Tips for Tuesday

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

Photo Projects

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:

  1. 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…
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

 

 

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5 comments
  • so great to have another person to follow along! i started my second 365 in october- still going strong! (check it out here: http://sweetriver.smugmug.com/Other/Project-365/19667294_Vsfs2t)

    i forgot one day out of pure forgetfulness so i filled it in with a pic someone took of me that day. :O) i almost always use my phone camera. NUMBERING the pics is the hardest part for me! i create little week long themes to get me inspired each week. and at the end of they year, oh my gosh how i love to watch the slideshow! yours almost made me cry. how is it that lily was unknown to us this time last year?

    i’m doing 366 tidbits, too, and can’t wait to make a book to pair up with the pics i’ve taken.

  • Jennifer

    Meg, I think these are wonderful. I have post all written out about why I don’t make news resolutions to post on that blog I told myself I’d have now and haven’t. And the main reason I don’t make them is they seem to be for show, have date that may or may not work for my workflow and gosh darnit, most of us fail to plan to how to make those resolutions happen. I prefer goals, they have a thought behind them and are not necessarily implied to stop being beneficial at the end of the year. I think it’s great you are trying again and you’ve put some guidelines down to make it happen. I’ve failed miserably at 356 in the past too (2 years now). Probably should try again. Who knowa. But it is nice to see you talking back here at your home base.

  • Ok I finally saw this post and flipped through the link. Love your project so far!! What awesome memories! And the first time I saw mine I did cry! Lily held out for so so long and then it was as if she was always here, and in a way I feel like she was, and she was always meant to be!

  • So great to hear from you! And I agree with you. I’ve set goals for my baby weight-loss and here I am 40lbs lighter in 6mos. Resolutions, however, seem so detached. I agree, it is hard to follow through without a plan, and impossible to achieve them by just listing out some arbitrary improvements! Here’s to setting and accomplishing goals in 2012!

  • […] written, I have taken a photo every single day, on my iPhone, for the last 1,097 days.  When I originally wrote about committing to a 365 project, I explained why I failed two years in a row before I had a successful year.  Many of the tips on […]

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