I'm 6 weeks into my 365 Project, where I take one photo a day for an entire year. I have to be honest, I didn't think I was going to be disciplined enough to stick to this, but I can honestly say I am truly enjoying this project and am determined to see it through until December 31st! Below, I'm sharing some of my take-aways so far, as well as some tips for any of you who are thinking about starting your own 365 Project. Even though we are nearly two months into the new year, any time is good to start capturing a photo a day.
My 365 Project has improved my camera skills
When I'm outdoors shooting a family session, or indoors shooting a newborn session, my environment is somewhat controlled. I shoot only at certain hours of the day, use no artificial lighting, and place my subjects in certain positions where the sunlight will hit them just right for exposure. With my 365 project, I am capturing my family at any given time of the day, at any location in my home, and with minimal environmental adjustments made. This has helped me TREMENDOUSLY with getting my exposure correct in-camera, make sure my shutter speed is high enough when my kiddos are moving, and learning how to shoot wide-open while nailing focus.
My 365 Project has pushed me to be more creative
With my family and newborn sessions I have the same poses I use most of the time. This helps my work look consistent and also helps me ensure that I capture each member of the family as well as siblings, parents with kids, etc. With my 365 project, I'm capturing one snippet of the day. This has allowed me to push my creativity to a new level-trying out different angles, using lighting differently than I ever have, focusing on details I wouldn't necessarily do in a planned session. This is what I look forward to growing in the most as the year goes on!
My 365 Project has helped me look for beauty in the mundane
When I first began this project, I felt like I was capturing really boring moments-my kids eating, playing video games, doing their homework. However, when I look at these pictures as a sequence of events, it is absolutely beautiful! I smile every time I look at each day's photos. Looking back on the entire month of January was so fun for me. I can't wait to look back on our entire year and see what I captured through my lens.
5 Tips for completing your own 365 Project
I know I'm new to this, but I've already found a few things that have helped me stay committed to this project of mine!
1. Leave your camera where you can see it
Having your camera easily accessible will help you remember to capture that shot each day.
2. Bring your camera outside of the house
This is one I need to start doing more! I often leave my camera at home because it's big and heavy. But capturing life outside of our home is so important to documenting this year. I hope to capture more of our adventures together as a family, trips to the park, and even the mundane errands like the grocery store.
3. Upload and edit every 4-5 days
This has been a hard discipline for me, but the thing that has kept me organized in this project. I try not to go more than 5 days without uploading, editing, and time-stamping my pictures. I save them in a folder on my computer labeled 365 Project 2020. I have separate folders for each month as well and then label each picture with the date. I try to post these photos to social media so I can keep them organized and documented there.
4. Don't overthink it!
In the beginning I was trying too hard to capture "magical moments" with perfect composition. I found myself taking 10-20 photos a day just for that ONE daily photo. Once I let go of perfectionism, focused on capturing ONE moment that was properly exposed, I was then only taking 3-5 photos only. From there I chose the one I liked the most based on composition and focus.
5. Review your photos weekly/monthly
One thing that has helped push my creativity, was looking back over my photos from the previous week. If I took a lot outdoors, that next week I try to get more creative indoors. If I shot farther away from my subjects, I try to be more creative with my angles. I also have 4 kiddos so I'm also trying to make sure I capture everyone-ha! Reviewing my photos has encouraged me to find parts of our life I haven't captured yet-playing at the park, sweet sibling moments, snuggles with my husband, etc.
Have you ever thought of doing your own 365 project?? I'm quite certain you won't regret it!