In this earlier post, you can read all about what a project 365 is, why you might want to do one, and what you should consider before starting one up. I’m continuing that discussion with what you might run into and want to consider while in the middle of your project 365.
I mentioned before that I was in the middle of my project 365, and there are a few things that I’ve bumped into that I never thought about before beginning one, or I tried to ignore it (that time thing creeps up every so often). I even tried to prepare myself by reading up on advice for 365s.
What is the best way to do a project 365? There isn’t one. What are the rules? There are none, unless you make them. I can’t help you with any of that because it boils down to what is your purpose. What do you want to get out of doing a 365? Even though I can’t help you with the best way or right way, I can give you some thoughts to mull over. Here they are in no particular order:
I’ve seen this stated so many times. And it is true. If you can remember to get a shot or several in before your day really starts then you are ahead of the game. You don’t have to use those shots, but they are great back ups if you forget or don’t have time. Usually though, I love those shots, especially if I have beautiful morning light in my house or backyard. When I have maybe 5 minutes after packing lunch, getting the girls ready and hopefully myself ready and fed, I grab my camera and find some good rays of sunshine. The other day, this meant I took pictures of the old corroded pipes they dug up from under our basement and threw out in the backyard. Yes, they left them in our backyard for me to happily shoot them in the pretty morning light, with my Lensbaby. But! I got a shot for the day and before 8 am! Mostly my morning photos involve my girls brushing their teeth, getting ready, eating breakfast – something more ordinary ;).
Look For the Moments
After squeezing in some random shots of old corroded pipes, the rest of the day I look for moments I want to capture. Things I want to remember about my days. Like I said – my daughters brushing their teeth. But it wasn’t about brushing their teeth, instead I noticed how they always stand on their tiptoes to do it even though they don’t really need to. So I captured it. Or their little loving moments that are so fleeting because usually two minutes later they are fighting. When they are 18 and 16 and fighting over who gets to drive, I want them to remember through these photos that they do get along. Believe me, these are the best. And the best part is, you can always capture at least 1 moment a day.
Look For Light
Moments are easier, especially on cloudy days, but look for the light even on mundane items. Oh, wait! I already covered this in number one – see about shooting old corroded pipes. Go back and read but insert any time of day that you see good light. Morning light through late afternoon is awesome in my house.
Look For Lines
Light is difficult on those overcast, rainy days. And moments are by the grace of God, but lines happen everywhere. They are in the shadows, they are in the road, a table, a row of chairs. I could go on – but just take a moment to look around and find lines. Lines are great for photographs because they create movement. The eye of the viewer wants to follow those lines, so they linger longer on your photo. Lingering longer is good because you’ve caused a reaction with your photo – even if it only lasts a couple of seconds.
Decide what tools and how you will use them, but keep it simple if possible. I started by shooting only with my dslr and editing every day. I loved it and found I was keeping up with all of my editing because I was forcing myself to do it. I had a purpose and was committed. Then, in December, I wasn’t able to edit everyday and I fell behind. I started using my phone, and I had to consciously force myself to get through all the back editing and post my photos. That was a chore for me. In January I had to put off editing again because of a trip to Charleston – I didn’t have access to Lightroom again. But, I was more accepting. If I need to take a couple of days to edit – it is ok. I did put a cap of 1 week on my editing though. I don’t want to be really bogged down and feel like I can’t crawl out of an editing hole.
The point is, this is yours, there are no rules. I would however make a plan on what you want it to look like, then allow yourself mistakes, time, evolution, and tweaks. It makes a difference in the follow through because whatever tools you do use adds time.
You need support. Well, I need support and only suppose everyone else does too. You may not, but I highly recommend getting involved in a group where people are also completing 365s. And don’t just choose any group. Choose one that fits you. I started with a couple of groups and found one too big, another had a mish mash of photography levels, purposes etc. I am super happy though with the group I stuck with. Most of us are still there, it is small, we comment to each other, and we are all at close to the same level. At this point when I look through the photos I know exactly who took it before looking at the photographer’s name. I love that. Whether you find your group on Instagram, Flickr, a blog, Facebook, it doesn’t matter but find one that works for you. If you like to be inspired by many styles and types choose a larger group. If you want an intimate setting to share, find a smaller one with equal values. They are easy to find everywhere. There are many weekly/monthly prompts to help spur ideas that you can use on blogs, Facebook, and Instagram.
Remind yourself daily of your purpose. I mentioned this in the last post, but it is important. Write it down where you will see your purpose, schedule your 365 into your day if you use a calendar, make a commitment and make it visible. This will help you when you want to quit because you are getting behind, or don’t see it as a priority anymore, or just don’t have the motivation to follow through. Read your purpose, reflect on it and get out there and get your photo done.
Allow It To Evolve
Allow your 365 project to evolve and you may find your style, technique, or workflow evolve. Why did you start? Is it a slightly different purpose 100 days, 200 days in? Mine has evolved. I started with the sole purpose to improve my photography. I’ve found I have two more purposes to continue my 365 – to further refine my style and to really get those moments of my life surrounded by two little girls. I’ve never been a picture-taker, but I have always had a tiny little artist inside that wants out. I found I could let out that little artist with photography, but I found something bigger. I am now a picture-taker. A memory keeper. I print out my photos because my girls love seeing them in print and I want those memories to be there for them.
The best thing I could do for my project 52 was print the entire thing in a 52 page book. I love it. It was a huge part of my learning experience and you can see that as you turn each page. Now, I am super excited to get my 365 printed into a book to see the changes over time.
I really hope I haven’t dissuaded you from doing a project 365 but if you want to finish there is some thought to put into it. On the other side, I really hope I am convincing you more to do a project 365 – if only to keep more memories!
Check out the next post on 365 – What are the benefits?
Check out my 365 on Instagram!