For years I lived under the pretense that people are either creative or they are not. And, (although I accepted it) that never felt “right” to me. For a longtime I felt like I was pretending to be creative. I would look at drawing books and try to recreate them. I would see craft projects and I’d try to put my own spin on it. I was always looking outside of myself and therefore, thought I was a fraud. I understood that to be creative you were constantly coming up with new ideas, breaking new barriers and always changing the molds! But then one day I heard something that stopped me in my tracks. “Creativity can be learned.” What’s that now?! “I’m sorry, could you speak into my good ear?!” (Ace Ventura) That’s right folks, creativity isn’t some elusive trait, it is a skill that can be learned! And just like most skills, if we want to excel at it, we must practice! If I wanted to be a professional synchronized swimmer, I’d need to practice every day. If I planned to play professional piccolo… I’d need to learn what that was. So, if I wanted to be any good at photography, I was going to have to buckle down and start learning, practicing, and shooting! Enter the 365 project. It’s pretty self explanatory, in that you shoot every day for 365 days.
So here are 4 reasons to get started on a 365 today! (That’s right, you don’t have to wait until the beginning of the year.)
- You will become one with your camera. When you’re shooting every day, you will be more familiar with your cameras manual settings. The more you use them, the more second nature they become. If you are trying to learn to use your camera in manual mode, but you only pick it up when you go to an event or on vacation, you will, no doubt, revert to Auto mode and there is no growth in Auto mode! So make that camera an extension of your hand every day!
- A 365 Forces you to think creatively. Believe me, there will be times when you are bored and uninspired. It’s raining or it’s cold. Life is busy or the kids won’t cooperate. There can be a hundred reasons not to pick up the camera, and that’s when you have to force it. Look at inspiration from other photographers, painters, or from movies! Try a new technique (Free-lensing? Brenizer method? Double exposure? Light Painting?)
- You’ll have a collection of “mundane” moments. This might sound like it should belong in the ‘cons’ section, but hear me out. Normally, we pick up the camera when we’re on vacation, at a special event or a fun outing, but lots of our life happens between those moments. When I look back at my year in photos I see when my daughters liked to play with barbies, when they would play under the cart in the grocery store, or how often we loved going to story time at the library. These moments might not have been documented if I didn’t keep my camera handy at all times (yes, I do carry my big camera with me to the store!)
- Visible proof of your growth as an Artist. I love looking back at all my images, but I really love seeing my own growth! At the beginning of my first 365 I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing. I knew how to shoot in manual, so I just needed some fine tuning, right? Maybe. But once I got shooting regularly, I started to really understand more than just my camera. I started to see light in a new way. Composition and lines became more of a focus for me. And at the moment, I’m trying to understand more about color theory.
One thing to consider along with starting a 365 is accountability. When we begin an exercise routine or a healthy living plan, we gather support and accountability from those around us, and this is no different. For me, that looked like announcing on my social media that I was beginning my 365 and every day I would number my images (i.e. 1 of 365). I was surprised at how often people I met would tell me that they looked forward to my daily images! If you are looking for groups to help, there are plenty on Instagram and Facebook. Some accounts or groups will support you by offering daily, weekly themes or monthly themes for you to join in and share to. For example, look at these hubs on Instagram here or here . But however you decide to do it, just DO it! You won’t regret it!
Aaand… if you have already started a 365 but need motivation to keep it going check out Kara Chappell’s helpful tips here: Family Photography on Whidbey Island