with Courtney Slazinik
#1 Tip for Completing a Project 365

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?

Read how to start a photography blog as a place to document your photography project.

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.

5 tips for a Project 365 via Click it Up a Notch

Erin says:
“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.”

Photo by Erin

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.

5 tips for a Project 365 via Click it Up a Notch

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…”

Photo by Tracy

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.

5 tips for a Project 365 via Click it Up a Notch

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.”

Photo by Kristin

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:

5 tips for a Project 365 via Click it Up a Notch

“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.”

Photo by Ashley

5 tips for a Project 365 via Click it Up a Notch

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.”

Photo by Jessica

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:

5 tips for a Project 365 via Click it Up a Notch

“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.”

Photo by Sheryl

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!

Read more tips for a Project 365:
How to start a photography blog
11 tips to Help you Complete a Project 365
Tips to make your Project 365 a success

Sarah Kopke Bio Pic

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.

  • Sheri
    September 19, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    I’m not a professional photographer, just a Mom who sees time passing too quickly. Your advice is perfect. I started a “365Grateful” project on Jan 1. Didn’t tell the kids because I didn’t want them mugging for the camera every time or hiding from me. My oldest has noticed me taking “ordinary day” pics, but she’s old enough to just smile and know I’m up to something. (Not posting this on FB where she’ll see it.) My husband knows and has been a great support, not saying “come on, we don’t have time for a picture” – and that has influenced my son. A lot of shots were taken when no one knew, so no one’s looking. And some are screen shots of sweet texts from my daughter. I’ve missed some days. Turns out that taught me to lighten up on myself, which I also needed. I’ve written a few words (or more) about each picture, and making a Shutterfly book to document it all. Their 12×12 books can have up to 110 pages – basically 3 days per page. Thanks for the chance to say all this – I look forward to your FB posts!

    • September 19, 2014 at 12:46 PM

      Oops, accidentally posted this down below first. :)

      That’s amazing that you have so many candid shots! It is definitely those ordinary, everyday moments that I’m going to look back on and miss one day. Glad you’ve been able to give yourself some grace with it – I know you will be so happy to have all those photos!!

    • September 22, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      I love that! I love to hear you are capturing those moments and printing them! Whoo hop!

    • November 29, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      That is a great idea to print them in a shutterfly book for the year! How fun will it be to go back over the years and see how your life and photog skills have both changed :D

  • September 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Keep a running list of ideas and shoot friends and family on their birthdays. Use those for the days when life isn’t so busy =)


    • September 19, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      I love the idea of shooting friends and family on their birthdays, Mimi!

    • September 22, 2014 at 1:38 PM

      Yes, a running list is key :)

  • September 19, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    That’s amazing that you have so many candid shots! It is definitely those ordinary, everyday moments that I’m going to look back on and miss one day. Glad you’ve been able to give yourself some grace with it – I know you will be so happy to have all those photos!!

  • September 19, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    This is a very inspiring post for me, as I just started my 365 day photo challenge project! I’m so excited to learn new techniques, improve my skills, as well as document my families life! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • September 19, 2014 at 3:35 PM

      Wow, good luck! I’m so sure that you’ll learn a ton and be so thankful for the memories you capture!

    • September 22, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Good luck on your Project 365! You are going to rock it!

  • Chanel
    September 19, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    Literally JUST finished shooting a couple of photos, figuring I’d use one of them for my 365 and walked back inside of the house to check Click It Up A Notch to see if there was a new post to read. So ironic. Definitely having a hard time being inspired by day-to-day events but I’m attempting to look at my project as a way to better learn my camera and how to deal with different types of lighting. Hopefully a few months from now I will start to see some differences in the quality of photos I am taking. Awesome post!

    • September 19, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      I’m sure you will definitely start seeing some differences in your photos! It will be so fun to look back and see all of your progress!

    • September 22, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      I love that you see it as a challenge and not something to let discourage you. I always have ups and downs when taking on a project. You got this!

  • September 19, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    I am looking forward to this Project 365. I love being behind the camera. I just started out on my own and want to improve my photography skills.

    • September 19, 2014 at 11:32 PM

      A Project 365 is the perfect thing for you if you love photography and want to improve your skills! Enjoy it!

  • September 20, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    Thank you so much for this tips… never decided to start but I’m feeling 2015 is going to be “THE year”. I think I’m going to start it with the new year… (must resolve other things first :) )
    I love your blog, very isnpiring, regards from Buenos Aires

    • September 22, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      That would be awesome! You should totally make 2015 your year for a Project 365! Thank you for your sweet words about my site :)

  • September 22, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    Wow simply loved this article. I would also like to know when The Project 365 is going to start this year. I just had my second baby and I am so excited to capture both of my kid’s moments:) ; because project 365 is my inspiration to learn, try and enjoy my photography skills everyday. I had to leave the project halfway last year, but I want to try and continue this year for sure!!

    Click it Up a Notch is the BEST place to stay inspired and feel proud about your skills….I have improved a lot in my pictures after landing here.
    Thank you for the Awesome job!!!

    • September 22, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      Thank you so much for your kind words :) I hope you do start again. I have had to stop several other attempts too but there is something to be said about taking a picture everyday for a year. I know you can do it this year :)

  • September 24, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    I’m working on my third 365 Project. I’m going to hit number 1,000 on Friday. Year long projects are so much fun. Nice article about starting one. Keep up the outstanding work you are doing.

  • September 25, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    These are great tips. I’m on my second 365 project this year and my first one, back in 2010, I was incredibly strict with myself and managed the whole year without a dropped day! After that I tried the following years to do a 365 and failed miserably. Why? I thought it was all a “failure” if I missed a day! Such a silly thing. But I remember, after I missed one single day, I thought the whole project was pointless. Oh dear!

    This year, been much more lenient on myself. I have missed a few days here and there, but that is definitely not a bad thing. Life does “get in the way” sometimes, but that’s not a biggie! Just… life!

    • September 26, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      Yes, I completely agree about being too hard on yourself for missing a day. Such a great attitude towards the project.

  • November 3, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    My wife and I just began our Project 365! We are going to be creating a ‘Lifestyle’ category to our blog this week and posting our 365 photos to it once per week. And we are totally managing our expectations on the ‘one a day’ piece as well… we understand that there will be days when it’s just not practical. Courtney, once we get rolling, we would LOVE to have a photo in your Critique Me series. I think it would be beneficial to get some tough love from your talented readers.

  • November 3, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    As promised, we kicked off our Project 365! Would love ya’ll’s support and comments on the work throughout the next year!

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