When I sat down to design our families annual Christmas card I realized there were certain months where I had hardly any photos. Like none. Yea, I had lots of vacations and "big" moments. But, I feel like that's not where life is really lived. It's in the day to day everyday stuff. Choosing to cultivating gratitude in those in between moments is really where it's at. And I was sad I had missed so much of those. Not only for me, but to show my kids (through what I choose to prioritize as an important photograph) the importance of this daily gift. Sooooo, without over analyzing and thinking it through to much (which for anyone that really know me, is HUGE), I started.Now, after completing a full year and into my second, I wish I would have stared sooner. If you're even slightly thinking you might like to give this a try. Do it. Don't think about it. Just start.
To help you out, I've put together 10 ways to simplify your 365 project :).
1. Keep your camera close
Okay, this is probably a no brainer, and I hope you keep reading the list even if you think "this is what you call a tip?!" haha, but it's seriously one the most overwhelming things for people I talk to. The thought of picking up the camera every day. The "one more thing to add to my list" thought. But really it doesn't have to be that complicated. You can do this on any camera you wish. From your iPhone to a point and shoot to your DSLR. I've chosen to do mine with my canon mkiii, but that's only because I don't find it a burden. I keep it on my counter. And yes, carry it with me most of the time. And have had people comment "I didn't even know they still made cameras like that!". For real. Yea, I'm that mom. Once I have spent my couple of minutes capturing something I'm grateful for I put it away and that's it.
2. Start with the end in mind
What do you want at the end of the year? Please don't let them sit on your hard drive, have a plan. A family book? A book of each child? Just try to take a few minutes to reflect on what would mean the most to you to have in your hands. This will help determine what and how you shoot. Sort of a little reverse engineering if you will. It can help you make less decisions on a daily basis if you have some parameters in place. And less decisions on a daily basis are always better ;).
3. Just do it
Don't over think it. Don't be stuck in decision or perfection paralysis. Just take it day by day. Start today. Start at the beginning of next month. Don't worry about perfect. Done is better than that. Which leads me into....
4. So it's a 332
Is it really a big deal if your missed a day or two? Nooooooo. It's the collective. Weather you have a perfect record or miss a few days ......or 50, your family (or you) won't care in a year (or 20) from now. Mine wasn't perfect. I would miss one, two or even three days in a row here and there. Sometimes I would fill them in with additional photos from others days and sometimes I wouldn't. Again, I just let it go and reminded myself that at the end project how grateful I would be with however many I ended up with.
5. What's really important
That this is a gift. To you. This is your gratitude journal. Your way of showing the world what shines the brightest in your eyes.
6. The power of one photo
Which translates into very little of your time each day (yay!). I heard a speaker at a conference (sorry, I don't remember who it was) once talk about the power of one photo. How one photo can not only take you back to a moment, but a whole day. And it's so true. Try it.
7. Have a system
Somewhat anyhow. Mine isn't perfect but here's a rough rundown.
* I usually keep my card in my camera for the week and download one time over the week (give or take). I knew going in that I am not one to sit down daily to download, edit, organize photos. But once a week seemed manageable.
* I use photo mechanic to download, saved to folders on my computer (example: 2015_365>januaryraw>filedate of download).
* I quickly cull in photo mechanic and bring into Lightroom while renaming to the date captured
* complete my quick edits (I use RedLeaf presets which are so wonderful they make this part super fast)
* export to a new folder (example: 2015_365>januaryedit)
8. You don't have to share
I shared my images last year. But haven't this year. I am sure at one point I will here and there but I felt like I needed a bit of a break from that. I didn't share everyday either, opting to group them into groups of 6. And then quite often shared the whole month at once.
iPhone: if you decide to take your 365 on your iPhone artifact uprising
has a great app to download directly to a photo book.
books: they have great books and build your own templates.
10. What to do with it all
As 2014 was my first year doing a 365 I'm still thinking about how I want to design a large book for myself. 365 pages would be rather HUGE. However, I have ordered small 7x7 books - 2 of them. One for each of my boys. Of which I will be writing a small personal note to them as a keepsake.
11. You'll get better
As a bonus, guess what? Your photography will get better. Weather you are a mom with a camera, a hobbyist or a professional, the only way to take better photographers is to .... drum roll ... take them! Shoot every day. Try new things, new perspectives, different light.
I can't wait to see what you create.