Have you ever thought of doing a Project 365 but been overwhelmed at the idea of taking a photo every single day for a year?
It seemed like a daunting task to me, so I wanted to find out what it was that keeps all those Project 365ers going day after day, the struggles they come up against, the rewards they find in it, and especially the advice they have for getting through all 365 days. So I asked them.
The most common theme I heard about completing a Project 365?
Give yourself some grace.
Here’s 5 helpful tips to keep your photography challenge stress-free:
1. Forget Perfectionism
Perfection keeps us from enjoying some of even our best accomplishments. Instead of asking yourself if it’s perfect, ask yourself: Does it capture the moment I wanted it to? Is it part of the story I’m wanting to tell with my 365? Does it capture my skill level today so that in a few months I can look back and celebrate how much I’ve improved? If the answer to any of those is “Yes!” then give yourself some grace to call today’s photograph good enough. It’s probably better than you think it is anyways.
“Let perfectionism go…So what if your editing or focusing is off? In the end, you’re going to have a collection of an amazing year of images. If you give up because you couldn’t get a perfect shot, you’ll kick yourself.”
2. Don’t worry when life gets in the way
A missed day isn’t failure. It’s just life. Sick kids and busy days at work might keep you from picking up your camera one day. But tomorrow’s a brand new day with brand new moments to capture. It’s okay to give yourself grace to just grab the camera again and pick up where you left off.
Here’s Tracy’s best piece of advice:
“Don’t give up. Even if you have setbacks, or you miss a day or two, or you get so busy it takes you three weeks to get your photos uploaded/edited, just keep at it! There are days where life just gets busy, but I make sure that I take an extra photo (or two!) the next day to catch up…”
3. It’s okay to feel boring sometimes
Don’t worry if the number of pictures you need to take seems overwhelmingly bigger than the number of exciting things you have to photograph. A lot of our days are filled with coffee refills, cluttered floors, making lunches, and hundreds of other ordinary things. But it’s okay. In the long run, these are probably the moments you’ll want to remember anyways. When we pick up the camera to capture one of those “ordinary” moments we’re reminding ourselves that it’s a moment worth valuing. So embrace the ordinary and start shooting.
Here’s what Kristin does:
“Some days you just feel really uninspired. Especially if you’re like me and both furry and human kid free, you’ve probably exhausted your photograph-worthy subjects the first month. For me to push past that, I just set aside 15 minutes everyday to shoot and give myself a skill to work on. So I’ll read a ‘Click It Up a Notch’ article and then shoot for 15 minutes even if I don’t like my subject. Usually after those 15 minutes I WANT to keep shooting to nail my skill for that day… These photos may not be Pinterest-worthy but you’ve challenged yourself to create an image out of the everyday and made it extraordinary.”
4. Remember your “Why”
Everybody has a different motivation for their 365, and it’s important to remember yours every time you pick up your camera or hit the upload button to share your pictures.
Ashley’s motivation is to capture her kids’ childhood. She says:
“I really think a 365 is an amazing project not just for improving photography, but also for documenting my boys’ childhood. The pictures I have of them are some of my most prized possessions.”
Jessica has a different motivator for her 365. She says:
“I wanted to master my camera, learn different lighting situations, and develop my artistic eye as a photographer.”
Whatever it was in you that motivated the click of your shutter on Day 1 of your project, keep it in mind on Days 82 and 196 and 365. It will be much easier to have grace with yourself if you remember your own “why” and let it remind you each day that you’re succeeding in what you set out to do.
5. Celebrate your progress
Almost everyone we heard from mentioned how fun it was to look back and see your progress. But the biggest thing that will keep you from celebrating your own growth is comparison to other photographers. Instead of comparing today’s photo to someone else’s, compare it to the one you took on Day 1… and celebrate how far you’ve come!
Here’s Sheryl’s advice:
“Don’t be discouraged on days you … look at other blogs and say, ‘UGH, why don’t my pictures look like that!’ which was a big thing for me the last month or so, but I got over it by not trying to compare and just remembering why I love photography, which is to capture those little moments of my kids and details that might be overlooked.”
The story you’re telling with your Project 365 has never been told before. Give yourself all the grace you need to pick up your camera and tell it!
Sarah Kopke – Guest writer
I’m a mama to a beautiful baby girl and I love celebration, good stories, and coffee dates. My husband and I are the creators of The Albums, a clutter-free & stress-free home for your favorite photos (including your Project 365). Join us on Instagram for a daily photo prompt and reminder to capture the good in every day.