project 365

By in cheap shots, featured, podcast on January 2, 2011
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if you are looking for a project to start with the new year look no further, this is it. the idea is to take one photo every day. easy you say! sure, we all take more photos now that we have some kind of camera with us. but when this kind of project started it was a little different and certainly not as easy. you took a camera of some kind, loaded a roll of film that you liked and over the next 24 or 36 days you’d take exactly one photo every day. of course you didn’t see what the photos looked like until the end of the roll after you got them back from the developer. this made it more special. you know, that anticipation of “how’s it going to come out!?”

the good news is that doing a 12, 24, 36, 52 or 365 project is much easier today because of technology. there’s a nifty iPhone app called 365. there is a facebook tool to help you manage. you can use flickr with the tag 365. and there’s a web tool called 365 project. there’s lots here. you don’t have to use any of it if you don’t want to share.

your daily photo session has some rules. the first is simple. take 1 picture every day for the express purpose of the project. no multi shots. it must be one shot. if you want to simulate doing it with a film camera then no post processing. but we’re okay with some touching: color correction, balance, cropping and vignetting. but no heavy lifting like using Photoshop unless the photo is a panorama or one of those multiple snaps to remove all the people, or a photo college of a place that you shot specifically for the day. the final rule is simple: no time travel. if you miss a day you miss a day. it’s up to you if you want to fill it in with another picture. but don’t make a habit of it.

what you get out of doing a 365? the best gift you will receive is something called “photo reflex” which is being able to see pictures before you take them. it’s what every photo journalist develops and it’s why their pictures look like they do. some of it is luck but most of it is about seeing.

you will want to share you photos along the way meaning you’ll obtain mad posting skillz. by the end of the year putting a photo on the web will be very simple for you. in fact you might scrap one system for another several times before the year is out just because a process annoys you.

a 365 project can end up being your very own coffee table book. every photo service offers books. some will even “automatically lay them out”. just select you photo album, choose book, and it’s ready to upload for purchase.

anytime you accomplish a year long project is cause for celebration. have a party and show you images on the big screen. if you show one picture every minute your party will need to be just about 6 hours long.

but the best thing about a 365 is the shooting experience. you will definitely approach pictures and picture taking differently by the end.

if you don’t know if you’d like to commit to a year long endeavor try shooting for 30 days first. you’ll know right away if you up to the task of every day. and if you don’t get into it after a month you won’t feel like a big knob for jumping off the project 4 months in.

rules
0) start any time. you don’t need to wait for Jan 1.
1) you need a camera with you all the time

  • iPhone is fine. blackberry is fine. crap cam is fine.
  • it’s okay to use different cameras for your project.

2) shoot something every day.

  • make a recurring alarm
  • set a time aside
  • or just watch for that photo

3) doesn’t have to be something special

  • moments happen so be ready to capture them

4) use your tech

  • flickr, blog, Mobile Me, print it!
  • iPhoto and Picasca have albums

5) don’t flake
6) the photo doesn’t have to be great. and it doesn’t have to be a photo shot for the purpose of the project if you want to be flexible.
7) one picture every day goes in to a pool that you can look back on a year later
8 ) no multi shots (unless it is a pano or a collage)
9) no post processing vs

  • okay, post processing is okay. color correction, balance, cropping and vignetting

10) no time travel!