As photographers, we naturally value the importance of a photograph. Behind every photograph, there is a story to be told and a memory to be shared. That is exactly why a Project 365 is a great way to challenge yourself as a photographer and also collect memories.
One photograph every day can seem overwhelming. Don’t worry because we have just the help you need to complete this challenging, but rewarding task of a Project 365.
Table to Contents
What is Project 365?
Simply put Project 365 is a year long photography challenge to take one photo every day for 365 days. You, your camera, and your life.
Rules or no rules, it’s your choice
Some people like to follow a guideline for the year to give them ideas or motivation. If you do prefer that you can look on Pinterest or Google for hundreds of ideas. Or you can create your own list! With that being said, you don’t have to follow any rules at all if that’s not your vibe.
Anyone can do a Project 365
Anyone can do this fun project. It doesn’t require a special camera or have a specific set of rules. You can use whatever you have available, the goal is to take a different picture every day of the year.
Read more: How to Start a 365 Project
Why I decided to do a Project 365
I made a resolution to document my life as a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. After reading about the Project 365, I quickly decided that was the perfect way to carry out.
To document my every day life
The best thing I did when I started this project was to not make any rules. I simply wanted to take a photo of my life every day.
To me, documenting life isn’t about capturing only the big events (birthdays, trips to the zoo, holidays, etc.).
Focus on the joy
It’s about capturing the everyday moments. No matter how simple the day may be.
Read how to start a photography blog as a place to document your 365 photography project.
11 Tips for completing a Project 365
1. There are no rules
Worrying about themes, perfect pictures, and shooting solely with a DSLR every day may not be realistic for you. Make YOUR Project 365 realistic for YOU. On the other hand if you are a rule follower and that helps you, then you do you!
Read more: Learn more about starting Project 365
2. Taking one photo a day will make you a better photographer
Doing just that forces you to build a strong relationship with your camera gear and to get creative. Taking a photo every day will help you even if you are using a point-and-shoot camera or camera phone. You will learn to pay attention to lighting and the right moment to press the shutter button.
3. Connect with others who have taken on a 365 project
By following fellow 365 bloggers and/or Instagram accounts you will inspire and be inspired. Another benefit is that you will also meet some wonderful people along the way.
Having a friend do it with you is a great way to keep each other accountable and encouraged. Find yourself a good cheerleader and get going!
4. Make a list of things you want to photograph
Some days you will feel less than motivated about picking up your camera, this list will light the spark and give you ideas to keep going. I referred to my list many times this year.
5. Take your camera everywhere
I know it might feel weird at first to take a photograph in the everywhere. You’d be surprised that people will more likely strike up conversation with you and not just give you a funny look. The more you take your camera, the less uncomfortable it will be.
6. Jot down a little bit about every day
Get a calendar, planner or journal. I have a planner that I write EVERYTHING in. Birthdays and events are in there, of course. But I also add what we did that day like “Took kids on a walk. Beautiful fall day.” Things your kids say or do are also document-worthy.
When the calendar is done or the journal is all filled in, KEEP IT! Chances are your children and grandchildren will cherish your written words some day.
7. Post your Project 365 pictures
This can be on Instagram, Facebook, or a blog. Whatever is your platform, use it. This will encourage you so much since family and friends will be able to cheer you on, or just brag a little bit.
If you keep a blog, make posting a picture a part of your daily routine.
You will quickly get into your groove and find posting to be a fairly quick (and rewarding) process.
8. It’s okay to miss a day
There may be days that you just can’t take a picture and/or post your picture. Life happens. Give yourself grace and try again the next day. Studies show it’s harder to keep a habit if you miss two days in a row. You can always use a different picture from another day if you need to.
9. Start Project 365 any day of the year
There are no rules that say you have to start this project on January 1st. Start it on your birthday or your child’s birthday or Valentine’s day or ANY day. The point is to document a year in your life.
10. Go back and see your progress
If you every feel like you are in a rut, go through all the photos you’ve already taken. This is encourage you to keep going and show all the progress you have made in your photography journey.
11. Create a tangible book of your completed Project 365
I already have visions of sharing this book with my family for many, many years to come. Becky Higgins has created an amazing product – Project Life It was created for the Project 365. The materials are of high quality and the end result is absolutely beautiful.
I’ve also included a fun and unique project to The Ultimate Gift Guide of the Best Gifts for Photographers called The Adventure Challenge. This would help inspire you and give you a tangible book of images!
Let’s be real
Have I blogged every day? Not so much. Are all of my pictures in albums? Nope. Did my camera just sit on a shelf some days? A few. Some days I take hundreds of pictures with my “big” camera and other days I manage only a quick snap with my cell phone.
I’m not beating myself up about this. What IS important to me is that I continue to capture and document my life, as imperfect and real as it is.
Read about one of my incomplete 365 Projects: What I learned from quitting my project 365
Why it matters
Documenting my life has truly been one of the most rewarding things that I have ever accomplished… besides marrying my husband and bringing my children into the world, or course.
I have captured my babies reading a book together, sunsets, birthday candles, weddings, bare feet, my husband napping with one of our children, blue skies, reflections, messy faces, new life, awesome sun flare, folded laundry, dew on the grass, ugly slippers, laughter, tears, runny noses, and toys scattered everywhere.
It is my life and a life that I am so thankful for.
If there is anything that I have learned about photographing my daily life, it is this…
Life is too precious to let the days go by unnoticed. Every day has significance. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
More Project 365 Tips
Shannon Heimsoth – Guest Post
Shannon Heimsoth is a natural light family and child photographer, born and raised in a small town in northern Illinois. Currently, Shannon shoots with a Canon 5DII and 50 f/1.4.
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