Why Should You Stop Procrastinating and Start Your Own Project 365 Right Now?
Проект 365. Почему стоит начать прямо сейчас?
Project 365 is a popular thing among photogrophers all over the globe. The point of it is to take at least one picture a day for a whole year. After completing one, whatever was your purpose, you can assemble your days in collages by weeks and print a picture book of the year.
When I heard about the project 365 for the first time, I thought that it could be a fun way of documenting our family life, though I also felt sceptic about the whole thing and thought that I probably wouldn’t have enough patience and time to stay on track with it for a longer time. While I still wasn’t sure if I’m going to do it or not, I got an invitation to a Facebook group of people joined together for the 365, and their excitement soon enough got into me. A few days after I had already been filled with anticipation of a journey and was curious where it could lead me.
The journey has lasted only for three months for now, but I can already say that it’s much more than taking one picture a day. First of all, it’s all about practice. Every skill needs practicing, so does photography. If you want to become a better photographer, you need to practice a lot. Good photography is not only about extraordinary ideas constantly coming to your mind, it’s also about a lot of good habits. And the habits need training.
Speaking of the habits, the one that I appreciate most isn’t even directly connected to taking pictures. It’s about the nightly routine of downloading pictures from the camera. Yep, every single night. I’ll tell you why it’s good. First of all, you don’t rely on your memory card and don’t store your images there for a long time (memory cards tend to crash, you know). Secondly, it’s much easier and takes less effort to spend half an hour each day on sorting your pictures than a whole day after a month of clicking. And you don’t feel overwhelmed by post processing the good ones of your pictures and throwing away the bad ones, than when you need to dig through all of your thousands of images in one day. I also make an individual folder on my computer for each day and name it accordingly to make it easier to navigate through my pictures collection in the future (yes, I do return to my images and I print them).
I admit, I’m guilty of pointing-and-shooting with my DSLR for quite a long time. And even despite that I had learned how to shoot in full Manual mode somewhat five years ago, I didn’t have a habit to mind my settings and think of the best ones for any particular scene until the last year. This has gone so far that now when I am really inclined to do that, I still tend to forget to look at them before the shot most of the time. Here is where the practice comes to help me again.
Everyday training is also good for teaching your eye to evaluate the exposure better than your camera’s meter does. Sometimes photography is just all about catching the moment. If you can’t react fast enough, if you spend too much time while fiddling with your settings, the moment is gone. And if you just click the button without thinking if the current scene is too dark or too bright, and hope for the best, you risk to end up with an overexposed or underexposed photo, though you actually could predict this one and adjust your settings prior to making the shot.
When you intentionally shoot every day, soonner or later you’ll start feeling like you have already taken pictures of every object around you. Eventually, this will make you improvise, think outside the box. You will start searching for new viewpoints and other perspectives.
What I have learnt so far is:
– I understand much more about DoF AND background blur (these terms usually mistakenly are used somewhat interchangeable, but these are not the same thing) due to both reading and practicing.
– I started looking at zoom lenses in a totally different way (did you know that those are not made for making further objects appear closer? It’s just a sideeffect, as I see it now).
– I started to value the light in our place and understood why I should love the dark furniture in our kitchen. The experience that has already been gained in this short time says me that there is no BAD light, you just need to know how to cook it! But there can be not enough of lighting, which is a totally different thing.
– If you shoot with your camera on a daily basis and your mundane routine doesn’t change that often, it’s obvious that you will be tending to take pictures of some objects more than once. And that is good as it pushes you to work on your mistakes, so as think of other points of view.
– While it’s really important to practice every day, taking small pauses for a change to look over the world with a bare eye is also good. This will provoke you to think and build the shot in your mind and you will be able to come up with photography ideas that otherwise wouldn’t hit you, because you would simply be busy shooting.
– I also realised that I have my own style, which is quite nice.
In case you want to use the project as a tool for your growth as a photographer (not just for documenting your life), then it won’t be enough just to pick your camera daily and shoot. You should do it on purpose. Read stuff, try stuff. Make goals and achieve them. Try different themes and techniques. Try shooting in different weather and light conditions. Think of ways to be creative, though this should be really the least important thing to worry about unless you shoot techically perfect. Let your creativity make this project fun for you, not trouble. Scrutinize your gear. There is a lot to learn about the photography out there.
For anyone willing to start their own project I would highly recommend to join other photographers doing the 365. First of all, it brings much more fun to the whole thing. The group will support and encourage you, which is crucial when you feel that you stuck in a rut. It will be an endless source of inspiration and motivation for you. And you can get your work critiqued if you want to. I love the group I’m in! The commitment to post there my pictures of the day also helps me to stay on track with the project.
Now, have I convinced you to start your own project 365? You don’t have to wait until next year or even until next Monday! And if you have already started one, feel free to leave the link to your project in the comments below! I love watching other works!
In case you missed my weeks, but want to take a closer look, click on the button below and find all of the weeks gathered in one place. Go into posts to see larger pictures.