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With the beginning of a new year, many people around the world take time to reflect on the past year and set goals or resolutions for the upcoming year.
It’s a good time to ask yourself; “What do I want out of my photography this year?” For most of us, the response might be to improve our skills, to be inspired, and to find more time and energy to pursue our passions. No matter what you want out of your photography, your path to accomplishing your goals will require dedicated time and effort.
If you are looking for a way to dramatically improve your photography this year, now is an excellent time to consider starting a 365 project.
There are many different 365 projects, but they all share one goal in common: taking at least one photograph every single day, for a full year. Many photographers take that idea one step further to including taking, and posting, at least one photograph a day for an entire year. Some people start 365 projects on January 1st, but you can begin one at any time.
A 365 project is an important commitment that will make an immediate and lasting impact in your photography. While the idea of daily photography sounds deceptively simple, such a project will push and stretch you, and your photography.
There are many different online communities that support 365 projects including 365 Project, Capture Your 365, and many, many 365-themed groups on Flickr and Google+. Joining a community will help you in your 365 journey by providing encouragement and accountability. You will also find many ideas, challenges, themes, and examples for inspiration and motivation.
The most important part of a 365 project is the commitment to daily photography. If you truly want to improve your photography and push yourself, then you need to be using your camera, often! Accepting the challenge of using your camera everyday will help make photography a commitment and even a habit for you.
Using your camera every day will also open your eyes to the photographic possibilities that abound in your everyday life. I find myself noticing so much more now that I would have just passed by without comment before: the way the shadows on the wall change with the hours, or the tiny details of fallen pollen on the inside of a flower. Daily photography has made me keenly aware of the passing of the seasons and the small differences in each day.
Daily photography will push you out of your comfort zone and force you to engage with other types and styles of photography. You may love shooting macro (close-up) shots of insects, but will now have to deal with rainy days and changing seasons. You may love shooting portraits of people but will need to find new ways and places for finding willing subjects. Whatever photography you ‘do’ now, you will find yourself in situations or late nights when you simply must find something to photograph. You may find that these more desperate times led to your most productive photographic ideas and images.
Daily photography will also help you better plan your day or your time. I have found that waking up fifteen minutes earlier allows me to leave the house earlier in the morning, to spend those fifteen minutes taking a photography break along my commute. Watching the sun rise over one of the many lakes in town is an amazing joy and privilege, but it is a commitment I would never had made on my own, without 365.
I highly encourage you to try a 365 project, as there is no better way to keep yourself taking pictures and making progress in your photography. While a 365 project is a huge commitment, there are some steps you can take to keep yourself (and your friends and family) sane and motivated along the way.
All you have to do is pick up your camera and get started. Think about joining a 365 photography community too, as the motivation and support along the way will be priceless. You can find my project at Archaeofrog.