For the past 362 days (at the time of writing) I have shared a new photo online each day, and have taken photos most days (yes – I am admitting that I failed to take photos every single day, but I wasn’t far off!). My 365 photography project has helped me develop my skills and confidence as a photographer.
As we are just a couple of months into 2017, you may have just started your own 365 project, or you may be about to start one soon. I wanted to share my thoughts on why a 365 project is a good idea. Although I focussed solely on street photography, these three reasons can apply to any type of photography you “do” during your project.
Discover Your Creative Self
I’m probably the least creative person I know. I can’t draw, I can’t come up with ingenious ways to make money and I can’t make something creative out of a random box of objects like some people can. But my 365 photography project has helped me find my inner-creative and discover a whole new side to myself which I never knew existed. Now when I am out on the streets I am constantly looking for opportunities to create or make a photo. I’ve learned to look differently at people, see light and shadow in a new way and think of ways to incorporate a building, backdrop or scene into a photo. When I have a camera in my hand I feel creative, and it is all thanks to my 365 photography project.
Practice, Practice, Practice…
The old saying “practice makes perfect” is true. It’s very rare that someone “gets” something at the first attempt, and if they do then it is often down to luck rather than skill. I’m not for a second suggesting that I am now a perfect photographer, if such a thing exists, but taking photos almost every day for the past year has certainly helped me become a better photographer. I am more aware of my surroundings, people and their behaviours, and what might make an interesting photograph. If you want to take better photos then a 365 project will almost certainly help you to do exactly that.
Develop Your Own Style, or Try Lots of Styles
I first started intentionally taking street photos a couple of months before starting my 365 project. I didn’t really have a style, and I pretty much took photos of anyone doing anything on the streets. Over the course of my 365 project I began to discover other street photographers and draw inspiration from their work. Whilst I didn’t try to (intentionally) copy them or their style, the work of others helped me to think about what I wanted to photograph on the streets. As my project progressed I moved through different phases trying out different styles. Silhouettes, lone subjects, candid portraits and busier street scenes. I don’t think I’ve quite developed my own style yet, but trying different styles has certainly helped me to improve and think more about what I want to shoot and why I want to shoot it.
If you’ve just started your 365 project or are about to take the plunge then good luck! It is hard work and there will be days when you don’t take photos, but if you see it through then it is very rewarding when you reach the end. And if you want any tips or advice then I’d love to hear from you. Follow me on Instagram or get in touch with me through my website.