2012 was a great year for me and my camera. I decided on the spur of the moment on New Year’s Day to start a 365 project (or 366 project because it was a leap year). Before the project, my camera more than often lay gathering dust for days on end. Using it every day quickly became second nature, and the quality of both my shots and the memories I was capturing increased so significantly that I became a fully converted preacher of the photo-a-day project.
I received lovely and encouraging comments from friends and readers of this blog, and after a few months of my 366 project, I felt confident enough to use my former skills as a portrait photographer and have a bash at launching myself into a family photography career. I couldn’t have wished for a more successful start to Chloe Bridge Photography, I love every second of my job, and I credit my spur of the moment New Year’s Day decision to start a photo-a-day project as being the beginning of everything I’ve achieved this year.
If you are interested in reading a bit more about what’s happening in the photos, you can read back through every post I wrote about my 366 project here. At the bottom of this post I’ve written about why I won’t be continuing with a 365 project in 2013, and my top five tips for those of you that have just embarked on a photo-a-day project.
This post contains all 366 images taken for every day of 2012. If you intend to scroll through the whole lot, I recommend making a cup of tea first!
It is with mixed feelings that I have decided not to continue with my photo-a-day project in 2013. I really want to keep the habit of taking photos just for the sake of it so that I don’t lose the variety of shots and memories that I’ve taken in 2012. But I don’t want to be tied down to a 365 project this year. I want the freedom to do smaller projects, to document a series of photos taken from the same day, to not get worked up about the fact that I HAVE to take a photo even though the light is completely flat, or be reminded on a daily basis of just how shoddy my 40D’s low light handling is during winter in my dark house with rubbish window light. (I might well take up a photo-a-day project during the lighter months only, when I’m more inspired and everything looks nicer through a lens).
I also want to have more time for other blog posts. There have been times this year when I’ve really wanted to blog about something specific but I’ve been torn between that and updating my ever-behind 366 project. I am very aware that come May/June when we meet baby 2, I will lose my hands-free time and blogging will likely become sporadic – at that point in time, I don’t want the constant editing and updating of a 365 project to be competing with other blog posts I may want to write. I do want to work on photo projects to document baby 2′s first days/weeks/months of life, but these will be smaller, less restrictive projects that fit in with the amount of time I find myself with.
The likelihood is that I will still be taking a photo-a-day (that’s the easy part!), but I just won’t be categorising it as a 365 project, leaving me free to share the photos at my own pace and without getting bogged down in editing, organising and captioning a year-long project. 2013 is going to be an exciting year for our family, and I’m looking forward to many more photo adventures without some of the restrictions that I’ve found myself with last year.
My advice if you have embarked on a 365 project this year:
1. It is not ‘failing’ no matter when you finish or if you miss a few days. It’s not about having a full year of photos to show for it, it’s about the memories you capture during your time on the project.
2. Setting as few rules as possible will make it easier in the long run – you may regret that decision to only post landscape oriented shots, or to blog your photos every single day.
3. Find a filing system that works – I found it easier to name my files by date rather than 1 – 366 as there was no chance I’d get the date wrong (it’s on the metadata). I didn’t want to run the risk of accidentally naming a file 164 instead of 163, realise later and then have to go back and rename all subsequent files. I also found that grouping files into folders by month helped me keep track of all my shots.
4. Try and get in front of the lens in as many shots as you can. You will regret having a year’s worth of photos and hardly any including yourself. A family shot at least once a month is a great way to document how the whole family has changed, not just your children (shame I only decided to buy a remote for my camera in the last month of our project!).
5. Don’t panic if you fall behind with your updates. I was months behind at one point. Keep taking the photos and update in your own time.