Why I’m Starting a Photography Project I know I Won’t Finish

I fell in love with photography in 2009. I learned all I could and found out about the Project 365. On January 1, 2010 I started what was to be one of the best things for my photography, a Project 365. You take a photo everyday for a year. That is it. Simple. No rules, just take a photo each day.

I loved it.

I started a photography blog to post my daily images and connect with others who were taking on the challenge. I met some of my favorite photography friends by doing this project. We encouraged each other and cheered each other on.

I captured moments I know I would have missed. I froze the most simple ordinary moments of life into images that I now treasure.

Each year after 2010, I have attempted to complete another 365. Yes, attempted. I have not completed another one. Yet, year after year I keep setting a goal to start and finish another one.

Why repeat this insanity when I clearly keep failing each year?

Because, I’m not failing. I still have images I would have never taken if not having challenged myself to pick up my camera everyday.

There is something magical about those ordinary images you capture because you “had” to take a photo for the day. Whether is it the toys left on the floor because you forgot to take the photo until after the kids went to bed or maybe the sleepy photo of your little one sleeping because you know the only time you have to capture a photo was during nap time.

It doesn’t matter how far you make it. Maybe you go to day 287 or day 8 either way you will be thankful for the images you take.

Instead of looking at the project and thinking, there is NO WAY I can take a photo everyday for a year so I’m not going to even try, think about how far you could make it. Think about the images you will capture because you “had” to.

Not every image is going to be portfolio worthy and that is okay. The important thing is you are picking up your camera each and everyday to challenge yourself.

These ordinary everyday moments you won’t get back. Tackle a project that challenges you.

Please remember just because you don’t complete a Project 365 doesn’t mean you failed. It means you captured (insert number of days you made it) images that you may not have taken other wise. I would call that a success.

Plus, I promise you, by picking up your camera everyday you will improve your photography skills.

So January 1, 2015 I will start my 5th Project 365. Will you be joining me?

Link up with others taking on the project. Comment and encourage each other. They will need your help!

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Read some 365 photography tips:

How to start a photography blog
11 tips for completely a Project 365
Tips to make your 365 photography project a success
#1 tip for completing a Project 365
Project 365 journaling cards
365 Photography Project Tips

Limit Your Creativity to Push Your Creativity

We are  all familiar with the common mantra that “creativity knows no boundaries” and while I whole-heartedly agree,  I have also found that I can pull myself out of creative ruts by imposing limits on my creativity. Sometimes boundless freedom to photograph whatever I want leaves me almost paralyzed; I don’t really know where to start. When I challenge myself to create something with a few constraints my brain takes it as a challenge and produces work I might not have otherwise been able to create.

I discovered how much I liked limits while on a road trip about a year ago. I am the typical Mom in the front passenger seat for the ride. My husband drives and I hand snacks back to the kids and occasionally try to referee a fight. It gets pretty boring after a while.

So on this particular trip, I pulled out my camera to look at photos I’d already taken to try to pass the time. I glanced out the window and saw a beautiful sunset and thought I’d try to capture it. But before I could get my camera settings ready to go-the scene had changed and there were trees in my way.  I was annoyed I had missed it, but realized  I wasn’t going anywhere (seeing as how I was strapped into the seat and all!) so I sat with my camera and waited for the scene to change again. And sure enough, as a few minutes later we were in a clearing and I was able to capture this:

 

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I was hooked!! Hooked on seeing what I could capture while I had all these constraints, or limits, placed on me:

1. I was in a box. A literal box with wheels. We “creatives” always want to do things out of the box-but this exercise really pushed me to create while in a box.

2. I was strapped in. I absolutely forbid you get out of your seatbelt to try to get a shot while riding in the car. I don’t care if you pass by a unicorn sliding down a rainbow-DO NOT take your seatbelt off.

3. The scene changes every second…so it’s a rush to try to capture what you want before you’ve passed it by.

4. You are shooting through your window.  That creates another layer of challenges because you have to determine whether you want the side mirrors in your shot or the darkened top of the windshield visible-it makes cropping and composing more difficult than normal.

5.  For me, I was shooting unfamiliar subjects. Until this point, I had only taken  portraits of my children. I had never shot a landscape and had no real desire to. So taking photos of the world passing my by was really a giant step outside of what would normally inspire me to pick up my camera.

 

So with all those limits, I found I was really forced to use my creativity in ways I typically didn’t. I started looking for things to photograph other than just the scene itself. I started using those trips in the car to focus on color, shapes, lines, textures and patterns. So many options opened up to me when I imposed limits on my creativity.

Here a few examples of when I focused solely on lines:

 

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These are from my study on color:

 

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In these photos, I was trying to see how many ways I could capture the clouds:

 

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And here I challenged myself to photograph the atmosphere:

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If you find yourself on a road trip over the holidays, do yourself a favor and keep your camera accessible for the ride! This may be my favorite article that I’ve written because I absolutely LOVE to take these types of photographs. You will learn so much by giving yourself creative limits.

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