Are you looking for some photo inspiration for the new year? Doing a Project 365 is a great way to practice your photography and have doing it. Have you ever heard of Project 365? It’s a commitment that you make to yourself to take one photo a day, every day for 365 consecutive days and I suggest giving it a try. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you can only take ONE photo per day, but that is your minimum goal. It’s meant to encourage you to shoot, at least something, every day. Even on days when you don’t leave the house and there’s nothing interesting to shoot, you must shoot and document your photo. You will be amazed at what you will come up with, especially on the days when you think there is positively nothing to shoot. Those are the days when your creativity will be the most challenged and those are the days that you will grow the most as a photographer.
I, personally, have been doing one of these Projects every year for the past several years. I have to admit, they have become more about specific topics or exercises in my life and less about pushing myself as a photographer, but it doesn’t matter. The commitment of remembering to take a photo every single day (even with your phone) is a great discipline.
Aside from improving your discipline skills, giving you lots of practice shooting and pushing your creativity, there are some other added benefits to trying a project like this. As in my case for the past couple of years, it can serve as a photo diary, giving you a visual record of an entire year in your life. It is so much fun to look back and see an entire year pass before your eyes! Another great benefit to this project is that it will make you more observant. When you know that you have to take a photo a day, you’ll notice a lot more around you. You’ll find yourself looking for photos everywhere and seeing little things you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. And THAT my friends is what is going to make you a better photographer! Even if you end up with 365 silly snapshots taken with your phone, the practice of remembering to take a photo every day will help you.
There are so many ideas to get you started. And don’t worry about not starting on January 1st. You can start anytime and just keep it going for a full year. Here are the projects that I have done over the past few years to show you how you can create your own take on this challenge.
One year I just took one photo a day of something that I wanted to remember about that day.
One year I documented what I was wearing every single day (and to really make it difficult I tried not to wear the same outfit all year. Boy was I relieved when that year ended!)
One year I really changed it up and decided to take a one-second video rather than a still photo. Much more challenging, but the result was fun and rewarding.
One year I broke my year up into 12 different themes and used things like “abstract, reflections, B&W, textures, etc,” changing them up every month. I planned out my 12 themes in advance so there was no downtime transitioning from one month to the next.
(Most of these photos are terrible, but keep in mind that the point of this is the exercise, not the finished results of the photos.)
One year I committed to captioning every photo with just one word (and again, tried not to use the same word twice all year). This got harder and harder as the year went but really forced me to be creative.
(sorry, no link to this project.)
Last year my theme was “my happy moment of the day.” This really forced me to be more mindful throughout the day as I searched for my happy moment.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Here are resources for further reading on the subject if you are motivated to give it a try.
Try using a different color each month as your inspiration.
Or try breaking up the year into 52 weekly projects. Even if you just shoot 52 photos (one per week) it would be a great start.
Or if you really want to simplify it, try what I did and only pick 12 themes, on for each month. If you’re trying to improve your photographic skills here are some suggestions that you may want to try:
- depth of field
- low light
- long exposure
- story telling
A great free resource to keep track of all your photos in one neat and tidy place is http://365project.org/. What I love about this site is that it allows you to either use their free app and shoot directly from your phone or use their desktop website and upload photos from your computer – the best of both worlds!
I hope this article has motivated you to want to give it a try. Please join in on the fun!