We are at that time of year when people think of great promises that they will try to keep in the following year. We call them “New Year resolutions”. Now in all honesty very few survive the month of January but occasionally one of them will stick.
At this yearend I encourage everyone to make a resolution to improve their photography and the easiest way to do this is to challenge yourself to shoot a photo a day through 2015.
At the end of 2010 I decided to embark on such a challenge and encouraged a number of members of my camera club to do the same. Everyone started with great gusto, which did fade as the holidays ended, but there are still three of us going strong. On December 31 those remaining will shoot day 1461.
Now before you all say that this is to hard, consider the following:
- Firstly and most importantly a photo a day challenge does not require you to photograph a prize winning image each day. It is simply about training your eye to see images around you and capturing them. You may choose to share them or keep them to yourself. It is fully acceptable to have images that actually fail if you are learning from them.
- You don’t need to have a wide variety of subjects or themes. There are people who challenged themselves to shoot the same lighthouse each day and another person shot 365 self-portraits. You choose how you want to plan the shoots
- Don’t stress about having to get the shot each day. If you look at some of the work of the great street photographers you will find that they have excelled at shooting the mundane everyday life around them.
- You don’t need expensive gear. Simply shoot with what you have but get into a routine of carrying the gear with you. For most people now that camera will be the one in your phone.
- Photo a day gives you the perfect opportunity to explore photographic genres that you may not consider to be your main areas (for example landscapes for me).
On the basis of four years experience there are some tips that I will share
- When you start make a list of fall back items. This may be things that you see one day after you already have that day’s image and others that you will shoot if all else fails on the day. And don’t worry we all have still life images shot late in the evening. On the first day that I went out walking I came back with a list of 30 items to shoot. Within a week there were 40 on it. Four years later there are still 40 items on it.
- Build the shooting into a daily routine. For me I find the weekends more troublesome than the week. This is because it is part of my routine that I shoot most of my images during my lunchtime.
- Once you have a shot do not worry about trying to improve on it immediately. Save that for another day. Generally speaking after I get my shot I will not bother trying to take another, unless I see something else that will only occur on that day.