My Project 365 is finished. One photo, each day for a year, done.
I am somewhere in the mix of proud and relieved. I’m great at starting things, but I struggle to finish them. So, this feels like an accomplishment.
A lot of people said, “How do you complete a Project 365?” Of course, the instructions are simple: take a photo every day. But, the challenge is actually doing it every day for a year. I know, because I’ve started it before and stopped just a few months in.
However, completing it this time, I came away with two big things that I think made it possible to keep this up every day:
I took my camera everywhere. It was pretty much always in my bag. In the few times that I didn’t have my camera, I used my phone. I have photos in McDonalds and Target and the doctor’s office and a whole lot from the school playground. I definitely got a few odd looks. I even had one woman who works at my kids’ school tell me that she wondered why I always had my camera with me, until she mentioned it to Lena’s teacher, who knew about my blog. There were definitely funny looks or eye rolls throughout the project as I toted my camera everywhere, but perhaps a little hidden benefit of the project is that you stop caring what people think of you after awhile. 🙂
I didn’t try to take the perfect photo every day. Most days, I just tried to be done! This sounds silly, but I think if you do something every day for a year, you’re bound to learn something, probably quite a bit of somethings. But, you’re not always going to get it perfect or get what you want. I got sick twice in my first few months of the Project 365, once with the stomach flu and once with strep. What I was able to accomplish either time wasn’t impressive, but I’m glad I kept going. I think that it would have been easy to give up on those days, but I probably would have missed dozens of photos in future day if I had given up.
Some of you might be wondering what the point of this sort of project is. For some people, it’s the act of documenting every day. That is part of it for me. But, the larger part is that I want to improve my photography skills and the best way to do that is by lots of practice. Committing to take a photo a day will naturally cause improvement.
I made two goals for myself this year.
- Practice composition, particularly in candid shots
- Focus on getting images right SOOC (straight out of camera)
Let’s talk about how I did with those goals.
Practice composition, particularly in candid shots
This is still a bit challenging for me, but I feel like I’ve made some improvements in this area in the last year. It feels like baby steps over huge strides. I think I’ve gotten a lot better about “chopping limbs”, meaning that I cut off a foot or hand when it should have been included. I still find slowing down long enough to really focus on composition to be a challenge. I’m also starting a mentorship with another photographer and this is something that we will work on.
Focus on getting images right SOOC (straight out of camera)
This is one area when I feel like I’ve improved a lot. I shoot entirely in manual mode, for the complete control over my settings. I’m spending a lot less time editing than I was a year ago, doing basic corrections. I think it’s still a bit of a challenge sometimes to change my settings fast enough if I’m chasing kids around, but I think that’s just because my kids move fast!
Here are some of my favorite photos from the past year. There are a ton and it was still hard to pick!
I love the way that these photos help me remember these moments. I also love how they remind me of what is important. Photography helps me see the beauty in moments I might have overlooked. 365 days of beautiful moments.