In March of 2014, I began a Project 365 that ended up capturing one of the most transitional years of my life, and taught me to love photography in new ways.
This sort of project has become popular in recent years and I am a huge advocate. It is so incredible to look back on some aspect of life throughout a whole year as it progress through the seasons, through the highlights, the news, the changes, the holidays, even the mundane daily chores and tasks that seem so incredibly unpicturesque in the moment - something about revisiting those moments a year later breeds appreciation and gratefulness on a whole new level.
If you've been thinking about starting a Project 365, but don't really know where to begin --
A. that's understandable because it's kindof a big commitment.
B. I'm here to help.
For New Project Starters
Establish a System of Organization
When I decided to start my project, I thought I was organized. Then I encountered one hiccup after another within my process that revealed some major gaps. The best way to make sure your pictures are locate-able at months end is to add keyword metadata to each image you plan to use for your daily image.
This eliminates having to sort and resort into folders, then track down images based on dates and trying to order them correctly, and... well you get how it could start spiraling if you just keep dumping hundreds of pictures in a generic folder per month. When you factor in that you'll probably have images from other sources than your camera, (because hey, sometimes you don't have your nice camera and you just wanna snap a moment with your phone--that's fine!!) keywording by month, date, subject, & location will be super helpful.
Stick with your methods
It's worth it to really think through your intentions for the images -
Will they be published?
How? In what format?
Will they also be printed?
How are you going to save the images?
These are important questions so that you can make sure you're formatting, exporting, and saving your images properly. Digging, sorting, saving, re-saving, and exporting 3 different ways...
...well, it will get overwhelming and make you want to quit.
Make those conscious decisions before you start and then stick with them to make your life a whole lot easier.
Publish and Print
Whether it's through a blog, a Flicker account, a Tumblr, whatever - publishing as you go will hold you accountable. Just as important, however, is the act of printing when you're all finished. I've made it pretty clear how much I love printed photos so they're not solely living in pixel-land, and these images are no different!
Get them off the screen and into your hands so that the year can be commemorated and enjoyed more often and live longer than your hard drive.
Do it for you
The purpose of a 365 Project is not to show the world how amazing your photographs are or how creative you can be on a daily basis. It's for you. It's for growth and appreciation and recognizing the beautiful world around you.
I am a professional photographer-- but some of my images are blurry, noisy hot messes! At first I was conscious about that but finally realized:
it really doesn't matter.
These pictures are about life in all its imperfection, and taking pictures daily will make you a better photographer, as it has done for me.
It will make you see things differently, take notice of details and compositions you wouldn't have otherwise discovered. Some days your images will be gorgeous, creative, authentic, or perfectly lit. Other days they will be quite obviously a haphazard snapshot from your phone of something completely random.
Leave the guilt and pressure behind and enjoy doing something for your heritage, something that will live on, something that tells a story, something that your children will admire, something that no matter the quality, you saw through every single day of one entire year.
That's pretty freaking cool.
If you're starting a Project 365 this year, let me know! I'd love to follow along! Send me a note or comment below to share your commitment!