If you're a tuned into photography you'll likely are thinking about doing a project. May Be Even a “Project 365,” a photo a day for a year. It happens to many photographing enthusiasts, it's kind of like those resolutions you're tempted to commit to as you turn the page into the New Year. A Project is mostly a public resolution too; you're expected to share your experience in a personal blog or by posting your work to a social media site like Flickr, Face Book and perhaps on Twitter. So, you can consider it a major commitment.
“Hey,” you think…”I'm up to it, I can do it! And I may find my niche and the photographic style that's right for me!” Those are all good reasons to commit to a Project. But maybe you want to think just a little bit harder about whether you want to jump in.
I started my Project a photo a day this year in September and wanted to see how it would work and how the iPhone 4 was useable for this kind of work. Even if it has been only some weeks it seemed like a long time to me. Think of the most hectic time over the past Years. Do you think you could have committed to taking a photograph every day? You probably could have, but what priorities would have changed in your personal and professional daily life to do it? A Project can become an obsession if you really commit to it.
You will think about your daily image all day long till you get it. Your mantra, will become, “What should I shoot today? Do I get into the habit taking the same photographs every day? Oh my, than I need to change it.
You'll need lots of support to get going on and on. A benefit that you'll need to nurture is to solicit meaningful and honest feedback as you post your daily photograph. Of course, you'll see the traditional blog and Flickr comments that will make you feel good But you should value and take to heart those few comments you'll get that are truly intended to make you a better photographer. Those comments are jewels. Be sure you thank the critic no matter how biting the comment and think about how to put their advice to work the very next day. This will make you a better photographer.
As you get going the inevitable question will come. What the heck have I gotten myself into? Why did I do this, it's not what I thought it would be. You ca rely on me; these questions will inevitably enter your mind. Forget them! Stick to the project and enjoy the experience. By now, your photography should improve in many ways that you may not realize. You will find that even the most mundane subjects can still be wonderful photographs. Subjects that you think won't work could become your best work. Turn your thinking around and the results can far surpass the negative thoughts.
There will be distractions and you do have competing life priorities that change from day to day. Get those out of the way if they're that important or restructure part of your day for your project. You have all day to use what's available to you and so many subjects in new environments that you might never have considered before.
Are you a perfectionist with your photography? Are you willing to go public with imperfect work on your own blog that's hurried and maybe not your best because of everything else going on in your life that day? You should stick to your decision and see it as your day's decision, good or bad.
As for your gear, it won't take too long before you realize that lugging your DSLR with you all day, everyday, is just a pain in the b... Should you always carry a camera all the time? Yes you should! My advice, don't go anywhere without your camera whether you're doing a Project 365 or not. I decided early on that the iPhone would be a not so bad supplement for my Nikon DSLR. Just make sure that you always have a camera with you. You'll never forgive yourself if you miss that once in a lifetime photograph, even only one that might have been your best photo for that day.
Believe it or not, a published photograph on the social networks is going to increase your presence. Others who relate to your photographs, your style and overall good work will find you and start following you on Flickr and Twitter. Or they'll find your blog and subscribe. Your social circle will expand. Your friends will come to know that you're focused on your photography much more than you were before you started your project and show a keener interest in your photographs. How could they not take note when you're so focused on your photography every day?
Doing a project for any longer time has some payoffs in my opinion they are:
A Project is a great way to express your love for photography while providing some structure and incentive to stick to it. You know how easy it is to blow off a day when it doesn't matter. With a Project, you can't do that. You've made a personal commitment!
You may “find your style” through your Project. There's no guarantee, but you may discover your style and preference for subject matter. You may start to convey your own personal signature style, look and feel that sets you apart from the crowd.
You'll also discover how well you can be as an artist.If you'll look back on your best work in your project there will be a few gems making it worthwhile. You'll learn how to use your camera and to slow down and take your time. The repetition of using your equipment every day will make you a better photographer as you become more intimately familiar with your camera's capabilities.
Overall, I think my photography has improved. I've certainly learned much more about what I like and my equipment is second nature to me now. I honestly don't know that I've found my photographic style yet; I think that's probably something to continue to work towards. I see the great work of others and aspire to those levels of excellence, I think I always will.
Here part of the photos I took for my project. Just some of them have been published on Flickr. It has been a great challenge, but as well great fun. Some minutes of your time if you like to see them.