with Courtney Slazinik
What I learned from quitting my Project 365
What I learned from quitting my Project 365

In 2010 I completed my first Project 365. It was an amazing experience.

I learned so much.

I had our daily life documented for me to cherish for years to come.

I loved doing it…most days.

For several years after that I tried and failed several Project 365’s. I had every intention on finishing because I knew first hand how much it helped my photography. However, it is hard.

The first time is was fun and new but each year after that it seemed more like a chore than a fun project.

Each year I failed I would beat myself up. Why couldn’t I keep up with taking a picture each day? But after failing for several years, I have realized several things.

This year was no different as I started a Project 365 and shared my images on Instagram only to fail at the end of February.

Here are a few things I learned from failing my Project 365.

  • No.
    I found pockets of light I didn't know I had in my house

    We moved into a new house this summer and I knew it had great light. In fact, that was something that I was looking for in a house. However, after shooting daily for almost two months I found my house has these great little pockets of light I hadn’t noticed before.

    It’s amazing the things you notice when you slow down and view life through your camera and try to find something special each day.

  • No.
    I like to play with shadows

    Shooting every day forces you to try new things and push yourself and your photography. Since I found these new pockets of soft light I found myself looking for soft light to play with the shadows.

    It was fun to look at light differently and see how I could capture it to showcase my children and the activity they were doing.

  • No.
    I captured moments I would have missed

    The main reason I continue to push myself to do another Project 365 is for the everyday moments it forces you to capture. These are moments I know I would not pick up my camera for daily if it wasn’t for the push of this project.

    Simple moments that are truly the moments I want to look back on when my children get older. Like how my daughter likes to come into my office while I work and read her book.

  • No.
    I need to be in more photos

    This is something I have been saying forever. I am a huge advocate for getting in front of the camera. For the past year and a half my friend Megan and I have challenged each other to take a self portrait each Monday in our #portraitsofme challenge.

    I’ll be honest. I’ve dropped the ball…a lot…since I failed at my Project 365. I promise to get back in front of the camera each week.

    It is so important for me and my family to have images with me in them. Not just portraits but everyday moments. My daily routines as well.

  • No.
    I need a better routine for editing

    During my first Project 365 I made it part of my daily routine to upload my photos after the kids went to bed. Then I would sit down and cull and edit the images. This is ideal.

    However, my reality is much different than it was 7 years ago. For one, I have another child and by the time I put the kids to bed the last thing I want to do is sit at the computer. I now have thousands of images that I have taken this year that I need to cull and edit.

    Need to come up with a plan.

  • No.
    I learned to truly love the wi-fi feature on my camera

    When I first got my D750 I didn’t know what I would use the wi-fi feature for. I could just as easily upload my images to my computer.

    However, two days after starting the Project 365 we went out of town and I needed to get the photos from my camera to my phone so I could share that on Instagram.

    Thank goodness for the wi-fi feature! It makes it super simple. Then I could easily edit the images in PicTapGo or VSCO and share my image on Instagram.

  • No.
    Some days it's hard to pick a favorite

    Learning how to look at your images and pick a favorite is hard. Somedays I love an image because it perfectly captures who my child is on that day. I look at it with “mommy goggles”. Other days I absolutely love an image because of the photographer in me and my family can’t possibly wrap their head around why that was my favorite photo from the day.

    But forcing yourself to really look at your work and evaluate it challenges you to push your creative and photography eye.

  • No.
    That it's okay to quit

    There I said it. Yes, I am a huge advocate for Project 365. However, if the thought of finishing one is keeping you from even starting then allow yourself to quit. Tell yourself to start it. Tell yourself that if you miss a day it’s okay. Tell yourself that if it all becomes too much you can quit.

    Then sit down and reflect on what you’ve learned.

    Read more: 11 Tips to Help you Complete a Project 365

Have you started and failed a Project 365 or any other photography project? What did you learn from it? Share in the comments below a lesson you learned.

  • Phyllis
    April 26, 2017 at 3:59 PM

    Courtney, I had no idea you had a third child! Congrats! I had to read your blog post with a title like that. I have abandoned photography all together just by feeling like I was failing more than improving. I too have thousands of pictures to cull over, and being that I am 3 weeks away from delivering baby #3, I don’t see myself having the time to even get started. Thank you for posting a candid blog post 😊

    • Courtney
      May 5, 2017 at 2:40 PM

      Thanks so much, Phyllis! Yes, we now have 3 crazy kiddos and life is great! I’m so excited to hear you are expecting your third. The third kid is hilarious ;) I hope you can find a little time to take some photos of your growing family. So glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Ximena
    June 23, 2017 at 2:42 PM

    I loved it! Sorry for my english but I’m learning. I love your work and the way you write it. Greetings from Chile, soon I will do a project 365 :)

  • Michael
    June 23, 2017 at 3:17 PM

    So I am totally new at this but, enthusiastic. I can do a photo a day… I think. how do I upload?

  • Dawn Matthews
    June 23, 2017 at 4:31 PM

    I am on my 2nd project 365, did my first in 2015. I can’t always take a picture every day, but when I take pictures, I usually try to get several different ones that day to post later. I think I’m getting better, but not using manual mode as I would like. I tell myself I’d rather get a good pic on auto instead of missing the shot. Thanks gor all the info you share!

  • Mike Barnes
    June 23, 2017 at 5:16 PM

    I have tried a 365 a couple of times and always failed. This year, thanks to you, I decided to try again, but with a twist, every photograph is taken on Fuji Instax. First, this helps with keeping on track, there is no editing, I just use my phone to photograph the print and upload it. Second, forcing myself to use a medium that has severe limitations has really made me think about how I am going to accomplish a shot. Over the past almost 6 months I have taken some pretty awful shots, but I have also learned the foibles of the medium and the Leica Sofort I use and have managed to get some pretty good shots. This having to think is showing in my regular photography, I honestly believe my quality has improved, I have certainly reduced the number I cull.

  • Rebecca
    June 23, 2017 at 5:44 PM

    I started the project at the end of May and already my family are getting annoyed with my camera. Haha. This morning I put it on the tripod and tried to get one of myself to mix it up a bit.
    It is a fun project but is definitely a challenge.
    By the way. I love your office. Looks amazing.

  • Linda
    June 25, 2017 at 9:15 PM

    Great article! I want to start one, but being someone without little ones at home and a full time job, what does one find to take pictures of that is different than the day before? I feel like I have so many pics of birds and my dogs and flowers etc. thanks!

    • Nia
      July 2, 2017 at 9:47 PM

      Linda I highly recommend having a look around https://365project.org – so much to see and many people who never once post photos of kids. There was one lady who I think ended up with 3 different accounts and worked fulltime as a teacher.

  • Amanda
    July 14, 2017 at 12:43 PM

    I think starting a 365 is way too daunting .Try starting with a 30 day challenge or even a 14 day challenge then challenge yourself to work you way up to 1 year. I would completely fail too if I went for a 1 year project.

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