365 Project - KISS

I mentioned in my Be a Better Photographer Tip #53 [Project 365 & Gimmicks] that I was considering starting a 365 project again (results of my last attempt a few years ago).  Well the first 8 days of 2013 were easy, traveling through beautiful Costa Rica and Panama there was something new and exciting to photograph every day.Cosa Rica SunriseNow and I am back home and although Southern Vermont blanketed by snow is no less photogenic it is a struggle to see past what is to my eyes "ordinary" AND to find the time.  Mostly to find the time.     Here is my plan with an emphasis on keeping it simple(KISS) and not giving up the whole thing if I miss a day. . or two.

  1. Take a photo each day - My goal will be to use my DLSR 98% of the time but if I have taken a cell phone photo that I am particularly proud of that can work too.
  2. Review the photos with some regularity. The back of the camera is not a substitute for seeing the photo on a big screen and inspecting the photo along with the metadata - seeing your settings side by side with the image is a great way to understand the relationship of exposure, depth of field, movement blur etc.
  3. Upload these photos with some regularity - probably to a Facebook album, maybe to Blip and anywhere else I feel like sharing.
  4. Provide a few additional challenges, themes or ideas to keep it fresh- This might seem to fly in the face of keeping it simple but you do run the risk of hitting a mental road block and giving up for lack of creativity.  Sites like http://projectlife365.com provide ideas/challenges for each day, helping to keep the brain juices flowing.  Plus it is really fun to meet a challenge and then review how others approached or interpreted the same challenge.

#365Project - 1/10/13 I will be back with some more ideas soon - in the meantime pick that camera up an snap a photo, then do it again tomorrow and the day after.  You certainly aren't going to improve your photography by putting it off.  And don't hesitate to give me a shout and ask how I am doing with the challenge.  

Be a Better Photographer Tip #53 [Project 365 & Gimmicks]

Confession - I totally made up the tip number!Now that we have that out of the way let me share a startling tip - to be a better photographer you need to practice. And by practice I mean take pictures, lots of pictures, shocking, I know. Now if you aren't shooting for a living, it can be easy to let days, even weeks go by, where you barely pick up the camera. Not to mention your subjects(kids, pets, better half) can get a bit tired of a camera in their face all the time. I have two suggestions for you and they can be combined for a good bit of fun and learning. The first suggestion is to start a 365 project, the goal being to take a photo a day for a year. This is challenging on many levels and to be honest I have never made it a full year despite starting a few times.  There are few better ways to grow as a photographer and increase your skill than carrying your camera with you everywhere and always looking for your photo of the day. And you will, always be looking for that new photo or even better you will be making a photo and it doesn't matter if it is at 8 in the morning or 11:58pm. Every single day you will be learning and thinking about photography. If that sounds a bit exhausting it certainly can be, but just like you need to work your muscles to exhaustion to see physical improvement you need to work your brain to see improvement. Three years after my last failed attempt I am still intensely proud of some of the photos I made, not necessarily because each image is perfect, it may be the fun I had creating the image, the conditions I was forced to shoot in or the new places I discovered around the corner from my house.A few photos from my 365 projectWorried about finding subject matter for a photo a day?  This brings up my second suggestion - Create a gimmick.   Last year I was in a craft store and saw a package of googly eyes and my eyes on stuff photo series began and now I not only get to create a photo but I often try to create more of a story.  A good photo usually tells a story and suddenly I am the photographer AND the director of each of these little mini-shoots. Now I hope I don't sound crazy. I am not going too deep down the rabbit hole, but with some of the photos I decide which way my subject should look, what is in the frame and all of the elements that tell the desired story.  These subjects never get bored or wander off giving me the time I need to work on my photo.    So grab some googly eyes or a lego mini figure or whatever you have laying around.Start taking and making photos and telling stories.Two fungi walk into a bar   I just talked myself into starting a new 365 - The new year is right around the corner and that seems as good a time to start as any - Who wants in?