Photo Contest Insider Blog


365 Day Photography Projects: Ideas, Advice, and Our Favorite Series So Far

March 16, 2017

You’ve probably stumbled upon other photographers pursuing a 356 day photography project and may have even considered partaking in one yourself. Common questions are often raised though: what should I photograph and how do I even start?

Thankfully, today we’re going to delve into everything 365 day photography project related, including inspiring ideas, actionable advice, and our favorite photo series so far. Let’s get started!

What is a 365 day photo project?

Firstly, it’s important to shed some further light on what a 365 day photography project actually is. As the name suggests, it is a project which sees you capturing at least one photograph a day for a year. That’s not all though, as these projects often involve a particular theme (for example, a landscape photo a day, a portrait a day, etc.) and are usually shared as a way for others to keep you accountable. Many photographers will announce their 365 day photography project via their social media before continuing to upload each image every day to their following.

The benefits of pursuing a 365 day photography project

There are multiple advantages to completing your own 365 day photo challenge. First and foremost, it gives you an outlet which enables you to improve your photography skills by setting aside a small amount of time each and every day to practice. Many photographers state that they are so surprised to look back at their Day 1 photo and realize just how far they’ve come. As they say, practice makes perfect, and daily practice is certainly the most effective!

Completing a long-term project such as this also allows you to boost your creativity as each day you look for additional ways to add to your series. It gets you thinking outside of the square and also opens your mind up to the endless possibilities involved.

As well as this, you’ll also find that you become better-acquainted with your camera and gear as each day passes due to using it on such a regular basis.

Finally, a 365 day photography project is one of the most effective ways to grow your portfolio – after just one year you will have already added an additional 365 photos to it! While it’s true that you should only showcase your highest quality and most impressive images, there’s certainly no harm in featuring your entire 365 photo challenge on a separate page on your website, or even in its own folder in your Facebook page’s photos. It’s a wonderful example of your determination, and most importantly, your commitment.

Remember, you can start at any time

Some photographers may think that in order to begin a year-long photography project, you must start on January 1st. You’ll be relieved to know that this isn’t true – in fact, you can start your 365 day photography challenge at any time throughout the year (promise!). As long as you work on it for 365 days in a row, then it’s still something you’ve undertaken for a whole year.

Choosing a topic or theme

In terms of where and how to begin your 365 day photography project, this is it! Before you begin taking photos, you’ll want to brainstorm a topic or theme for your series. Are you a fashion photographer wishing to improve your portraiture skills, or are you a travel photographer intent on capturing a beautiful landscape each and every day for a year? These are just two examples, but we’ve provided a list of more ideas below:

  • Photos which contain a particular color scheme i.e. only pink objects or locations
  • Photos of your pet, child, or partner
  • A series of self-portraits
  • Photos of the exact same landscape every day in order to show it changing with the seasons and weather patterns
  • An object a day – these objects might be tied to a specific theme or you could capture the same object in differing locations
  • Photos of a different flower each day
  • A Polaroid photograph each day – they might not have a particular visual theme, other than the method of photography that you’re using

Become accountable

Another great idea – and one that is a ‘must’, really – is to announce your 365 day photo project via your photography-related social media platforms. Share your big news via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc. and all of a sudden, you’ve made yourself accountable to complete it. Your fans and followers will want to cheer you on, encourage you, and see your daily contribution to this project, so be sure to include them on your journey!

Keeping motivated with a moodboard

One of the biggest challenges to any 365 day photography challenge is keeping up the energy and motivation to complete it. Once you miss one day, it can all go downhill from there, so here’s some advice to prevent this from happening.

Firstly, create a visual moodboard filled with inspiration for your own photo challenge. For example, if you’re pursuing a landscape photo a day, why not look for intriguing and beautiful photos of landscapes which will provide you with motivation and even ideas?

One of the best (and easiest) ways to create a moodboard is through Pinterest where you can simply create a new folder and begin ‘pinning’ inspiring images to it straight away. Alternatively, you can print some images or cut them out from a magazine before gluing them to some cardboard or even sticking them to your wall, a pin board, etc. Just be sure to display your moodboard in a place that you frequently look at every day.

Bring your camera everywhere

This ties-in with the previous points about motivation, but many photographers who have completed a 365 day photo project also recommend that you take your camera with you everywhere you go.

This makes it easy for you to snap away when the inspiration strikes, plus who knows what you will stumble upon. While this is determined upon the theme or topic of your actual project, it’s still a great way to ensure that you’re hitting your daily photo goal. After all, you’d hate to see the perfect scene or subject, only to not have your camera with you!

Brainstorm a back-up list

There are going to be days throughout this year of photo-taking when you really cannot think of what to photograph next. Perhaps your motivation and inspiration levels will have dropped, or your creative juices just might not be flowing.

This is completely ok and it’s certainly not something to beat yourself up over! Instead, prepare for this dilemma in advance by sitting down and brainstorming a list containing ideas of what you want to photograph throughout the project.

Then, when you’re in need of a pick-me-up, you can read back over this list and hopefully be filled with fresh, new ideas again. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can spark our grandest ideas.

Sharing your project results

As you capture a new image each day to add to your project, you’ll want to showcase it with your fans and followers to prove to them that you’re achieving what you set out to accomplish. Other than your social media platforms, you might also want to share the images on your blog, a separate page on your website, or even via a photo sharing platform such as Flickr, 500px, or DeviantArt (just to name a few!).

Another helpful piece of advice is to actually ensure that you’re uploading a new image to the project each and every day. If you do one mass-upload each week containing the images you’ve captured in the past 7 days, others will find it less engaging and difficult to keep up with. You also want to show others that you’re achieving the ‘photo a day’ rule of this challenge. As mentioned previously, it keeps you accountable too.

Here’s another fun idea of how you can share (and display) the results of your year-long project once it is complete: create a photo book! This is a great way to hold on to those memories and photographs that you captured every day, plus you can always refer back to it for other projects, to show loved ones, or simply to fuel your daily inspiration.

Connect with others undertaking a 365 day photo project

If you’re not working with other people for your project, it can sometimes become a lonely task. That’s why it’s a great idea to actually connect with others who are either undertaking a similar daily project, or even those who have already done so in the past.

Follow them on their social media accounts and don’t be afraid to ask for their advice or even compliment their own work. By doing this with a few like-minded photographers, you could even build your own little support community. Who knows what other awesome opportunities or collaborations this might create!

Our favorite 365 day photo series so far

Below you’ll find some amazing 365 day photography projects, along with additional information about the talented photographers behind them. Let these inspire, motivate, and guide you to create something you’ll be just as proud of!

‘Troopies365’ by Teymur Madjderey

Teymur had wanted to do a 365 day photo challenge for quite some time but was unsure what to capture and how he should start. His inspiration came in the form of 4 Lego Stormtroopers displayed on his work desk.

He soon set about capturing the foursome in fun scenes as they lifted heavy pens, examined maps, and ate baguettes. There is even a self-portrait of the photographer featuring the Stormtroopers climbing upon his face (including in his nose!). Teymur’s infectious sense of humor is certainly evident in this series.

Marius Vieth’s life-changing 365 day photo challenge

German-based Marius Vieth has an intriguing tale to tell about his particular photo challenge. In fact, the series actually changed the course of his life.

Marius discovered his passion and true talent for street and travel photography after pursuing the themes for his year-long challenge. He soon realized that his heart lie in photography, rather than the full-time marketing position he had been working in for some time.

After numerous awards for his project, Marius is now lucky enough to be pursuing and living his dream. You can see his project results and read more of his story via PetaPixel.

‘#365Grateful’ by Hailey Bartholomew

This is a very special project which has started a global phenomenon. In 2008, Bartholomew took a Polaroid picture every day of something she was grateful for in order to combat her depression. Fast-forward to the present-day and thousands of people each year now follow this same technique in order to brighten their lives.

These are just 3 of our most favorite 365 day photo projects so far, but you can see an inspiring list of 20 of these projects via Visual News.

Will you be starting your own 365 day photo challenge this year? We hope these ideas, advice, and inspiring projects have motivated you to do so!


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