This year, I did my first ever Project 365. I've still got six weeks to go, but I can honestly say it's been one of the most rewarding photography projects I've done. I do believe it has helped improve my photography, just by giving me the opportunity to practice every day, but it has also been a wonderfully personal project, since it's almost become like keeping a journal.
A Project 365 is a very simple idea - you take a photo each day for 365 days. However, there are a couple of things I think you should consider before you get started, which will help make sure that you Project 365 is a successful one!
Here are some tips about how to get started.
Decide when to start
Of course the most common time to start is January 1st, but in reality you can start at any time - even now! The goal is simply to take one photo every single day for 365 days, but it doesn't matter when that starts. I'd give yourself a bit of time to get used to the idea - so now is a great time to get started thinking about one for starting in 2016.
Decide whether to share your images
There is absolutely no need to share your images, but I do believe that doing so helps keep you motivated to continue. You could share with a existing photo community, or set up your own little group. You can even just share with family and friends. Doing any of these will help keep you on track and inspire you to continue.
Plan for Posting
Assuming you are sharing, have a think about how you want to share these. Some people start a photography blog, where they simply post an image to each day, with or without a little writing to accompany it. Some people set up their own Flickr account and folder dedicated to their Project 365 images. Others share on Instagram. (Of course, if you join an existing group, you will be posting there!)
Also think about how often you want to post these - daily, weekly or monthly. I share mine here on the blog once a month - because I blog about a lot of other topics as well I didn't want to post daily or weekly, but if that is mainly what your blog is about, I would post more frequently than that.
Consider a Theme / Prompts
I take a picture of whatever I feel like that day, but many photographers shoot their Project 365 to a theme - for example, black and white only, or macro only, or iphone only, and so on. If you want the entire year to fit that theme, consider whether you want to do this before you start. Many photographers actually shoot to different themes throughout the year to keep themselves interested, for example, black and white for one month only, a week of self portraits, and so on.
You can also join a group that posts daily prompts - you simply take a picture to fit that particular prompt. If you don't like the idea of freewheeling, then this might be a good option for you :) Find the group before you start your project so are ready to go on Day 1.
Think about whether you want to print your photos
Personally, I believe that printing your Project 365 is one of THE best things for motivating you to continue. Honestly, I am not sure whether I would have continued through this far if it hadn't been for the fact that I don't like to see a gap in the album that holds my 365 images! I love printing out my photos each month: there is something very rewarding about holding a print in your hand.
Of course you may choose not to print as you go along, but perhaps make a photo book out of them each year: again, though, I would suggest filling this in as go along, and then printing at the end of the year. Either way, it's a good idea to get this set up before you start taking photos!
I hope anyone considering a Project 365 has found that helpful! If you like the idea of a photography project, but not committing to an entire year of picture taking, have a look at this recent post - it has 15 Photography Project Ideas to inspire you!