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

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!

365 photography project-6

365 photography project-8

365 photography project-7

Read some 365 photography tips:

#1 tip for completing a Project 365
Project 365 journaling cards
365 Photography Project Tips

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78 Comments
  • Amy Whitt
    December 17, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    I would love to join you on a 365 day project!

  • Ann
    December 17, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    I have been in a 365 style photo group on Facebook for almost 3 years. We have approximately 50 members from the US and Australia. Some are serious photographers and some are just having fun.
    But, everyone has learned a great deal from this group and taking photos on a consistent basis.

    Having a theme or a prompt for everyday is a great activity…. I highly recommend it!!!

    I enjoy your blog very much!

    • December 17, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      That is awesome! I know some people love having a prompt and it helps them :)

  • Zoë
    December 17, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    I would love trying to do project 365. I just recently got into photography ( Early last June) and would love to improve my photography.
    – Zoë

  • December 17, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    I’m joining you this year! :) Just have to get my darn site set up, which has to wait as I’m ploughing through the last posts on my soon-to-be-rebranded lifestyle blog for 2014 (I’m gonna die, man, this is rough). Curious – do you think, in terms of blogging a Project 365 on a photography blog, that it’d be alright to take a photo every day, but then share them in a single post each week, highlighting the favorite or telling a little story about ones that really move me, etc? Vs posting them every single day? I’m thinking that might be more manageable for me, given my other commitments.

    • December 17, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      Yes, rebranding and redesigns are hard. I’m working on one for this site right now. I’m sure it will be awesome and worth it! As for posting, if you find that to be more manageable then yes, do that :) Personally, I have to post daily to remember but I know some people do one big one once a week. Whichever works!

      • December 17, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        Yep, I’ve been working on the concepts for my rebrand/redesign since July, and I’m still not quite ready. Other than photography, I’m taking January off completely from all online obligations (except bills, lol – those never take a vacation). I’ll work on the behind-the-scenes stuff in February, and hopefully relaunch on March 2nd (it’s a Monday, I don’t post on weekends), but I’m prepared to push it to April if I need to do so. I’ll have…

        http://www.GirlUnfurled.com – lifestyle (family, creative, activism, whatever)
        http://www.IntoTheLibrary.com – books and comfort stuff
        alenabelleque.photography – my photography blog, obvs

        It’s a lot, and I’ve been cautioned about multiple blogs possibly being problematic in terms of time, but I think I need to do it for the range of topics I cover – when they’re all under “lifestyle blog”, it gets really confused and muddied, and turns off my readers. I’m an abuse survivor, and a one-time trafficking survivor, and my family is preparing to become full time volunteers in the abolition movement (anti- child sex trafficking, specifically), so I’m actually considering making this even more exciting by making Girl Unfurled purely for those topics – you know, the heavy stuff – and adding…

        http://www.MakingMyCutieMark.com – lifestyle, family, fun
        http://www.AlenaBelleque.com – a landing page to hold it all together, cohesively

        If you care to share thoughts, I’d love to hear them! Either way, thanks for listening. ♥ And yes, I think if I put “Project 365” on the same day every week in my blog planner, I’ll remember to do the post; I already have a little sign on my desk that says, “Take a picture every day!” :)

  • Vanessa
    December 17, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    I am in on the 365 project. I attempted last year and failed. This could be the year of completion.

  • Linza
    December 17, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    I’m joining you this year! I’m setting up a site right now and everything!

  • Chantel
    December 17, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Hi, I have never done this before. Would love to try it. Do we take pics of random things or do we get a list of things to take daily? I dont have a site yet either, will that be a problem. Its a work in progress. Lol.

  • December 17, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    I attempted the challenge earlier this year, but can’t remember how far I got with it. I will be joining you on January 1st in trying again! Time to head over to link-up, can’t wait!

  • Kathy
    December 17, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    I’ve attempted this project once in the past, and I’m not sure I even made it to February. But I just got a new-to-me Canon 40D after the shutter on my Canon XS died, and now I have to learn how this baby works. I thought it would be a piece of cake – ha! It’s so different! So committing to a 365 project will *hopefully* motivate me to figure this baby out! And finally get my butt in gear to start a blog, since I’ve been meaning to for ages.

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      I bet it will. Forcing yourself to use it daily you will definitely figure it out :)

  • Denise
    December 17, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Hi! I think I’m going to try to do one this year. I’m very much a beginner but I would love to learn how to take such beautiful pictures. Problem is I haven’t picked up my camera in nearly 2 years. These last few years have been difficult personally and for some reason I’ve just not been able to use my DSLR…the last time I used it was to shoot a catastrophic flood in my town and my house… I use my iPhone a lot to capture moments. I don’t have a blog and not sure I’ll get to setting one up but I’m going to take some time over the holidays to get myself and my camera ready! I’m going to try! Like you said, it can be a picture of anything… no pressure!

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      Definitely no pressure. You don’t need a blog or anything special. You can do a 365 on your iPhone if you want. The key is to capture your life :)

  • December 17, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    I’ve tried to do this the last two years and life just got in the way. But I’ve upgraded to a full frame and have a new lens that I need to master ~ so here I go again!!

    It’s all about the climb right!

  • Scott
    December 17, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    I have tried to do a 365 project but ,sadly, did not finish it. I would love to try it again.

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      That is okay. The important thing is you tried. I hope you do try again!

  • Melinda T
    December 17, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    I’m in…every year I say it and every year I quit! But, something about 2015 is different! :D I’m gonna stay committed and hold myself accountable!

  • December 17, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    I am in the process of setting up a photo blog (thanks for the How To post!) and am in for Project 365.

    Really do enjoy your blog and all of the guest bloggers on your site.

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      Awesome! Be sure to link it up so we can all cheer each other on!

      • December 31, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        Thanks so much! I did the cut/paste to my site and all that showed up was the html code rather than the image and link. Not sure what I’m doing wrong :-/ Hoping to figure it out soon – HNY!

        • January 6, 2015 at 3:13 PM

          Are you talking about the button? If you are trying to put that on your site make sure your are in the “html” section and not the “view”. Hope that helps!

  • Mimi
    December 17, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    3 yrs ago I did a 52 weeks project. I must say that it was great, I was in a process to move from US to Europe, and I was lucky to capture every single step and adventure. I’m not a photographer, I’m just someone who really loves to take pictures. For 2015 I think I’m going to mix my two passion cooking and photography in a 52 weeks project. Wish me luck!!!

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      What a fun year to capture! That is a great idea for a 52 project!

  • December 17, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    I am so excited and nervous about doing a 365 project. I am going to link up for sure. I am going to start on Christmas Eve. I will most definitely need the support. I haven’t really picked up my camera much since one of my dogs passed away in September. I am hoping this project will get me out of a funk.

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      I hope it helps with the funk too. Sorry to hear about your dogs. Maybe this will be good therapy!

  • December 17, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    I started a 365 in the middle of last year and absolutely loved it – I have amazing photos of my family that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. 109 days in, we moved back to our home country and sorting house, unpacking, settling down was much tougher than I had thought it would be (emotionally and physically). I have picked up my camera twice since the move and I miss my camera and my photos terribly. My office is 99% sorted, just a few more things to do in preparation for 1 January and the start of my new 365! I am very excited and positive for my photography journey in 2015.
    This post sums up perfectly how I feel about the fact that I wasn’t able to finish my first 365 – I love a lot of my ‘had’ to take photos :) Thank You Courtney.
    Will definitely be linking with fellow 365’ers :) Have a fabulous 2015!

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      Wonderful! So glad you are going to try it again. 109 is fantastic! Way to go :)

  • December 17, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    I started a 365 in the middle of last year and absolutely loved it – I learnt so much in a short space of time and many of my ‘had’ to take photo’s are my favourites! This post sums up exactly how I feel about my first 365. We moved back to our home country about 3 months into the 365 and unpacking, sorting house, settling down was absolutely chaotic and far tougher than I thought it would be.
    I am happy to say that my office is now all sorted and ready for 1 January :) I am so excited for my photography journey of 2015.
    Have a brilliant and successful year 365er’s and 52er’s – looking forward to linking up :)

  • December 17, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    I started a 365 in the middle of last year and absolutely loved it – I learnt so much in a short space of time and many of my ‘had’ to take photo’s are my favourites! This post sums up exactly how I feel about my first 365. We moved back to our home country about 3 months into the 365 and unpacking, sorting house, settling down was absolutely chaotic and far tougher than I thought it would be and I completely lost track of my photography.
    I am happy to say that my office is now all sorted and ready for 1 January :) I am so excited for my journey and growth in 2015.
    Have a brilliant and successful year 365er’s and 52er’s – looking forward to linking up :)

  • Magical Bill
    December 17, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Hi Courtney,

    This was a timely post from you to get me motivated for 2015.

    I hope to do more than just walk around the garden and snap away at flowers and the cat.

    Although I got some good images of a dragon fly yesterday.

    So thanks again,

    Cheers, Magical Bill (Melbourne, Australia)

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      A 365 will definitely push you outside what you normally photograph. Glad you are joining in.

  • December 17, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    I’m in starting January 1st. I started one in 2009, and think I only got to February. I’ve been sort of doing one on my current blog since October and only missed a few days posting. I will start a different blog for the 365 project on blogspot. Is that OK? I’ve never done this with a group before, so this might be interesting. I’m looking forward to it!

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      Of course it is okay. You can set up the project however you would like.

  • syafiqa
    December 17, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    i really want to join this project! but the thing is i dont have my own camera. i borrowed one from my father,fujifilm x20. but to keep the camera with me for 365 days with me, im not sure. but i learned a lot from u. thanks a lot! i never know how to shot in manual until i read your post. now i know what the function of the aperture,iso and shutter speed. thank you ;)

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      You can use whatever camera you have. If you have a smart phone use that :)

  • December 17, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    Wow Courtney, nothing can be as exciting as this project to start in the New Year. I could not complete the project I joined in 2013. But it was such an exciting experience capturing ‘anything’ in my camera and fell in love with the Manual clicks.

    Superb task for the next year:) Would love to join you:) any day:)
    Love
    Epsita
    epsita.blogspot.com

  • December 17, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    All The Best Everyone:) would love to visit everyone in this project and a great opportunity to learn from others too!! Wow! I am so excited:)

  • December 17, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    working on building my blog right now so i can do it too!!!

  • December 18, 2014 at 12:29 AM

    I’m committed to a 52 project! I just had my first child in November and it’s so wonderful to capture these little moments, when she is so cute and precious. Children grow so much quickly! And it’s easier than doing selfies. I also joined Clickin’ Moms to motivate me to learn more about photography and connect with others.
    I am horrible about updating my blog though. No instant feedback/encouragement like Facebook…
    http://www.allyourheartphotography.com

  • December 18, 2014 at 3:08 AM

    It’s funny, back in 2010 I finished my first 365 project and was failing every year too. Until this year when I started another. And just like you, I’ll be taking on another next year with the same sentiments of if I complete it then great, if not – at least I tried.

  • December 18, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    Yeah- I’m glad to hear you’re starting another Project 365!!! I hope you share it here! I started my first project last year & linked up here. In many ways I “failed”- I didn’t shoot daily & I stopped uploading my images at the end. But here’s where I didn’t fail: I grew so much over the past year in my skills, I took more pics than I would have & I saved memories! I’m putting together my Blurb book from my project & it’s so inspiring! Can’t wait for Jan 1st!!!!

    Thank you for inspiration!

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:43 PM

      I haven’t decided where I will be posting my images yet. So glad you are doing one and yes, making a photo book is a great goal to keep you going!

  • December 18, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    Hi, this is my first attempt at starting Project 365. I am here to learn all that I can during the course of the next year. One question, will my lifestyle blog suffice for now?
    Thanks, Kisha

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      Yes, any type of blog you want to do is fine. There are no rules :)

  • December 18, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Yep! I started my 365 a few weeks ago only because I know I wouldn’t start on 1 Jan if I didn’t start 1 Dec when I decided I was going to do the project.

  • Patrick
    December 18, 2014 at 9:18 PM

    I’m finishing my first project in 13 days. It was a roller coaster of emotion. It is far from easy, but so worth it. I’m not ready to star a new one yet. I don’t like all the picture I done, but all these pictures made me a better photographer for sure. I did it on Facebook and I’m updating Flickr time to time. I don’t have the patience and the time to do it in a blog.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/patpro506/sets/72157639500129474/

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      Congrats on finishing it! That is such a wonderful accomplishment :)

  • Tamm Muczinski
    December 19, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    I feel you. When my first daughter was born, I started a 365. I did good the first few weeks. Then, I would forget & it would be 11:57pm & I would take a picture of her sleeping with my iPad. Imagine my horror, when the SD card, I had not backed up got corrupted. I tried to have the images restored, but they were gone. I cried for two days.
    I had another daughter 12 months later. I didn’t even try a 365 with her. My older daughter turned 2 on the 13th & the 2nd turns 1 on the 30th. I am so thankful for your post, it made me feel normal in this Pinterest-Elf-on-the-Shelf-Overachieving-Parent Pressure-filled world around me. I feel inspried to do another 365 because of you!! Happy Holiday Season!
    Cheers!!!

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      Haha I hear you on the “everyone seems to have it together but me” type of world we live in :) My thought is something is better than nothing. Glad you are going to try it again!

  • Patrick
    December 19, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    One question, I’m trying to make a book out of it, just for me. But I’m wondering if I should stick to a the time line, or be more creative and blend different picture by theme. What do you think?

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      I’m a type-a kind of gal so I would want them in order but if grouping makes more sense to you, then do that :)

  • December 19, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    I can’t wait to get started, but I wondered if we just shoot what we want or are there prompts/suggestions that you follow each day? I see there are several ways of doing it just in the research I’ve done. I would like to know what structure you follow if any…
    Thank you for the time and dedication you put into helping others such as myself! I don’t know how you do it, but then I just saw you made a post on managing your time as a blogger – I’ll jump over there right now to see how. haha ;) Best wishes! <3

  • December 20, 2014 at 3:55 AM

    I will join! The first year my little boy was born, I took loads of pictures, all of him. Later on I tried to photograph more aspects of our daily lives, but there are considerably less pictures – and I want to improve my skills. So I’ll join, it’s a good motivation to pick up blogging too… I avoid posting pictures of recognizable people – but there are plenty of other things I can throw in the mix. Joining all of you will keep me motivated – I hope…

  • December 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve linked up and am committing to doing a 365 this year. I’ve been wanting to for a couple of years now, but have always feared failing because I take on a lot and get overwhelmed sometimes. But you’re absolutely right – I’ll have images I wouldn’t take otherwise and that’s always winning! Can’t wait to see what everyone posts!

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      Don’t worry about failing. If you do, who cares. At least you tried, that is more than most people can say!

  • December 27, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Darnit Courtney. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this post since I read it last week. I think you single handedly roped me into another attempt at a 365. Just like you, I successfully did one in 2010 and haven’t been able to complete another one since. Cheers to another {failed} attempt!! Happy 2015!

    • December 29, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      Ha ha mission accomplished :) So glad you are joining in for another 365!

  • debs johnson
    December 28, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    Courtney, are there any challenges that are not daily? My work schedule does not allow me time each day to enjoy my passion. I do shoot weekly however. I am just on the other side of being a beginner and have lots to learn. Took your advice and joined Clickin Moms, and am learning how to navigate that website. Thanks so much for your interest in helping and encouraging others.

  • basia roche
    December 31, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Courtney, last minute I decided to join for the 365 challenge. I’m working on setting up my website and I think i’ll be on 1 day delay. Is it still ok to join? I’m a beginner and have a lot to learn and I think this is my year for that. Thank you so much for being so inspirational!

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