Are you looking for a fun and inspiring photography project, today I’m sharing How to Start a 365 Photography Project. A perfect photography project to stretch your creativity and imagination – use this guide to help you in a 365 photography project in 2018.
How to Start a 365 Photography Project
Legacy. Joy. Heritage. Traditions. Memories. Growth. Happiness. These are my “why?”. When I first started my photography journey 4 years ago, I just wanted to take pretty pictures. Somewhere along the way, those pretty pictures (you know the ones I’m talking about- the posed photos with the props and selective color, huge watermark like a trophy on my prized artwork, yeah. THOSE.) turned into my kids hating my camera and meltdowns would ensue immediately after pulling it out. Which basically threw a wrench in those pretty pictures I was going for.
I was in a beginner photography group on Facebook. We critiqued and ooh’d and ahh’d each other’s work. The photos were all terrible and I had outgrown the group. I just didn’t know where to go next. I didn’t know how to grow. Until one day a couple years ago, someone in that group was talking about a lifestyle photography group and the amazingness of the artists who posted there. I remembered seeing lifestyle type images somewhere and I knew that was the direction I wanted to go next. That group did not disappoint and I remember admiring all their work so much.
Now some of those talented photographers and I talk daily. They’ve become very good friends of mine. Somewhere along the way on my photography journey someone asked me to dig deep down within myself and find my why. My purpose for this outlet of art I so desired to make. And these are the words I came up with. My why. I shoot for my kids. For my legacy. Books and albums, they can cherish when I am gone. I shoot for the joy it brings me. I shoot for the heritage that ties my family together, the traditions that are encompassed in my children’s memories. I shoot every day because of the growth I see in my daily shooting and sharing. My photography brings me happiness.
Somewhere along the way I decided to start a 365 to preserve our daily lives through my lens as I see it.
Why a 365? I have seen the most growth in my art while shooting my personal daily project. And I have preserved these memories of our daily lives for my children, which I believe is one of the greatest gifts I could ever give them.
So, you’ve decided to shoot a 365. Now what? How do you keep pushing forward? Well here are some tips I have found to be helpful when I feel like my daily project has become mundane and boring.
- Shoot for you!
I think it’s important to remember that you aren’t doing this for likes on social media. You aren’t shooting your daily project to impress anyone. This is your project. Shoot what you want to shoot. If you don’t have a nice camera, use your cell phone. The best camera you have is the one you have with you. It’s true. Shoot what makes you happy. Shoot what makes your children happy. Shoot because your heart desperately wants to look back at the memories of your babies at this age in ten years. This is your story. Tell it how you want it.
- Use what you have!
Like I stated above…Your kids aren’t going to care if you didn’t have a big fancy camera. Although it’s nice to have it’s not necessary. I’ve seen truly beautiful images with cell phones. I would honestly rather have a cell phone shot of a fantastic moment than no shot at all because I didn’t bring my big camera.
- Use your imagination!
When I start to feel a rut coming on or if I’m just simply bored with my images, I find stuff that I think would make for interesting art. A copper pipe, a circular prism, fairy lights, sunflares, sandwich baggies, reflections in mud puddles. I’m not above using objects in my shots to make them more interesting and beautiful. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, that’s when you’ll see the most growth. I actually currently have my main lens (my workhorse, my baby) at the shop getting repaired. So I took my 135 to the park and freelensed. I probably wouldn’t have brought a 135 to a playground but pushing myself out of my comfort zone led to a beautiful image. Just a tip: be careful with your lens. My sigma art 24mm is currently at sigma getting repaired from a mishap with a prism 🙈.
- Get in the frame
I actually feel like the biggest fraud saying this as I rarely get in the frame but I know I should. What do all the memories mean to my kids if they don’t have memories of their mom? I was listening to a podcast recently where the hello storyteller blog ladies were interviewing Kristen Ryan (a fellow documentary photographer) and she said “Right now these pictures are for me, but ultimately these pictures are for them.” Isn’t that so true? My kids don’t care if my hair or makeup isn’t done or if I’m heavier than I want to be. I need to stop saying “when I lose the weight…” and just do it now. That’s my goal for this week.
- Speaking of podcasts…
Listen to podcasts. Take breakouts. Join groups. These all help to get my creative juices flowing. And they make me a better photographer. It’s true. Inspiration is the key to keep pushing forward when you feel like giving up. I recommend the hello storyteller podcast and you can find it here. (https://www.hellostoryteller.com/podcasts/)
- Break the rules
You don’t actually have to shoot every day. (GASP!) I know. That sentence makes me feel like a fraud. Sometimes it’s just not possible to shoot every single day and that is ok. I see it a lot. Someone will miss a day or two and they think they’ve failed at their project. This is where we need to remember tip 1. This is a personal project. It’s for you and nobody else. Skip a day, take a break if you need it and catch up later. The rules to 365’s is there are no rules!
- Reward yourself!
My favorite ways of rewarding myself for a job well done is to print my photos. Buy a cute frame, make a calendar, print an album. My last 365 was turned into a blurb book and I adore it. My grandma gave me an old window from her house (the house I practically grew up in) and I knocked the glass out of it, stapled chicken wire in, and now I use it to display my favorite photos that I’ve had printed from artifact uprising.
Also, at the end of each month I make a grid of photos, which is instant gratification and kind of what pushes me forward each month. You can find the templates I use here.
- Keep a journal
I keep a small notebook in my purse. Each page has a different photographers name, and what I love about their work. I also make notes about their gear or editing process, if I know. Or any details about their work I want to include. This was how I found my editing style. I kind of combined what I loved from each photographer I looked up to and made it into my own work. One thing I want to mention is to never try to copy a photographer. I’ve tried to recreate different shots I love and it almost always looks like crap. Be authentic and your work will speak to who you are.
- Remember your why
In the journal I mentioned above, I like to keep inspirational quotes and jot down words I love that help me remember why I keep doing this. It’s important. And it’s what helped me to find my why. It’s what helped me to nail down an editing style and helps me to remember important dates or things I want to try to get shots of my kids doing. Sometimes I will see something on tv that will remind me of a memory I want to preserve or I’ll write down things I love about my kids that I want to capture and document, like their tiny toes or the way they smile and laugh, or how cute they look while brushing their teeth.
- Lastly, I want to talk about my gear
If you don’t have nice gear, like I said above it’s ok. But I feel it’s important to share what I shoot with.
Canon L series 135mm f2
Sigma art 24mm 1.4
Vintage sigma fisheye 15mm
I am a momtog. My name is Holly. I live with my boyfriend, my three little boys and my two bonus boys in Jackson, Michigan. I don’t currently have a photography business as I want to focus on documenting my own family for now. I am currently smack dab in the middle of my second 365 project. I am a storyteller. You can find me on Instagram.