A friend challenged me to take one photo per day, for an entire year. I hesitantly agreed, and surprised myself when I followed through for 180 days. Yes, I failed the first time I tried it. But the practice from my daily shooting greatly improved my craft, gave me a new hobby with some far-fetched aspirations, and I had 180 images of my sweet baby girl that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t attempted this project. Can’t complain about that!
A couple years later, my family of four (now we have two sweet girls) moved from Orlando, Florida, to Costa Rica for two years. I INSTANTLY knew that I wanted to document the heck out of the experience, so I decided to attempt another daily shooting project.
Read more: 6 Tips to Help You Complete Your Project 365
Not only did I complete it, but it was a complete game changer for my photography — both personally and professionally. Now, more than ever, I realize how beneficial shooting daily can be, and would love to share five things I wish someone would have told me when I was considering my first one-photo-a-day project.
- No.01Start Now!
January 1 seems to be the most popular day to start a 365 project, but that’s certainly not the only day to kick it off. Start on the first day in a new home (like I did last time, on Dec. 28 when we moved,) on your child’s birthday, first day of school — heck start today! Just do it.
We’ve all heard the “I’ll start tomorrow” excuse and usually tomorrow comes and goes and the phrase continues. Pick up your camera and take a shot. Today can be day one.
- No.02Buddy Up!
Find a support network filled with others who are also shooting daily. I was SO thankful to be a part of an amazing Facebook group filled with talented ladies who were also on a photo-a- day journey.
I looked forward to seeing all of their images each day, and they looked forward to seeing mine. You’ll not only get a personal group of cheerleaders, but you’ll even end up with some amazing new friends — BONUS!
- No.03Stay Motivated!
Consider taking photography classes throughout your journey. I found that focusing on my education while shooting daily greatly reduced the number of days where I was struggling with something unique to shoot.
I took several classes and watched countless tutorials that covered areas in which I wanted to grow. I love learning about photography, so often times my homework assignments for my workshops became my photo of the day. Easy as pie!
What’s even better is throughout my year of daily shooting, my skills with all of the new techniques I was learning skyrocketed! And now, I have confidence with my ability to use natural light inside, shoot in harsh sun at the beach, take selfies with my tripod and wireless remote, capture reflections in camera, macro photography and more!
- No.04Give Yourself a Break!
No, I don’t mean a break from shooting, I mean a break from perfection! I found that one of the most difficult aspects of shooting daily for an entire year was the pressure for perfection. I am also the first to admit that my usual subjects – my two girls – are not always willing participants.
There were certainly days where I just didn’t have the energy to attempt to photograph my girls, so I didn’t. On the days where I was running low on ideas, or was just plain exhausted, I just took pictures of still things throughout the house.
Like the first time we dyed brown Easter eggs (because white eggs are hard to come across in Costa Rica), my delicious coffee from the local café, the vegetables from the farmer’s market, or the clouds from the airplane window.
While these certainly aren’t my favorite images from my 366 project, images like these got me through it!
- No.05Celebrate Your Accomplishments!
Because you’re going to have them! If someone would have told me that one day I would accomplish some of those far-fetched photography-related aspirations I dreamed up when I started my first project, I would have laughed at them.
But the crazy thing is, it actually happened! Because of my daily shooting – even the year I only got half-way through – my photography skills grew SO much and my dreams came true!
For me, the biggest benefit of daily documenting reveals itself every time I look back at an image of my girls. I have SO many pictures of my babies, more than I can count, and, even though there were days where I wanted nothing to do with my camera, I am SO glad I stuck it out and kept clicking!