As the year winds down and many of us starting looking towards setting goals for the new year, I’d like to put a little bug in your ear. Or on your screen. Consider starting a Project365.
What is a Project365? While they can take many forms depending on your hobbies, for photography’s sake it’s the simple act of taking a picture every day for a year. Many people will then post the photos on their blog, Flickr, Picasa Web Albums or just send them to friends. The format of presenting is not the important part of the project, although it can become a very useful way to keep committed to the project.
The idea behind starting a Project365 is to make photography an every day event, with hopes of improving the art. It also has the added benefit of forcing a photographer to slow down and take a different look at the world around them.
It seems those who start a Project365 either make it past the three week mark and keep going, or abandon all hope. Others still will flail along, juggling a busy schedule with the desire to make photography more of an every day event. The point, for me, isn’t whether or not you make it the whole 365 days (although I commend those who complete the project!) but that the effort is made. Admittedly my own attempt to start a project last year made it only 27 days. But those 27 days did spark new interest in photography for me and I’m hoping more of you out there can catch the bug and run with it.
I’ve turned to the Internet and a couple of folks running their own Project365 to see what advice they might have for others starting out on a Project365. Karen Jordan is well beyond half way through her project. Her blog is a daily chronicle of macro and every day life shots and she also tweets as ice66 on Twitter. Stacy Ericson captures her Project365 using an iPhone and presents her work on her blog as well as tweeting as Ithili.
First, plan ahead. On a good day I usually have a couple of ideas in my head when I start shooting. On a bad day…..not so much.
Second, be prepared to toss those plans when something interesting comes your way. Sieze the moment, as it were.
Third, have fun…you won’t be thrilled with every shot. Perfection is not possible when you are on this tight a schedule and have a life and a job and well, you know what I mean.
In a half a year I have definitely improved as a photographer. I have learned to frame a photo quickly (since people are always waiting on you when you are doing 365 and pause outside Outback Steakhouse to snap a Coleus leaf) and not rely on cropping–most of mine are not cropped.
Because of the limitations of the iPhone and the unlimited apps, I have broken free of the Puritan girl in me who used to insist that I was cheating if I even thought about using “effects” or doing anything but the most basic post-processing. The freedom to go crazy with color and light made me realize that I have a certain look that I want to achieve and I am much more in tune with what that looks like and how to create it.
This has affected my business photography and the way I see myself and the world. Finally, the 365 Project forces you to look for and to see beauty and possibility in every moment of life–and that is, indeed, the whole point of taking a photo every day for a year.
One of the easiest and free ways to start a Project365 is to sign up with Flickr and join the 365 Days or Project 365! or Project 365 group pools (yes, there is a difference between those last two). It’s a great way to keep inspired and to meet other photographers with similar interests. If you’re on Twitter, add the hashtag #project365 to your posts to make it easier for others to find your photos.