That’s it! 31 more days and then there’s a full year in the bag 🙂
Positives of December
- The possibility of snow. And with that comes a snow day 😉
- Christmas! Lights, presents, people – there is a lot to keep you occupied in the run up to Christmas
- Sunrise and sunset. Again more achievable given the times they are at (although see negatives)
- Frost and mist. mmmmm ❤ my favourites
- It’s dark. Thus it is easier to do night time photography!
Negatives of December
- Sunrise and sunset. Now they happen so late / early that the chances are you will be on your way to work when the sun comes up, and not leave until after it’s gone down! Bummer
- It’s cold. Brrrrr, means you have to wrap up warm if you want to venture out
- It’s a bit more wet. So probably pack a brolly too
How to Survive… December
- Embrace the night. Car trails, star trails… All a lot easier when it’s dark by 430!
- Don’t be afraid of adverse conditions. Prepare for the bad weather but get out in it. Remember that camera batters don’t last as long in the cold so pack a spare. It’s also a good idea to take a towel with you (just a small one!), just in case. Besides there is nothing like a drastic change in weather to spice up a landscape that you’ve shot 49304230 times this year 😉
- Embrace the festivity. Even if you are Scruge, get out there and shoot the run up to Christmas. Christmas markets, decorations, embrace them! They will save your December if you’ve run out of ideas.
- Bokeh. Bokeh is out of focus light, and given that there will be fairy lights pretty much every where, embrace the technique and come up with some interesting results.
After being mad at myself for giving up, I technically started taking a photo every day from the 18th December 2010…
244 // 365
New month, new school year.
Back to work after 6 weeks off. I know I can’t grumble! 🙂
May is month five, meaning you are pretty much half way there! Hurray!
By now you should have hopefully gotten into the habit of taking a photo each day.
Positives of May
- Good weather – the weather is better, and somewhat more consistent. Use it to your advantage and go shooting outside.
- It’s brighter – even if it’s not swealteringly hot, it’s brighter for longer. Meaning it’s less hassle to shoot, even inside. Natural light is your friend.
Negatives of May
- Project 365 routine takes it’s toll – taking a photo every day, and the responsibilities which come with it can get a bit …boring.
- Other people will have lost interest – it really does become a battle with your own will power at this point. “Oh your still taking a photo every day” becomes peoples response rather than a genuine interest in it. The novelty has worn off for them too!
How to survive …May
- Mix up your routine – work taking a photo into your routine. Go out at lunch or break. Get up early to go out before work. Try to mix it up simply by taking a photo at a different point of the day.
- Get quicker – people get fed up of waiting for the photographer. Challenge yourself to get quicker at shooting so people don’t get bored of waiting. I remember once going for a walk with my parents. I told them I’d be 5 minutes and I’d catch up with them. Luckily for me they decided to wait. Turns out I was 30 minutes and I’d not even realised I was so long!
- Revisit old shots – look at shots from the start of the year. Look at shots from before this year. Revisit them and rework them in some way. Don’t try to take the exact same shot again, but change it up.
- Rope friends and family in for a portrait – practice a technique and spend quality time with a loved one. Win win. Plus natural lighting makes this so much easier to set up (no fiddling with lights)
- Document the fun – chances are you will be out of the house more, with people, and you might even be having fun. Maybe you’ve had a few beers at a BBQ. Document it. It will be a fond memory to look back on.
I love April, there is an optimism of things to come which I associate with April. The weather might not be super hot, and it might rain a lot, but by jove you know that summer is on it’s way.
Positives of April
- Easter. OK so some years Easter is in March, but a lot of the time it is in April. Get creative with everything Easter related; bunny rabbits, chicks, eggs, chocolate…
- Flowers. Get snapping, they should have popped up all over the place. Blossom, if it didn’t start to come out in March should be on the trees too now.
- Landscapes. Now the weather is more interesting the landscape is starting to come to life. Team this with longer days and better weather and there is no excuse to not get out there.
- It’s lighter and the weather is better. Hurray! Mix it up by actually going outside to take photos 😛
Negatives of April
- Loss of enthusiasm. I as touched on last month, March, April and May are the months people are most likely to give up with the project on. There isn’t an easy way to keep the motivation up if you are losing it and will power is a massive player.
- With better weather comes new responsibilities. Cutting the grass, going out to socialise, holidays etc etc. As the days get brighter and longer people normally become more active, so squeezing time to snap, edit and post can be difficult. Even the thought of having to take your camera with you on a social walk/outing can seem like a bad idea (Friends or family members get bored waiting for you to set up the shot, carrying heavy camera equipment around can become a bore)
How to survive… April
- Get outside. Even if you don’t feel like it try to make yourself go outside once or twice a week, even if you only get as far as the garden. You’ll be surprised what a difference it can make just making yourself do (and photograph) something different.
- Get creative. Whilst you’re outside try to think about thing in a different way. Maybe go on a photo walk with a lens you don’t normally use and only take that lens with you. Have a theme; colours, buildings, portraits etc – why not get a family member or friend to decide the theme for you. This way your being pushed by an idea you didn’t come up with, and have to think a bit more about how you will meet it. There are loads of ideas about themes here if you need something to get you started.
- Use your compact or phone. If you’re going out but don’t want to lug all your equipment around with you then go minimal. Most smart phones have decent cameras on them now. It is better to snap on a phone than not snap at all.
- Will power. Don’t be afraid of posting up bad shots, it’s still a shot, better ones will come. Keep at it! This is where those relationships will be worth their weight in gold 🙂
- Try something new at least once a week. There are more opportunities for experimentation when the weather gets better. Stopping in to try something new becomes a choice rather than something you had to do. Digital Photography School offers some creative ideas for each month.
081 // 365
Isn’t it funny when we are our own worst enemy?
I rarely think any of my photos are ‘good’ and I’m constantly striving to get better, learn something new; ‘if I can just learn this…’ ‘if I can just go here…’
However negative this can be on your own sense of self worth, at the same time it is also a driving force to improve oneself – if ‘perfection’ can never be reached then we do not become complacent and we are constantly pushing ourselves and challenging ourselves in the vain hope that we better ourselves.
If I look at my photos now, and think back 4 years, I would never have imagined then that I would be like this now. I have come so far and learnt so much; but I still am not where I want to be.
If I am putting aside my own weird issues, 4 year ago me would probably have been pretty stoked with, well, most of the shots I am taking now. I look back on those shots with a fondness, a way of showing myself how far I have come.
I will never be as good as I want to be. I will probably never think my photos are ‘great’ or ‘amazing’ but I will constantly develop and learn and progress.
Here’s to constantly wanting to better yourself, constantly pushing yourself and learning new things!
Aaah February, despite being 28 I still have to think about it before I manage to spell it correctly.
I’m going to assume that if you are reading this then you completed January, so well done you! No really. 31 days of straight photographing is a big achievement… Just 11 more months like that one to go 😉
Positives of February
- It’s a short month. It will be over before you know it!
- It’s getting lighter. It’s not exactly summer but it’s a lot better than December.
- There is a ‘holiday’. Love it or loath it (I hate it) there is Valentine’s Day to break up the month. Regardless of your opinion of it it will be everywhere so try to use it to your advantage, whatever your take on it is
Negatives of February
- It’s still dark. Yes it’s getting lighter, but it isn’t properly light.
- The weather. Will probably still be dodgy. And cold.
- December seems like an awfully long way away. And it is. The optimism and enthusiasm of January will probably start to wear off throughout Feb (if they didn’t start to wear off in January!), so you’re going to be needing those goals to focus on and drive you forward.
How to Survive February
- Maintain those relationships. This is where the novelty of the project starts to wear off and will power comes into play. It might not happen to you, but the chances are it’s happening to one of your fellow 365ers so make sure to keep up the comments, it might mean the difference between someone giving up and carrying on. You might need the same positive feedback later in the year.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Try to mix up what you are shooting a bit. Routines are good (very good in fact for helping you complete the year) but they can also make it easy for you to not experiment and the whole project get a bit stale. Try to shoot something which is not in your style, or shoot something which you wouldn’t normally. There are loads of different styles of photography out there, pick one and go for it.
- Have a theme. A theme per week, or for the whole month. Keep it easy, or make it hard. Having a theme will make you start to think more about what you are going to shoot. You don’t have to shoot on theme every day, but it will get your creative juices flowing trying to meet the theme at least once a week.
- Come up with a list. One list. Many lists… Things you want to shoot outside, places you want to visit, styles or techniques you want to try. Doing this will help you to look forward to the months when the weather is better, and thus you are more likely to see the darker months through to the end to get to the ‘better’ ones.
- It’s not a competition. I have seen people start to get a bit … bitter … about other people’s shots as the project progresses. Other peoples work will be different/better/worse than yours, but it’s not about that. This is a personal project. It is time consuming and you have a life. If you want to take better shots then dedicate more time to it. If you take a photo each day then you have ‘won’, let’s not put others down in the process, we’re all working to the same goal. It might make you feel better to leave a sarcastic or negative comment on someone else’s shot, but just think about how you would feel if the boot were on the other foot. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all! (Unless of course it’s constructive and they are OK with that, but that is a totally different ball park)
Sometimes silence says a lot more than words. We spend too much time talking and listening to each other, or music, that sometimes I think we forget to appreciate just how precious silence can be.
If people talk too much it drives me mad. I like my own space, my own company, and my own silence.
January is a good month; you’re motivated, you want to succeed, taking an image a day is going to be so easy!
You can totally get through to the end of the year, this is a total breeze!
Welcome to January.
As I posted in my ‘How to succeed at a Project 365’ post (here), it’s a good idea to have some targets and get yourself into a routine. Routines, in my experience, are a lot easier if you start out as you mean to go on. It becomes second nature from word go. Trying to get into a routine after is a lot harder.
So let’s start out properly!
Positives of January
- You’re motivated. The whole photo a day idea is fresh and you want to succeed. It’s a novelty.
- You’re relaxed. Most people will have just had a big holiday and had time with family. Usually there isn’t that much going on in January so there is plenty of time to grab those shots.
Negatives of January
- It’s dark. Dark when you get up, dark when you get back in from work. It can be hard to think up shots, especially if you’re not used to snapping things in and around the house
- The weather can be a bit hit and miss. This depends on where you live. I live in the UK and our weather is all over the place.
How to Survive January
- Join fellow 365ers and build up a support network. January is the best time to do this as everyone is eager and in good spirits about the whole thing. I would advise that you choose a few people to interact with regularly rather than trying to keep up with loads. As the year goes on it will seem like a chore at times (It really will, even with all the best intentions!), but it is more than worth it overall.
- Get into good habits/routines. Take a ‘insurance’ shot early in the morning. Set an alarm in the evening to remind you to snap a better one.
- Train your mind to take ‘mental’ shots of seemingly ordinary things. There are lots of different things you can shoot all around you, you are just so used to seeing them that you don’t even register them any more. I’m not suggesting shooting all of these things in January (you will need them later in the year!) but starting to think about ‘normal’ objects from a photography perspective is a good habit to get into.
- Keep a record of your year. Depending on what your goals of the year are, it’s a good idea for some of your shots to remind you of events which happened throughout the year. Even if it’s not the best photo in the world if it has sentiment then it’s a good shot for you so don’t get rid of it, keep it and use it!
- Go out. Chances are you wont see much light in January, so make the most of it when you can. Go out on your lunch break, go out for a walk at the weekend, snap what you see.
- Make sure you start working towards your goal. Baby steps in the right direction mean that you are more likely to meet your goal in the long run. Read blogs or books and experiment.
- Don’t fall into the trap of buying stuff. The first year I did a P365 I did it with a compact camera (admittedly I didn’t complete it, but I got as far as October and gave up because I deleted lots of pictures without having a record of them on the computer…), the second year I did it I did the entire year with a beginners SLR and the kit lenses which came with it. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you will put more effort in if you ‘just buy that lens’. You shouldn’t need to think like this. A project 365 is an achievement not an investment.
- Don’t go overboard. This is a year long project. I would recommend that you go out of your way to photograph unusual stuff in the first month, then when the boredom sets in (which it more than likely will at some point!) or when you are ill you have some more mundane back up things to shoot around the house later in the year.
Want to share your previous Project 365 January shots or tips? Feel free to add them in the comments below.
Best of luck to everyone starting out (or carrying on) with a Project 365 in 2014 🙂
Feel free to add me on Flickr or Facebook as a starting point to building up your own support network!