Project 365: one photo a day for a whole year.
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 a whole new way.
It is so incredible to look back over that whole year now, through the seasons, the highlights, the grief, the moves, the holidays, even the mundane daily chores and tasks that seemed so incredibly unpicturesque in the moment - something about revisiting those moments down the road breed such appreciation and gratefulness.
Now for some honesty: The photos aren't great, and it was a a real bear to put together.
But still, there's something so awesome about the book of that year I can now hold in my hands. So I want to offer up some tips for you to make the process more enjoyable and the product completely cherished.
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 (trust me, that's my story).
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 a lot of my images in that year long journey are blurry, noisy hot messes (especially because I was still doing a lot of learning at that stage, and the project was a strategy to help me improve... which it did.)
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 that will live on, tell a story, and something that no matter the quality, you saw through for every single day of one entire year.
That's pretty freaking cool.
If you plan to start a Project 365 this year, let me know! I'd love to cheer you on and see your story! Send me a note or comment below to share your commitment!