Tips for Tuesday is a new feature on the blog. I will be sharing tips and tricks with you that I find helpful. I will also be using this feature as a platform to answer any questions that you may have. If you would like to submit a question for me to answer in a future Tips for Tuesday post, please use the contact form at the top of the blog.
Tips for Tuesday :: January 10, 2012
I almost don’t want to admit that I’m going to be trying another Project 365 this year. In fact, as of January 1st, I was adamant about NOT starting one. You see, every year I get caught up in the energy and excitement of January. All across the internet, fellow photographers are declairing their commitment to shoot a photo a day for a year. I always think to myself, “it really will be a challenge, but this year is different. This year I will do it!” I have failed 3 times in the past 3 years. Yikes. Not a very good track record! After the clock ticks to midnight, and the ball drops, and everyone is done making out, I wake up on January 1st completely detached from the reality of the commitment. Every. Single. Year. I seem to forget that at some point I’m going to be sick, while taking care of three sick kids and a sick husband and two sick cats. I will forget that during this week, usually between the middle of February and the middle of March), my dSLR will be downstairs, and I’ll be stuck in bed upstairs under a mound of meds and tissues. And then I’ll think “Oh screw it. What am I going to do, take pictures of my socks for the next three days?”
Because when I wake up on January 1st, I have a vision of myself on the next December 31st looking over 365 images that have stretched my photography to its limit. 365 magnificent, beautiful, print worthy images. Images of my tissues and socks do not fall into this category. Project fail.
But things have changed, and this year actually is different. After reading a few blog posts on January 1st about starting up a photo project in the new year, I think that I may actually be able to do it this year (disclaimer: I can’t actually share with you what those posts were because I read them in the middle of the night when I was up nursing the baby and I did not bookmark. Gee. I wonder why I fail my 365 every year). These posts listed the many awesome reasons why Instagram 365 is the way to go.
I had a little internal battle with myself at first. I wasn’t ready to give up on the idea of “365 amazing and print worthy and publishable and sellable” images.
And then I thought, “wow, Meg. You are actually *not* going to take a picture a day because not every one is going to be ‘amazing’?”
And then I made this:
and it made me realize that last year I almost did take a picture every single day. And even when I didn’t, it didn’t matter. Because at the end of the year I had a comprehensive slideshow of images that I shot when I remembered to shoot them that represented my year. It showed our trips, my pregnancy, the growth of our girls, the growth of our family. It made me happy to watch. It made me proud. And it made me remember why I like taking pictures.
So here are a few things that I am going to do that will ensure that I will complete a 365 this year:
- Be realistic about the project. This project is about me, not you. I’m so sorry to be so blunt, but it is true. My goal is to shoot a photo a day in 2012, and in order to do that, I have to absolutely let go of how other people are going to perceive the project if I want to be successful. I cannot think about the quality of every single image that I am going to shoot, and I cannot compare the images that I am shooting to the images that my friends are shooting. The project is about me, my life, and improving my skills. That being said…
- Be honest about my goals. As a photographer, I am constantly looking at images and deciding what it is about those images that I like. In order to help my photography grow, I need to constantly surround myself with quality work. In doing so, it is incredibly easy to see amazing images and begin to feel inadequate. I try to look at an images and identify the aspects that “make it work”, and I try to avoid the negative thinking that makes me feel like trashing my hard drive. In order to have a successful Photo a Day this year, I need to be honest with myself that my goals are going to be to complete the challenges of a photo a day, and to push my skill.
- Be willing to cheat. Yea, you heard me. If I miss a day, I’m going to use an image that I shot but didn’t share from the previous day. Or I’m going to shoot two images the next day. By December 31st, I won’t know the difference, and honestly it is ABOUT SHOOTING, so even if I do remember slipping up, it will all be apart of the process. I am not going to give up on the project if I miss a day or two, and in order to keep myself going, I am going to cheat.
- Get into a routine. Unless I know that we are going to be doing something “special” in the afternoon, I am planning on shooting most of my images before noon. I am doing this because I know that after lunch time/nap time with my kids, I start to get tired, and the shooting will become a chore to me. I also have more responsibilities in the afternoons and evenings, and I know that those routines can easily interfere with my Photo a Day routine.
- Reward myself with instant gratification. This one is a biggie. I have decided that I am NOT going to do a Photo a Day with my dSLR. I will be using my iPhone 4 and Instagram to complete my project this year. I am doing this for a number of reasons: I take my phone with my everywhere, I am already in a habit of shooting and uploading with Instagram, and I can shoot, edit, describe, and share in about 30 seconds flat.
- Create a fast and easy organization/support system (aka set myself up for success). I absolutely cannot spend hours every night sorting through my images, rating them, editing them, saving and uploading them. This is why things have failed for me in the past (this goes hand in hand with being realistic and honest with myself!). I can shoot every day (and do, with my phone and dSLR) but I cannot work on the images every day. By using my iPhone and Instagram, I am setting myself up to be successful. I can seamlessly add the images to a Tumblr account, which will be where I will be sharing my project, in almost no time at all. I can easily create folders on my phone to organize my images right when I shoot them. This will save me time when I transfer the images from my phone to my computer. And as I said earlier, I can shoot, edit, label, and share the images in no time flat. I also have the benefit of other apps. Right now I am shooting in Instagram, sharing to my Tumblr account, and then using Photo 365 to organize my images in a calendar format. I wish that there were other options with this app (like the option to create a slideshow at the end of the week, end of the month, end of the year. Or to be able to “flip” through my “favorite” image from day to day.), but right now it suits my needs, and also allows me to set a reminder at 11am to shoot if I haven’t already.
I hope you found these tips useful, and if you are considering doing a Photo a Day this year (366, it’s a leap year!) that you think long and hard about what the project means to you, what you are and are not willing to do to get yourself to take the pictures, and finally, what you can do to set yourself to be successful with the project.
This post is part of the Tips for Tuesday weekly feature. If you have a question you would like answered, or a topic that you would like to see discussed, please feel free to get in touch through the contact form here on the blog (by clicking the contact button at the top of the page), or by touching base through my Facebook Fanpage!