When I first started out with photography, I did 2 years of 365s, back to back. That daily practice of shooting, editing and sharing made a huge difference in my initial growth. If you’re considering taking on a 365, here are some of my best tips:
1. Find your tribe
Like most aspirations, photography is best experienced with other people. That isn’t to say that you should always go out shooting with a buddy or never take solace in solitary macro work. Simply, set yourself up with a support group. In this case, I think that it is particularly valuable to have a group of peers who are working towards the same goal. Shooting everyday is daunting at first, and then can feel monotonous. Joining a group of photographers who are working through the same challenges and emotions will provide support and impetus to keep going, when you’d rather give up. They’d all notice if you left!
2. Have a plan
I’ve found that it’s pretty easy to shoot daily for about 1-2 months. After that, the challenge of fitting daily shooting and editing (and posting, if choosing to share daily) starts to wear my resolve to continue quite thin. I’ve also noticed that around that same time point the “I don’t have anything to shoot!” excuse makes an appearance in my thoughts. To avoid giving into the temptation to stop shooting, I’ve found it works wonderfully to have prepared prompts to shoot for. 2 great resources to take a look at are the Bethadilly challenge and the CMglimpse project on Instagram.
3. Allow cheating now and then
365 days of shooting is wonderful. But, so is 300 days of shooting! Maybe you’ll have a really great day of photography and end up with 3 awesome, portfolio worthy pictures. Use one for your daily post/share/spot in your album, and save the other 2 for a rainy day. For me, the goal of a 365 isn’t perfect one-picture-per-day performance. Instead, I want to challenge myself to shoot consistently, to push myself to try new things, to persevere when I’d rather pack it up. If I need to skip a day, here and there, to allow for ‘life’ that isn’t a problem.
4. Look back and congratulate yourself regularly
Every month or two, take a look back through your images. Give yourself a critique: look for trends, tendencies, consistencies (and inconsistencies) and areas that you could definitely improve on. Also take the time to notice your strengths. What have you improved on? Are you noticing the edges of your frame more? Have you found a new spot for morning light in your house? Did you make progress in creating engaging images without including a face? Notice those areas of growth and celebrate them! You’ve put in the work and it is showing.
5. Be open to shooting things you normally wouldn’t
A project like a 365 should give you freedom to experiment. It isn’t shot for a client, or in pursuit of any goal other than growth (and perhaps documentation, if photographing your life/family life is important.) If you normally shoot your kids, try tackling food photography. Or, if you’re a landscape photographer, try indoor portraits. Even if you don’t end up shooting the new genre/s regularly, trying them and working towards mastery of the subject matter will give you new insights about how you can approach your preferred genre in a fresh way.
Will you be photographing a 365 in 2017? Let me know in the comments!Pin It