Yesterday I got to knock another item off my life list, and this was a big one – I completed my 365 photography project. My life has been fairly crazy in the past year, with tons of travels, moving several times, trying to find a job, and sometimes feeling pretty aimless. This project has been something totally mine, something that stayed constant through the mayhem.
Why I started
I wanted to push myself to learn more about photography and my camera(s). There was also a little bit of a test involved – I wanted to take this new exciting hobby I’d found and see if I still loved it after doing it every day for a year. Sometimes making something routine, or required, takes the magic out of it for me. I can say now, after completing the project, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of taking pictures. I still have so much to learn, and there is always something new to master. Plus, I got so many great photos I never would have tried if I hadn’t been pushing myself to find new things to shoot.
What I learned
So, so much. I learned so much about my camera. I learned how to look at other photographers’ pictures and be inspired with my own ideas. I learned that my favorite shots can happen when I just walk ten feet farther than I ordinarily would have. I learned that I do, in fact, have my own style, even though I’m still discovering it. I also learned that I could probably get by just fine with nothing in my camera bag but my 50mm.
Why I’m glad it’s over
I am excited to get back to going out to shoot just because I have the itch – not because I have to find something quickly before I forget.
And wouldn’t you know it, now that it’s over, I’ve already taken a picture this morning even though I didn’t have to :)
There is already an abundance of advice out there for people wanting to start a 365 project, but I will add my two cents.
- First of all, do it! I expected it to be really challenging to stay on track, but it wasn’t.
- I would advise to always set an alarm on your phone, write down “take a picture” in your journal, or somehow remind yourself every day. In some ways it becomes second nature to take a picture every day, but for that very reason it can easily slip your mind.
- Along the same lines, try to shoot earlier in the day if possible so you’re not scrambling for something before you go to bed (especially if you’re not great with flash, like me).
- Definitely post your photos on a blog, Flickr, Facebook, or other photo sharing site. When I finally told people about my project, it was fun to know they were following along.
- Not every shot will be a winner, and that’s fine. It’s just part of the project. The amazing shots you inevitably get will make up for the shots of your coffee cup. Plus, those shots of your coffee cup are still a chance to learn and practice exposure, composition, etc.
- Use the camera on your phone! Some people think that’s a copout, but some of my favorite shots were from my iPhone. It’s a whole different kind of photography, and sometimes it’s just easier to take your phone with you than your camera. And with apps like PS Express and Instagram, it’s easy to edit them quickly and add creative effects.
- Finally, don’t get discouraged if you miss a day. I beat myself up after realizing I messed up one day and didn’t take a single photo (see tip #2). Don’t think of it as all or nothing – the point of the project is to learn more about your photography, and as long as you keep doing that, you haven’t failed.
I’m already thinking about my next photography challenge to myself. Another 365 project might be in the cards somewhere down the line, but I’m definitely ready for some time off of the daily grind. I have some ideas – possibly a weekly self-portrait, or finally getting around to experimenting with flash (with help from Strobist). Any other suggestions?
Thank you to everyone who followed along with my project!