Having recently completed Project 366 (creating 366 consecutive photographs each day in 2008) inspired by the flickr group, I’ve felt a great sense of accomplishment, coupled with a huge sigh of relief. I’m now honeymooning over the fact that there is no pressure to shoot every single day. And yet, I’m still shooting every day.
If you’ve thought about taking this project on, I highly recommend it. Simply put, it changed my life. It taught me to see. To push myself creatively. And it forced the discipline I needed to bring clarity to my future – ultimately giving me the courage I needed to trade a comfortable career to follow my dream of being an artist full time, focusing on photography and digital media productions.
If you decide to start your own Project 365 (and I hope you do), here are a five tips to guide your journey:
1. Take your camera out with you every day. I purchased a small, inexpensive backback big enough to fit my DSLR and turned it into my purse. Sometimes I would stuff an alternative lens in the bag, but more often than not, it was sort of fun to use the lens I had at the time and to find creative ways to make an image work with the lens I had on hand.
2. Shoot at least one shot in the morning. Let’s face it, there are days that zoom so fast it’s easy to forget essential day-to-day tasks like reminding one’s child to brush his teeth, transfering wet clothes into the dryer, meeting an unreasonable client deadline, shuffling papers on your kitchen counter, etc. If you shoot at least one shot in the morning before your day gets out of hand, you’re covered.
3. Set up a method to organize and share your series as you progress. When I initially started, I uploaded and titled each of my daily image selections on flickr (i.e., Day 1, Day 2, et.) and contributed the images to the Project 365 flickr group. Being a part of this group kept me inspired and engaged. It felt great to know that so many other folks around the world were traveling on this journey with me. When I first saw someone’s image in the group labelled Day 365, I could visualize completion despite the long road ahead. The group also offers weekly challenges to inspire image ideas.
4. Use this opportunity to get comfortable with your camera. If you typically shoot in Auto mode, you might consider learning one new feature of your camera each month. For example, during month one, you could learn to use Aperture Priority mode and experiment using different aperture settings. Month two, you could try different ISO settings – shooting indoor shots with a higher ISO setting instead of using your flash. You could grow to love that grainy texture in certain situations.
5. Never say “I have nothing to shoot.” You are likely to think this around Day 62, but don’t say it. There is always something to shoot. Walk outside. Lie down on the floor and look up. Turn over onto your belly and rest your camera on the floor. Look in the mirror. Take the long way home. Tell a stranger you are looking for an image of the day and see what comes to his/her mind. Use this opportunity to seek out and celebrate something unique each day.
If you’ve done Project 365 or if you’re in the process of this project, tell us about your experience and share your tips. And if you are leaning on the edge of this amazing journey, will you leap?