“YES! I did it!” was my first thought when I knew I had just taken the last photo for my photography project ‘366 Photos of 2012’. It wasn’t always fun though; it has been challenging, I struggled, and I had days without any creative idea at all, but…I did it. I know that over a period of 12 months I have been posting photos below my (probably also your) standard level…but who cares; I did it, right?! (Yes, you can take this as a ‘read between the lines excuse for bad posts’ if it makes you feel better.)
But I also had great times, as my Top 50 prove. And if you committed yourself to taking one photo per day for a whole year here are five tips you might find useful.
1. Accept that even if you are keen not to miss any day and desire to be a completist, you will struggle! I am not writing this to put anyone off. But you have to be aware that you will go through phases where taking a photo a day will sound like a scene from ‘Mission Impossible’ (for many it might just be a lack of time between work and family duties). Don’t allow yourself to fail on such a day. If you do, you would probably allow yourself to miss a second day, a third…and the next day you won’t even notice that you have forgotten to take a photo.
2. Always carry a camera with you! As soon as you leave your house, make sure you have your keys AND your camera. Most of the time it won’t matter if you decide to carry around your full SLR equipment, go for your lightweight point-and-shoot or simply trust your smartphone camera (though sometimes you might end up in a cool photo occasion where you really wish you would have taken your SLR). No matter what, make sure you are always ready to shoot.
3. Plan ahead by writing down ideas! If you stumble upon a good photo motif after you already took your photo of the day, grab a pen and a notebook and save it for later. Explain in one or a few words – or even a composition scribble – which subject you are after. This will not only spark off more ideas; you will also thank yourself on days when creativity took French leave.
4. Define new goals and themes for yourself! This will really help to get to know all available camera settings, and at the same time you might end up with some innovative photos of the day. During the past months I got into HDR photography, took quite some approaches on abstract photography and produced my first short time lapse videos for example.
5. Embrace macro, food and street photography! Not all of us are constantly travelling around, having easy times to take a photo a day. According to my experience, macro will be your best friend when stuck at home. I am sure you got plenty of stuff lying around your house, getting dusty in your cellar or rusty in your mum’s jewellery box. And even if you are not stuck at home you might simply lack some time between work and family duties. But hey, you still have your lunch break and your journey to or from work. I often presented food or simple street impressions during my project. And why not? These daily things deserve to be captured! No one has time for 365 (366) perfectly arranged and lighted photo compositions of ‘rare or remote stuff’. Trust me – no one!
Taking a photo a day can be a really wonderful and rewarding project. It will train your discipline, improve your photography skill set and make you really really REALLY proud of yourself. Good luck and happy shooting!