Musings on Project 365

On the 1st January this year I embarked on a project along with many others around the world – Project 365. Overall I am pleased I kept with it but I have had so many emotions about it – I have loved, enjoyed, despised and been excited about it. It hasn’t just helped me to record my year – it has been so much more than that. The project has helped me learn more about my camera – getting it off the auto setting and learn about the world around me. The project has helped me to realize that sometimes I need to slow down, stop, smell and photograph the roses. By taking a photo a day I have learnt that I want a creative career. What I was studying was not making me happy and giving me a ‘buzz’ like I was getting from picking up the camera, editing, being creative.

I think it’s important when you decide to do a project like this to surround yourself (online and in real life) with people who will encourage you to keep with it. I have made so many incredible and wonderfulfriends on Flickr this year and couldn’t have done it without their fantasticencouragement and support. Posting my photos to flickr made me accountable in a way, and on those days where I didn’t want to take a photo – I did. Because I knew that even if it wasn’t my best shot, my friends online would still tell me that I was doing well. It was those days where I didn’t really want to pick up the camera, post the photo, tag it, and sort it into sets and groups – that got me down about the project. I like things to be perfect, but this project has helped me to realize that not everything needs to be perfect, that things can be imperfectly perfect. Those shots taken late at night because I almost forgot – they are still a record of my life and they show that on that day, that time, I was busy, stressed, tired. And that’s okay, because that’s life.

If you are thinking about starting this project – go for it! And you don’t need to start it at the start of the year; you can start anytime! But its important to remember a few things– you will not look back in 10, 20 or 40 years time and think about how bad a certain shot was, you will look back and be thankful you recorded your year. So those shots that you might take at 11pm because you almost forgot? Its okay, you are just recording you were busy. But do try to shoot something in the morning, do not wait for the perfect photo opfor that day – it may still come, it may not. It’s also important to remember that if you need a break from uploading, tagging, and commenting on flickr – that’s okay too. Flickr can be tiring and unplugging can be good – I know that unplugging has helped me to get excited about the project again and get back that ‘buzz’ from just picking up the camera.

I definitely recommend Project 365 – I look at the world differently now, I look through the lens differently; I look at my life and myself differently. But most importantly, I found myself and my true hopes and dreams.

As we near the end of the year, are you nearing the end of a photo a day? Or are you nearing the beginning of a new journey of a photo a day?

Photo and words courtesy of Honorary Sister / Guest Blogger Kylie Townsend (known and loved as Radiant Reflections on Flickr).

If you’re considering taking the 365 challenge you can also read Stephanie’s tips from last year or Tracey’s confessions (where a lot of sisters left comments full of support and super ideas too). Thanks all!


Since we last wrote about the 365 Project, we started a brand new Shutter Sisters 365 Flickr group for those involved in the project. Stop by and visit and if you’re a 365 participant, join the group! Who knows you might even be featured on our new 365 daily page here as well! See you there!


  1. says

    Oh Kylie…

    First I have to say that I’m super impressed that you made it. I… well… didn’t. But, I did make it almost 1/3 of the way through the year, and during that time I made great strides in my photography. And, like you said, I made some incredible friends on Flickr (like you, lol!)

    I really like your attitude towards the project. Though Flickr can hold you accountable for what you’ve committed to, it doesn’t need to be the be all, end all of the project. I think my 365 fizzled out when I got burned out on Flickr. Perhaps I will try again in January. And, perhaps this year I’ll approach the project with a new attitude – YOUR attitude. In fact, I’m tempted to print this out as a reminder why I’m doing it. Because, you are right. Looking back at that 1/3 that I did, I’m not critical of my shots. They represent a time in my life and a skill level that I was at, and most importantly they show me things that I have no recollection of because of the PPD.

    Great post, Kylie! Thank you :)

  2. says

    congrats! a 365 is a huge accomplishment. i finished mine this year and felt relief and pride all at once.
    what i was really surprised by was the end/ when it was done couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. i felt a let down, almost a little sad that it was over. i wasn’t expecting that. as for a tip for others considering one for 2010, i chose a theme for my 365, "gratitude" . i searched each day for something i was grateful for. it really opened my eyes even on bad days, or sick days when i wasn’t feeling especially grateful, just how blessed i was. like you said it changes how you see.

  3. janel says

    I did project 365 this year and I felt many of the same things you experienced. I am a bit sad that the days are so few ahead until I finish. I am trying to figure out something a bit different for 2010, and am wondering what you are going to be up to next year. I want to continue, but need a little twist to the project. I will be anxious for your thoughts about next year. Thanks for your inspiration.

  4. jenna nelson says

    I completed a 365 in 2008 then took a break in 09. I still took LOTS of pictures, but not every single day. I decided I really missed it and have started again on a daily december that will turn into a 365 in the new year. I’m journaling my images on a blog

    What I love about this is that at the end of the year I can have the entire blog turned into a BLURB book- and voila! a whole year journaled :)

  5. says

    I did a 365 for my son, recording the first year of his life. I LOVE that I did it, even if the collection is missing some 50 pics or so, from days I forgot or didn’t get around to taking a photo. I made the whole collection into a Blurb book. I hope to do the same for our next child, whenever she/he comes.

    I tried a more general 365 project for 2009, but stopped a month or 2 in. Reading this, I may try again for 2010, with more realistic expectations (for 2009 I tried to choose, edit to magicalness, and upload/tag/etc each photo at the end of each day. Probably a big reason why I failed).

    Thanks for rekindling this inspiration. ; )

  6. says

    I am in the midst of my own 365 project right now. It started as a 30-day challenge in September, then it just kept going. I am very excited about the photos I have taken. It has awakened something in me that I never even knew was there.

    Here’s one from Tuesday which was a very frustrating shooting day for me…due to a black speck that started appearing in all of my photos. I’m hoping I can take it to a camera shop today and get the sensor cleaned. Despite that, this shot came out great because the speck was camouflaged by the tree branch:

  7. says

    Glad to see the project has been such a positive experiance for you! I am only at day 15 but am determined not to falter, and am already starting to feel that my eye is becoming more atuned to what makes a good photo.

  8. says

    oh kylie, how exciting! i opened up the page to see my flower and almost squealed out loud! you’re even better than chocolate chips in my oatmeal :O)

    i haven’t uploaded photos in over two months since i’ve been sick and so has my computer. i’ve still been diligently taking and i can’t wait to jump back in. i miss all my flickr friends and being able to see my life spread out over my screen. what a community we have here! and when i look back just a few months ago i am constantly surprised to realize that was my life on that particular day.

    things i love about 365: my daughter is never a boring subject, but i realize i often take the same photo of her over and over. great to watch time pass that way, but also a great reminder to break out some creative perspectives and new subjects.

    things i learned about 365: some days a photo just didn’t happen. i learned to let it go. i skipped one day and did not count it among 365. i started my project on jan 2, and i’ll end it somewhere a week after that. life’s imperfect that way, and learning to be lenient is part of that.

    i won’t be doing 365 next year, though i’ll likely take a photo almost every day anyhow. i’m sure i’ll come up with something else, maybe a theme a month or something. and of course oof days and sp days :O)

  9. Mary Ann says

    Congratulations, Kylie!

    P365, overall, has been a great learning experience. I understand my camera better, work faster and more effectively editing photos, and make better photos. Yes, there were the 10:30 pm and completely uninspired moments, but mostly I did the shot. When I skipped a day, I got over it – sometimes hard for a person committed to following "the rules".

    I think the best thing I’ve gotten out of P365 is alleviating my fear of public photography. I ask for the shot, and usually people are pretty good about whatever’s wanted.

    Ending P365 will leave a hole in my photographic life, so I will be doing a 2010 project on Kent, Ohio, my adopted home town. The result will be a personal book documenting what Kent looks like in 2010, and a little bit of history. The outline is complete, and I have a pretty solid shot list for each of the sections. I’m excited about it and the challenges it will bring.

    Thanks you guys for the continuous inspiration and support – I’m glad you’re here!

  10. says

    I toyed with beginning this project on December 1, well, I actually started for 3 days when I realized that beginning 4 weeks before Christmas was probably not the best idea and I did not want to get started on the wrong foot. I hope to join a group on flickr with those of you who plan to begin in January. Kristin, I love the idea of having a theme for the year, or maybe even a monthly theme. Congrats on such a huge accomplishment!

  11. says

    I LOVE project 365. I only kept up with it for about a month and a half before the world went boom. I understand that I was overwhelmed and the reasons for my postponing further work on the project, but now I really wish I could have. I ABSOLUTELY intend to begin again when the new year rolls around. Fresh start, new year, why not? :)

  12. says

    I’m still doing a photo a day, although it isn’t really a 365 project, as I haven’t committed to a full year and will probably continue even after a year is over. I love the way it makes me go out and shoot. And since I haven’t labeled it as a 365 project, I don’t kill myself if I miss a day here or there.

    Highly recommended as a photographic exercise.

  13. says

    Janel – I will be continuing next year, but hope to think of a slight "twist" to the project also – something more than just a photo a day, maybe themed like Kristin’s Gratitude Project maybe? Good luck and have fun with whatever you choose! :o)

    Marcy – Love that you did a 365 for your son! What a fantastic idea!

  14. says

    I embarked on my first Project 265 this year and found it just as you describe. I fully intend on doing it again. Made me think outside the box many a day and look beyond.

  15. says

    For the past week, I’ve been toying with the 365 idea. My plan was to start on 1/1. And even though I take a picture a day, I wasn’t sure if I could commit. Thanks. I think you helped push me over the edge.

  16. says

    I failed. Again. This year. After three years of trying. I do really well, every year, until something traumatic happens in our lives. In 2008 it was the death of my first grandparent. In 2009 it was some bad health news on my own part.

    I keep wanting to succeed. I keep failing. Despite surrounding myself with people trying to do the same. Bah.

  17. says

    I failed this year… I started out January 1st of this year, was going strong until around July/August. Then I moved and was completely uninspired, had no good pics and then finally I quit. It’s depressing. I kind of want to start again so that I can complete it this time, but I hate posting (I partcipate in flickr groups) lame pics. I want to try to take good pics, rather than last minute "oh yeah a pic of my clock" shots. I think I’m going to do project 52 instead.

  18. says

    Congrats Kylie!

    I’ve had such a wonderful time recording my own life in photos. ( Although I’ve missed a few days, I haven’t let it get me down, and I’ve continued on. I hope to continue this project for the rest of my life! Something so simple to do, that only takes a few moments of your time, and brings such great joy! It’s not about the quality, it about recording your life, as you see it, no matter how crazy or imperfect it gets. 😉

  19. says

    I am 60 days into my 365 project. I had been an admirer of others and decided one day to just jump in and do it. Sure there have been a few days taht I have wanted to quit or not take my picture because I was too tired or uninspired but so far I have done it and I am loving the process. I am learning more about my camera, more about post processing (I use photoshop elements 3 and but most importantly I am learning about myself. Such a fun way to self discover.
    I say jump in and join the fun!

    I linked to my project on Kristin’s post the other day, but here it is again, enjoy!

  20. says

    Wow, that makes me want to do one too! I think that since the birth of my daughter (end of October) I been taking a picture a day at least except a few days… But now that I read this I am going to do one for 2010. A photo a day of loving life, slowing down and watching my girl grow. Nothing sounds better.

  21. says

    I love this idea! I think it is a great way to not only improve your photography skills, but also a great way to stop and take a look at the things around you, and really slow down a bit. I am going to make it my resolution to start Project 365 on January 1st, I can’ hardly wait!

  22. says

    I started a photo a day blog in December. After hashing out the design details, I have been happily updating it every day since. I find it wonderful and therapeutic. Frustration creeps in often, but I have – to this point – held fast to getting a shot I am happy with and going with it.
    I don’t need to explain to those of you who are involved in a photo a day blog the constant pull to getting your camera gear ready for any opportune moment. I am usually toting my camera with me anyway, but this is different. I wonder if anyone else feels like you are forever pointing your camera in peoples faces, or disrupting moments with your bulky gear. I am happy with the results thus far. and plan to keep it up, for sure for the year.
    I am happy to find others that are in on it with me.

    check out my blog and please do let me know what you think. happy clicking ladies!


  23. says

    There are definitely lots of details like that to take into consideration. That is a nice point to bring up. I provide the ideas above as basic inspiration however clearly there are questions just like the one you carry up where a very powerful factor will probably be working in honest good faith. I don' know if finest practices have emerged round things like that, but I am certain that your job is clearly recognized as a fair game. Both girls and boys feel the affect of only a second's pleasure, for the remainder of their lives.

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