How to make the most of your 365March 20, 2017
When you set out on a 365, you are making a commitment that you will take a photograph every day for a full year. However, it’s very possible to waste that year with low-quality shots that have no thought put into them at all. If you want to make the most of your 365, you need to work a little harder. Here’s how.
Push yourself to be creative
It’s important that you approach your 365 with a creative spirit. Rather than taking a photograph of whatever you see each day, try thinking of what you want to capture and then setting out to find it. For example, you may decide that you want to try making a series of self-portraits which interpret popular phrases in a funny way. You may want to discover a new face in the crowd every lunchtime by training your camera on passers-by and trying out documentary-style photography. Whatever it is that works for you, set out to create it – don’t just be satisfied with the opportunities that come your way naturally.
Shoot every day
The temptation with a 365 can be to go out and take 20 photographs, and then not do any more work for the next 20 days, simply posting one a day to your Instagram or Facebook account. Instead, force yourself to go out and take a picture every day. This will give you a much better learning curve as there will be plenty of rejected shots and much more time spent behind the lens overall. It’s tough to keep up this kind of schedule, but if it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing.
Create a theme for each week of your 365. You don’t have to plan these at the start of the year – you can set them a few weeks in advance, or even make them up as you go. But a theme will help you to stay focused and know what to look for. It’s hard to keep your “photographic eye” turned on all of the time, especially when you are not used to doing so. Having a theme will give you a chance to focus on what you are looking for. Some ideas for themes could include capturing nature, photographing things that you see every day and normally don’t notice, self-portraits, portraits of friends, and so on.
Try new techniques
A 365 is a great time for experimentation. Every shot doesn’t have to be perfect – it’s just a great bonus if it is. The main thing is to carry on taking pictures. Since this is the case, why not think of a few special new techniques that you want to try? Maybe you have never done any macro photography, or tried street documentary, or used a reflector to light your subject. Maybe you don’t normally use a tripod, or don’t have much experience with off-camera flash. Whatever it is that you need to try, schedule in a day to try it. If you don’t have the equipment that you need, you can always rent it for a day from a camera rental shop, including lenses. When you get to the end of your year, you will have learned some great new techniques as well as having an updated portfolio.
Review your images
Don’t just take the images, post them, and then forget about them. Go back and review! You can get a certain amount of feedback from social media, as you can see which images got the best reactions, but you can also use your own photographic knowledge. What worked about each shot? What didn’t? what could you have done to improve it? Answering these questions will help you to improve your work and become a better photographer.
Whatever you do with your 365, it’s important to stay the distance – even if you miss a day, don’t give up altogether. Do double shots the next day and get back on the horse. Make sure that you also enjoy this project as a chance to do what you love every day!