When I began my 365 photo project on January 1st, 2018, I felt determined. This was my third attempt at completing a 365 and I did not want to fail again. In the past, I had begun with gusto and failed by March, and then April. For those who are unfamiliar with what a 365 project is, it’s a yearly goal to take one photograph every single day for 365 straight days.
The thought of taking a picture every single day sounds overwhelming. It even feels overwhelming for about the first quarter of the year. I can promise you that if you make it through the first six months, it becomes second nature. Second nature enough that I am confident stating that I have succeeded on December 18th…with 13 days to go until the end of the project.
Over the past twelve months, I have learned SO much and grown exponentially as an artist. Completing a 365 photo project pushes you to look at your own life in 365 different ways. It forces you to step outside your outdoor golden hour comfort zone (just me?). Not only did I experience professional growth, but at the end of the year I will have an album of our entire year which I have no doubt will become a family heirloom.
The nostalgia and sense of accomplishment I feel looking back over my images from 2018 is so strong that I want all of you to be successful on your journey to complete a 365 photo project as well. I am here to share my top tricks and tips to have success and a (mostly) stress-free experience.
Getting Organized for Your 365 Photo Project
This is by no means the only way to organize yourself, but this is what worked for me.
- Choose one lens that you’ll have on your camera all the time. If you’re a professional, you’ll reattach this lens when you get back from you shooting and leave it on your camera, out on the counter. For me, this was my 35mm. Having this multi-functional lens allowed me to shoot indoors, outdoors, with a shallow depth of field, and get a decent wide angle for maximum story telling.
- Designate one memory card for your personal project. When you get home from a gig, put that memory card back in your camera, at the ready. This enables you to keep everything in one spot and it doesn’t matter if you want to download daily, weekly, or monthly.
- Choose a spot to store your images. Whether its a folder on an external hard drive or an online storage spot like Flickr which I use and recommend for its ease.
- Set a recurring alarm on your phone for a time that works for you to give you a little reminder each day.
- Join a Facebook group for people completing a 365 photo project as well! Seeing others succeed will motivate you to also succeed.
Let’s face it, a 365 project can feel monotonous at times. After all, this is not a top ten photos highlight reel. This is day in and day out, for an entire year. I hit some slumps where I felt entirely unmotivated by my home. I also hit high points (like on vacations) where I couldn’t get enough and it was difficult to choose just one photo daily. The key to my success was continually mixing it up. Some days, I would shoot light and bright. Some days I embraced the shadows.
I shot in all areas of my home many, many times. The following pictures are just some of those taken in my kitchen. They all have a different feel based on what was going on.
The following were all taken in our tiny downstairs hallway.
More than a half dozen were taken inside our car.
The hardest thing for me was learning to let go of the need for perfect light. I spoke a little bit about this over on this instagram post. As a professional photographer, I have been conditioned to only desire to shoot in ideal conditions. With three kids and a busy life, this is not possible for a year. Not even close to possible! I knew I needed to embrace artificial light to be successful. While I still would never prefer it, I am so glad I captured the following moments:
Other Creative Ideas
There were many days when I didn’t feel like photographing my kids. Weeks when my kids wanted nothing to do with me photographing them. Times when I forgot to take a picture until after they went to bed. Days when I was traveling or working and wasn’t with them. Don’t let that stop you! Photograph your food, your environment. Try capturing landscapes and your pets. Whatever inspires you!
Take a simple portrait of each of your children once a quarter. They grow so quickly, you’ll be amazed at the growth in one year.
Incorporate seasonal activities. One of the best things about living in New England is our seasonality. We go from intense Winter snowstorms to Spring blossoms in the span of a week. The hot days of Summer transition into Autumn foliage in the blink of an eye.
Try new angles. Shoot from above. Lay on the ground and shoot from below. Peek in from outside doorways. Get under your kitchen table.
Find interesting light. Shoot during golden hour. Try pushing your ISO indoors during golden hour. Embrace sun flares. Find pocket light with weird shadows.
Practice black and white conversions.
Most of all, have fun with this. No one sticks with anything that they aren’t having fun with. Put your goal out there to the world. Share daily with your family. Post to social media. Don’t worry about capturing the “best” moment of any day, just capture ONE MOMENT. It will all add up to a beautiful story.
WHO IS WITH ME FOR 365 Photo Project 2019?!