Ten Tips for a 365 Photo Project (and photo 87)
If you know anything about Deonne, you know that she's adventurous and living a dream - a dream of being on the road and living life defined by her ownself. She is full of admirable stuff, including great photography.
She asked me about tips for a 365 project and I jumped on this in order to better understand what it is that I am doing here. Some of these tips undermine the whole purpose of a 365 project, but for me, the purpose is to develop a photography practice. So I do it my way.
1. Make your own rules but don't be shy about breaking them. This is my second attempt at a 365 project, the last one was overwhelmed by the birth of my daughter. It was three years ago. Since then there has a surge of people attempting similar projects, some are themed, some are shared on flickr. I've stayed away from these mostly because I just jumped right in without thinking it through, but also because I wanted to make my own rules, something that fit into my schedule. For example, if you post to flickr groups, you reveal when it is that you have taken the photo. You cannot hide the fact that the photo may not have been taken on that given day.
My rule is to post at least one photo per day (yes, I've broken this rule, too!), even if that photo was taken the day before or the day before that. I need to do this because so many unexpected factors foil my attempts to take one photo a day. Take today for example, Lotus Bud and I had a great time at the park and actually did a photo shoot for another blog. I came home to find none of my photos turned out! Major bummer! I need to get a new, but older version of a memory card so that this doesn't keep happening to me and my old camera.
2. Try a theme but don't get too wrapped up in it. I've seen great projects where the idea is to take a photo of a child once a week. Or to do only self-portraits. Also there are many 365 photo prompts to be found online. This is definitely fun, but don't let it bog you down. If you do this, limit how many you do in a week, so as to minimize frustration with the results and the project. Or better yet, pick your own 4-5 themes and pursue them in any given week and throughout the year. I'm gonna do that as soon as I can think of some good themes.
3. Think about ways to record your day. I loved Cesar Kuriyama's one second a day project because it records something he did every day for a year. His goal is to do 5 years of video clips. I love this! It compels me to find fun and interesting things to do with the Bud but also for myself.
4. Having a stellar photo day? Don't be afraid to post them several days in a row. This tip goes back to the first one where I make the rules. Some of my days are full of great images, others are grey and dull. While I don't shy from posting dull photos, I do want the space to record several great moments from one day.
5. Keep trying, again and again. The biggest example here are my food photos. I've had some pretty wonderful ones and some pretty awful ones. Some of the awful ones I posted anyway because the food was just that good. I'm one of those people who has the kind of luck to get something done brilliantly with just one attempt. But then I go back to do it again and pretty much fail miserably every time. I'm surrounded by really great food so I'm going to keep taking photos of really great food.
See plate of scallops above. Photo taken Tuesday night. Posted today, Thursday. I devoured this plate of food and I really enjoyed my evening out with a woman who've I've admired for a while now. I want to remember all of that night, hence the photo here on my blog days after the photo was actually taken.
6. If you following along on a group project, don't be daunted by any particular theme. Interpret the theme in a way that works for you. I see Kat doing this all the time.
7. If you miss a few days, just take a moment to catch up. Post some photos, any photos, then forget about it and move forward.
8. Elevate the ordinary. Deonne, I love seeing the photos of your trips, but I also would love to see photos of Sadie's insides - her private parts. Elevated ordinary photos of mine: here, here, and here.
9. Simplify the process. Carry camera at all times (mostly I carry, but sometimes I don't pull it out). Lately, I've begun using Dave's camera phone - he always has his phone. Now that I know my camera better, I do less post-processing stuff. SOOC is the way of the road for me these days. I need fast and quick ways to get the photos from my camera to my blog.
10. Print some of the photos! Printing photos has changed this project for me on a grand scale. I paste them into my journal (that I also use for meeting notes) and am constantly reminded of fun accomplishments in terms of the photography and the types of recorded activities. I used to only re-view these photos once a year for our holiday gift album and I only wanted photos printed on matte paper from some reputable online source. Now I log onto the local bulls-eye store and send photos for printing on cheap glossy paper, then pick them up when I shop or when I am running errands.
A lot of these tips overlap and refer back to the very first one - Make Your Own Rules. I'm proud of myself for getting this far, nearly four months into the year. Now that I've made it through the winter, I imagine photography getting even more fun with the warmer weather.
I think there are two ways for people to approach a 365 project. The first is to engage in a creative community, support and cheer each other, be a part of the collective goodness. The second is to develop a photography practice. The two reasons don't exclude each other, but I do see a difference in them. True that I don't get as many viewing nor commenting on my photos and this can be a bummer at times especially when I'm feel low and uninspired. But when it comes down to it, I am doing this for myself and going back every month to look at the photos makes me feel happy about myself.
Which brings me to what I think is the best thing about a 365 photo project...you have 365 eff-ing days to try and get it "right." It is a chance to try again and again. No two images are going to be the same just like no two days are ever the same.
Somewhere in there, I'm sure, I will find my style, my voice, my art.