.
The beauty of this project is that it can be a group experience. Set up a Flickr account, an Instagram account, or even a Tumblr and share your daily photo. Tag it with the hashtag #Project365 and marvel at the comments that come flooding in. Knowing that people are admiring your shots will keep you motivated through the year.
9) Indulge in a theme
There’s no shortage to the photography blogs that post monthly photo prompt challenges or opportunities for weekly or monthly themes. You can follow along with one that has been suggested to you or create your own theme calendar. Week 1 can be “photos of green things.” Week 2 “photos of shadows.” Week 3 “Photos of drinks.” The options are literally endless, so, if you’re having trouble mustering up excitement over 365 random pictures, this could be a fun way to go.
10) Don’t wait until the end of the day
You have my solemn promise that you will not fall in love with a picture you snap in your dark living room as the clock clicks close to midnight. Do that often enough and the project will start feeling like a stressful pointless waste of time. Start snapping in the morning when the light is gorgeous and everything still feels full of possibility.
11) Your photos don’t all have to be winners
You’re going to have good days and bad days. You’re going to take great pics and bad pics. Shrug it off. Move on. Think of the project as a whole rather than a series of individual moments.
At the end of the year you’ll have 365 snapshots and a neat way to commemorate a year. Creating a Project365 photo book is a fun way to honor your effort and show off your progress.