Giving you the Ultimate Guide – for a 100 Day Photo Challenge along with a challenge or list of ideas to help prompt you through this photography project.
100 Day Photo Challenge
“ Why you should attempt a 100 days of Intentional Shooting photo project”
Hello new friends! I am Kayla, a Mom to an almost 2 year old girl and wife to a fearless digital innovator, NYC resident, reality television junkie and photographer over at Kayla Rochelle photography. I’ve been working with clients for over 7 years, though in the last year my business has almost doubled.
I credit that increase with a massive boost to my confidence as a photographer, and that confidence came thanks to a personal photography project I started and completed last year, 100 Days of Intentional Shooting. I’m mentioning that this is the first project I’ve started and completed because frankly, it is. I’ve started many a photo project in the past and was never able to complete one.
What made last year so different? It was actually a very simple mind shift, I set reasonable goals and kept my expectations realistic. I knew the only way I could complete a project was if I created one for myself that was all about capturing moments I loved.
Maybe you’re asking, “Why should I do a personal photo project”? Why not? There is no good excuses for not capturing your own family, on your own terms. There is absolutely a place for images where everyone is wearing coordinating clothes and smiling at each other. In fact those images are my bread and butter as a family photographer. But when it comes to photographing your own life there is no pressure to get it right. There is no need to be timely or efficient, or to be perfect everyday. These are photos from you for the ones you love, a future reminder that you were there, and you were loving them through the big stuff and totally boring small stuff.
Why not embark on a project where instead of worrying about the amount of photos you’ve taken, or the theme you’ve been tasked with you think simply about capturing images that 25 years from now will set your heart on fire.
The key is setting a goal that you can achieve and that will keep you inspired. I started my journey much differently last year. I knew I wanted to participate in a popular project titled ‘100 Days of Summer’. I also knew that I had an infant at home and if I let myself get bogged down by a daily deadline I would never keep up. So I set my own ground rules that the days didn’t need to be consecutive, they just needed to be intentional.
I also decided that I wouldn’t share every day if I didn’t want to. I would simply share images on my Instagram whenever I got a chance. I wanted to photograph my daughter and our fast changing lives more frequently. That was my real goal. So I set out in June of last year, and finished my 100 days of “summer” project two weeks before Christmas. And you know what? I reached every goal I had set.
What do you want to get out of a personal photo challenge? Give yourself some time to really think about the basics. Maybe breakfast is a set point in your day with your family, then why not try and take photos during breakfast, on a variety of different days from a different seat each time.
Does your daughter let her hair get all wavy and crazy during the summer before the official back to school haircut? Plan to create a set of images that are all about the progression of her hair during the course of the summer.
Keep it simple and you can stumble upon an idea that will really light a spark.
I heard this great tip to sit down and write out 10 details about your child that you never want to forget. Consider that list when you’re shooting and focus on capturing those details. The point is to get a spark going and keep it burning long enough to catch the kindling.
Examples: Day 1 in 2017 Day 100 in 2017
Day 1 in 2018 Day 23 in 2018
Catching the kindling is easy, keeping the fire burning is hard.
Most of my summer is spent sweaty and chasing a baby, walking the dog and getting groceries. I knew some days just wouldn’t be photo worthy and you know what I learned in the end? The hardest days are the best ones to photograph. As photographers we often talk about capturing emotion in our images, but what about also capturing the emotion we are feeling from behind the camera?
Right when I feel knee deep in the quicksand of life with a toddler, I know I’ve got to take a moment and just take it in. A couple deep breathes and I’ll be ready to face life again, and while I’m breathing? I pick up the camera and shoot a bit of what I see. She’s emotional, I’m emotional and 25 years from now these photos will bring back all of those emotions.
The best advice I’ve ever been given when it comes to photographing your personal life is to get out the camera and start shooting. Right when the scene ends and you know you’ve got the photo you wanted, keep shooting. The reality of life is we can’t set a beginning, middle or end and we’ve got to photograph our real lives.
As a baby, my daughter, had a rough time with constipation and took to holding our hands when she needed a little comfort using the bathroom. A few months ago she started holding her own hand instead of ours. Recently I was photographing her scraped knees while she sat in a wicker chair. In my mind these were details of our first few days of warmer weather and I wanted to mark the season. I had lots of great images to choose from but I kept shooting, and that’s when she jumped up and held her own hand. I only got a few shots but it was enough to make my Mommy heart melt. I knew this little quirk was only going to last weeks and now I have it saved as a forever memory.
Just like every day won’t be easy to photograph, not every day will result in photos that are amazing.
It’s so easy to get frustrated when you upload your files only to discover that you don’t have any great images for that day. What should you do if one day your images are blurry or not your best work? Since you’re the only person that knows, I say chalk it up as a lesson learned and keep going, but whatever you do don’t delete all of those images or count them all as lost.
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Not being ‘the perfect photo’ doesn’t seem like a big enough reason to not have those moments for your kids. And frankly, that’s not a good enough reason for you to feel like a failure in your project. Remember your original goals, the point is not to take 100 days of perfect pictures, it’s to spend 100 days capturing all of the not so perfect moments that make your life amazing.
A blurry attempt at a self portrait right before our breastfeeding journey ended. It’s not in focus, and I don’t care one bit. I love this photo of us. And 20 years from now, I don’t think she’ll notice the focusing issues either.
The thing with fire is once they start burning big and hot, they catch other things on fire.
After 100 days of intentionally photographing the things that make you emotional, your clients will start to see and feel that emotion in the images you share. The emotion they get when looking at your photos is what will make them choose you. You’ll have a collection of photos dedicated to your future self, but more importantly you’ll have a toolbox full of experience on how to use emotion to best capture images for your clients.
What are some things about their kids you know they’ll want to remember forever? Now you’ve got the mental skills to quickly identify those things, and photograph them for families that are not your own.
At this session I noticed how different the twins personality were, one more reserved and one more free spirited. I knew I had to leave Mom with images that reflected their difference.
This sweetie was taking his time warming up to me, and while he did he held tight to Mom’s hands. I knew it was something she would add to the list of things she never wanted to forget so it was an easy decision to make sure she had some pictures that showed just that.
I started my project last year with the hope of finishing it. It took me 190 total days to photograph 100 intentionally, and I couldn’t be prouder. My clients noticed the change in my work, my family loves having our photo albums full and I accomplished a major photography goal.
You have nothing to lose and 100 new photos to gain. Join me on Instagram by using #shootingwith_intention to show off all your new photo projects. You’ve got a fire to get started on, now go out there and create images that make your heart sing!
100 Days Photo Challenge List – Ideas
You’ll never finish a project you don’t feel emotionally compelled to keep creating. Use some of these questions as a great starting point to get your creative juices flowing!
- What are 10 things about your kids as they are right now you want to remember forever?
- What are 10 things you do every single day?
- Where is someplace you’re about to go that will be a bit of an adventure for your family?
- What are 5 totally boring things about your everyday life right now you want to remember?
- What’s your favorite thing about this age, both yours and your kids?
- What’s your least favorite thing about this age, both yours and your kids?
- When was the last time you took a self portrait with your kids? How would you recreate it?
- Think of some questions your kids might ask when their older, ‘ When I was a baby did I do ___?’. What are some of their questions, and how could you answer them with photographs.
- What color do you find yourself most drawn to? Photograph that color every place you see it for a week.
- What’s one of your favorite moments from your childhood? How are those memories recreated today?
Share with us, in the comments below, what your theme or inspiration will be!