What the 365 Photo Project Taught Me

A few years ago, I started hearing about the 365 photo project on twitter. I googled it to find out it was a simple project with the challenge of taking one photo every day for a year. The people who had completed the project the year before talked about how much it taught them about taking pictures.

I thought joining the project would be a great way for me to tell the story of a year in the life of this educator and mother of 4 with a crazy, hectic life. I also thought it would help me stay disciplined about taking regular photographs instead of binging on holidays, so I dove in and gave it a try. I did pretty well for about half of the year and then I let circumstances in life get in the way for a few weeks and I found it too hard to catch up. I should have just picked up from there, but I gave up in frustration.

Here is what I learned during that time:
* Always keep your camera with you at all times. Everywhere. No excuses. (You never know when that perfect moment will happen.)
* Get that "film" frame of mind out of your head and don't be afraid to take tons of pictures. You can delete all you want later.
* Take a picture, then change your angle or position on the same subject to take the next picture.
* Find a close up shot to try out on the big picture you are taking.
* Looking at other people's photos on flickr will teach you about how to take better pictures yourself.
* It's ok to take the posed shots, but look for the image with the story (the surprised at having your name called for an award instead of posing holding the award).

Here are the results of my 200 + photos in my first attempt at a 365 set:

Even though I gave up on the project a little over mid-way through, I didn't give up on photography. I continued to follow my flickr contacts. learning from them by what they were doing. I purchased my first DSLR camera, a Nikon D60....which I have since sold and traded up to a D5000. I began to get brave enough to ask other educators questions about photography. Thanks to Ben and Ken I started turning off the "auto" setting and began learning about shutter speed and aperture. Photography is definitely a passion now.

Everyone doesn't have the same experience with this project. But the one thing I notice throughout other group members photos is that they learn to look for the image that tells the story. It doesn't have to be a fancy camera to capture it. Many group members use their iphone camera to take their photos. But if you watch their images over time, they change from staged photos to photos of moments in time. The photos that catch everyone's eye. The photos that tell a story. Aren't we all suckers for a good story?

My friend Dean tells his story well. He put his 365 photos together in video form. Even though I have never met his family, or been with him at his job or house, I feel like I really have peeked into what 2009 was like for him. Grab a soda and snack, click here and be inspired.

Join me on this 365/2010 journey!


Lori Feldman said...

I, like you, was not perfect in posting every day. But, I am going to continue. I laugh when friends and family tell me I haven't posted in a while! Keep up the good work. I have truly enjoyed meeting you through your pictures!

K. Shelton said...

I intend to share this posting with many of my friends that are not sure if they want to do a 365. I also encourage them to consider a photo a week 52/2010 in they feel daily is too difficult. I will be doing both and the weekly will be my best photo for the week. Thanks for sharing and look forward to viewing more of your great photos this year!!

365_dianabog said...

I just completed my first year of 365 photos a day and one of the groups I am in is....

I am interested in the twitter group--not figured it all out yet. (@dianabog)

I debated on weather to continue in 2010, why stop now! This year, I started a blog to journal my photo adventure. 365dianabog.blogspot.com/

I hope to continue to grow, best wishes to you on your photo journey.

Loved looking through your year in pictures. It really does capture all of the multiplicity of your life. I'm glad you're going to continue for another year!

Lisa Thumann said...

Thanks for sharing Melanie. This year, I'm going for it too.