Project 365 themes

Sometimes it is hard to think up your own ideas for a 365, so here are some ideas to help you along…

  • A colour per month; red, orange, blue, white, black, purple, pink, yellow, green, grey, pink, brown
  • Landscapes; cityscapes, waterscapes

View from the ruins // 22 02 14

  • Portraits; strangers, family, friends, events. Take up a 100 strangers project.
  • Animals; pets, visit the zoo, wild animals, insects

Sunset over the Longshore Estate // 02 11 14

  • Weather; clouds, sunny days, snow, frost, wind
  • Macro / close up
  • Still life

Edamame Beans // 22 04 13

  • Seasons; winter, spring, summer, autumn. Take the same shot in the same place of the same thing at different times of the year.
  • Flowers; bouquet, in the garden, visit a botanical garden

The Daisy // 13 06 14

  • Memories; significant objects, old photos, favourite places, favourite things
  • Food; meals out, cook something
  • Shooting without editing (!)

Korean Stone Hot Pot // 336

  • Abstract; smoke, water drops, every day objects shot from different angles
  • Juxtaposition
  • Slow shutter speeds; light trails, milky water
  • Every day objects; try and spice things up by taking an every day object and trying to shoot it in a more interesting way

Fork // 21 11 14

  • Events; water sports, gigs, horse racing
  • Feelings; love, happiness, sadness
  • Different times of the day; sunrise, morning, midday, afternoon, sunset, night time

What comes next // 23 11 14

  • Shoot with only one lens
  • Shoot in full manual
  • Hobbies
  • All about you

In from the rain // 08 11 14

Top tips:

  • Research – look on Google Image Search, Flickr, Pintrest for ideas if you are stuck. Always remember to give credit back where deserved if you are taking on someone else’s image.
  • Practice. If you have an idea then it might take a couple of times to get it right, stick with it and give it a few goes. Where possible leave a few days or ideally a week between goes as it will give you time to reflect on what went wrong.
  • Try to have a theme a week. Even if you only take one shot on theme per week it’s still one image where you already have an idea to start off with. If you are feeling particularly adventurous you could try to take each image on theme, but that can make your life harder trying to stick on theme every day.
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How to survive… November

11-2014

It’s been a long road but we are almost there now 🙂 Depending on how you want to think about it, November/December are either the worst months (Short days, dark a lot, poor weather, at the end of the year when you’re out of steam and ideas) or two of the best months (you’ve gotten better at photography, CHRISTMAS. Ahem.)

Trapped // 03 11 13

Positives of November

  • Muted colours. The colours have pretty much changed and dropped off, but for the ones still hanging on you can make a pretty good statement with them against a bleak backdrop.
  • Nice light. As the sun doesn’t rise as high in the sky you can get some decently lit shots at pretty much any time of the day.
  • Easier to do dark shots. Light trails, star trails are much easier to do when it goes darker earlier. And this ties nicely in with…
  • BONFIRE NIGHT. Yeah!

Negatives of November

  • Cold, damp and dark. Basically what the title says.
  • End of the year; lack of ideas and major loss of interest. My 2011 is just WOW BAD for November. I’d managed to forget just how bad but as I was going through looking for images to put at the end of the post I was perplexed how there were none which were even half good, or even a quarter good. But I got through to the end of the year, so hey ho.
  • Loss of interest from others. By this point most people have given up, or it’s become such a burden/so not interested that they can’t be bothered to interact with other people. Will power!

The beauty in winter days // 13 11 13

How to survive… November

  • Start to introduce Christmas. Yes. Seriously. I’m not saying all the time, but you can start to drip it in. Decorations in stores, lights going up in city centres…
  • Night time shots. As mentioned above get creative with light trails and fireworks etc
  • Revisit shots from the very start of the year. November and December are pretty similar to January and February. Have a look through some of the shots you did then and try to recreate them. The chances are you are a lot better at photography by now and it will be a nice comparison.
  • Work with lights. Invest in some studio lights or flash guns and experiment with them. This will open up a whole set of doors for you and give you more things to shoot.

November 2013
The delicate nature of life // 04 11 13
November 2012
Harewood House // 01 11 12
November 2011
Sunflowers (335 // 17 11 11)

Composition and other ‘Rules’

All good rules are made to be broken, but until we master the rule and know how and when we should be breaking them… We should probably stick with them 😉
There are loads of rules, but for this post I’ll stick with the basics that can have the biggest impact to your shots.

The Rule of Thirds
The image is split into three rows and three columns. Place an object of interest (in this case the does head) along one of the crossing sections as it is these sections that the human eye is drawn to first.

15112858518_8936042f56_m copy
Doe, a deer, a female deer // 20 09 14

Avoid horizons in the middle
Following on from the rule of thirds, you should also try to place horizons along one of the top or bottom lines instead of across the middle of the image. Decide which aspect of the shot has more importance or impact and make sure it fills most of the frame. The image below has the wall on the bottom line, and the sky on the top line.
The image of the doe also follows this rule, as the grass finishes on the bottom line, and after the top line is solid darker colour.
Early morning at Surprise View // 13 09 14

Keep it straight
Always, always, always make sure that your horizon lines, buildings etc are straight.
Clumber Park // 04 08 14

Try a different angle or position
Sometimes the difference between a good shot and a great shot is simply taking a couple of steps to one side, or crouching.
Always make sure you don’t have something like a lamp post sticking out of the top of someones head, and try to analyse the shot and where it would look best from as many different positions before pressing the shutter.
I snapped this shot from so many different angles, and found this one worked best.

Bee Friends ^-^ // 02 08 14

Leading lines
Having lines in an image, if they are placed correctly, can draw your eye into the shot and make you spend longer exploring the shot as a whole. In the shot below the lines of the bridge reinforce the fact that you should be looking at the girl’s legs, but also exploring the bridge in front of her.

Left Behind // 02 07 14

Keep it simple or fill the frame
Play with ideas of minimal shots, sometimes it helps to shift your position so that there is nothing distracting in the background or if that isn’t an option get in close and fill the frame.

Wonder // 25 05 14

Look out for…
When shooting make sure you look out for the following…

Colour
Colour can have a massive impact in your work. People tend to notice reddy colours first, so if you have a image which has something red in the background it might distract from the main object in the foreground.
Blue toned images come across as being cold, whereas orange toned images come across as being warm. How someone perceives the image due to the colours included on it can influence how they respond to it.

Make yourself at home // 13 10 14

Black and white
By converting an image to monochrome you add a whole new dynamic to it. Removing the colour forces people to focus on the details, contrast and textures in the shot.

Doe on the move

Light

Light is basically the essence of photography; without it there is no photo!
Playing with shadows and light and the contrast between them can make for interesting and dynamic shots.

Sheffield in Autumn // 11 10 14

Texture

Sometimes an image can be made out of a simple texture, or a texture within another object can become an interesting focal point.

About to bloom // 01 09 14

How to survive … May

05-2015
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.

Drifting Away // 22 05 13

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!

Stationary // 08 05 13

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.

May 2014
05-2014May 2013
Staring at the sun // 26 05 13

May 2012
Dandelion // 23 05 12

May 2011
Sunset over the Fields of Sunshine (136 // 02 05 11)

May 2010
142 // 365

How to survive… April

04-2015

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.

April 2014

04-2014April 2013

April 2012

April 2011

April 2010

How to complete a Project 365

I’m Sami. I’ve taken a photo each and every day since January 1st 2011. This means I have completed 4 Project 365s one straight after the other (Assuming I don’t mess up in the next couple of days!).

No cheating, no mess ups. A photo each and every day for 4 years.

If you are thinking about starting a Project 365 then here are some tips to get you going and make sure that you keep at it.

1. Want it

Taking a photo a day is a massive commitment, even if you are planning on doing it on your phone or tablet. It is inevitable that you will run out of time, or be ill, or almost forget at some point. One big thing that I think people don’t think about is why are you doing it? To improve your photography skills? To have a photographic record of one year of your life?
If you don’t really know why you are doing it then the chances are you wont complete it because something else will come up, or you will just get fed up of it.

I started my Project 365 because I wanted to learn how to use my SLR to take ‘proper’ photos.
Sheffield City Hall // 17 12 13

2. Have support

Even if they are not taking part in the project, friends or family who can take an interest and keep you on track is a fantastic idea. Even better is finding people online who you can share your photos with and build up a Project 365 friendship with. You can keep each other on track with motivation and kind words for the off days (weeks, months….).
If you write a small comment about what the picture is about then it helps people to maintain an interest in what you are shooting.

I used Flickr exclusively for a couple of years, and last year I started to put my best shots on Facebook for family to look at too. Each year on Flickr I’ve made new 365 friends and they are brill! 🙂

Autumnal glory // 03 11 14

3. Start early and keep it regular

Take a ’emergency’ shot first thing in the morning; build it into your morning routine. It can be of anything; toothpaste, toothbrush, the floor…. Once you have a shot in the bag it takes some of the pressure off (and yes you will feel the pressure if you are serious about completing it!) as all you have to do is take a better shot!
If you have a model or a toy or something keep it near your bed – worst case scenario is you end up with more shots than you should of that.
Maintain posting regularly. If you end up with a backlog of images to edit and post then you will keep putting it off!

I have a Danbo and a Domo for such occasions, as well as a box of odd bits which I can use when I can’t think of anything else. The biggest backlog I ever amassed was in 2011,  where I have November and December to sort out during the Christmas holidays!
Sunset // 23 10 13

4. Set an alarm

Chances are you don’t go anywhere without your phone. Which has an alarm function on it.
It might take you months, or even most of the year, to build taking a photo every day into your routine so why not set a musical reminder to keep you on track.

I had my alarm for 730 at night. That way there was still enough time to shoot something and relax before bed.
The Lighthouse // 24 08 13

5. Set goals

Even if it’s nothing more than to take a self portrait once a week. They don’t have to be elaborate, but if you set yourself small manageable goals which you can work towards then it gives you a sense of purpose. These will be especially useful when you’ve got a couple of months under your belt and you start to question why you thought this would be a good idea.

I had a goal for the year, and then I had a weekly theme. I had to take at least one photo per week on theme.
Having a theme also served as a good back up plan for when I couldn’t think of anything to snap.
The Poisoned Apple // 05 08 13

6. Don’t be too hard on yourself

You will have off days. Hell you might have whole months which are off, but you have a life (presumably) and taking a top notch photo every single day is just not going to happen. Accept that you will take lots of duds.

In 2011 the months October – December are just bad. Out of focus close ups of wool is a shot that specifically springs to mind.
Abandonment // 27 09 13

7. Keep a note

Of ideas, locations, people who don’t mind being snapped…. It will come in useful at some point so jot everything down and keep it on you. If you have a notes app on your phone then that would be a great place to keep it.

I’m a paper kind of girl so I have a note book.
When a book comes to life // 14 07 13

8. Carry a camera

There are tonnes of apps out there for image processing, so it doesn’t have to be an actual camera – the one on your phone will do. Just make sure that you always have something with you. After all the best camera is the one you have on you. Don’t miss out on a shot by not having something to snap it with.

I take my SLR most places with me, but I without fail always have my phone on me.
Out of Reach // 01 06 13

9. Keep a look out

Start to look at objects and locations in a different way. There are a lot of months in the year where it will be dark when you go to work and dark when you get home. There will be lots of things to photograph in your house, or at work which you wont notice because you look at them every day.

I have a fondness for buying cheap objects from the supermarket to snap.
Afternoon Tea // 11 04 13

10. Keep going

If you are ill you will want to give up.
If you are busy you will want to give up.
When it’s December and you are fed up of it being dark all the time and you having to come up with indoor shots you will want to give up.

Don’t give up. Use your support network and keep at it. This is a massive commitment, but it is so worth it.
Keep at it! A rubbish shot is better than no shot at all.

I gave up in 2010 and I regretted it. I started again on Dec 18th 2010 because I was so determined that I would complete it in 2011.

Winter Berries // 28 12 13

11. Be creative

It’s easy to fall into the trap of just taking a photo for the sake of taking a photo so that you complete the project. Doing this some of the time is fine (and unavoidable) but if you don’t keep pushing yourself then you will become bored with the project. Try new styles, photograph new things, try photographing  with just one lens for a whole week, heck go for a month! Trying new things is key to stopping this project going stale. See this page for some suggestions on things to shoot if you are stuck. Even if it doesn’t work out you can say you’ve tried something new… Even if you never try it again 😉

I have a list of things I want to try out. I usually come up with the list towards the start of the year and then add to it as I come up with new ideas. 

Little Jellyfish // 16 12 14

Because I am mad I’m going again in 2015, so feel free to follow me on here or any of the other social places… Flickr, Facebook.
Got your own tips? Add them below! 🙂

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