A Month of Firsts - January 365 Project | Whidbey Island Family Photographer

I just completed my first month of my 365 Project, and I don’t feel like throwing my camera out the window. #winning!

A Picture a Day

A “365 Project” is photographer-speak for taking a picture a day for a year. And if that sounds easy, it’s actually not. Because you definitely don’t take just one picture a day (at least I don’t). You take 50, or 400 pictures a day, and then you cull, edit, organize, and repeat.

I attempted a 365 Project twice before, a few years back when I was still learning manual mode on my camera and had more time with two little munkins who were home with me all day. I didn’t complete either project, but I made it to about 290 days before I called it quits. Every time I started a new 365, I realized how much I’d grown since the last attempt. Not just in shooting, but in editing as well.

But I eventually quit the projects as I began to have more dread of picking up my camera than joy. It felt like one more thing to do, like a chore rather than a choice. So I quit. The Type-A person in me felt like a failure. But I recently sat down and looked at all the pictures I took of the girls 3-4 years ago, and I don’t see a failure. I don’t see the flaws in my exposure or lack of white balance. I see so many moments that I would have forgotten about if I didn’t take the picture. So I decided to start again.

Sticking to the Plan

This year I really want to stick with my 365 Project, so I set some ground rules for myself to avoid burnout and disappointment if I don’t finish: 1) I want to take 365 unique pictures of my girls this year; and 2) I don’t have to shoot every day. And you know what? So far, so good. I only picked up my camera to take personal pictures 19 days this month, but I still took over 1,500 pictures of the girls, and edited over 250 that I love. I wanted to share with you what’s working for me (in case you’re needing some advice from a 365 slacker!).

Tips to Keep Your 365 Project Going Strong:

  • Don’t shoot everyday (but shoot most days).

  • Leave your camera out on the counter and within reach at all times.

  • Take your camera in the car wherever you go.

  • Make the most of downtime during basketball practice, school pick-up, and grocery shopping.

  • Document the important events and activities (parties, sports, etc.) even when your lighting isn’t ideal.

  • If the kiddos ask you not to take a picture, put the camera down and be present.

  • Pick up your camera more than once a day on the weekends.

  • Plan outings around golden hour 1-2 times per month.

  • Play around with editing and try new things (e.g. tone curve, monochrome images, new crops).

  • Don’t share your daily progress.

  • Do share your monthly progress.

  • Stay organized for tracking and printing down the road (yearly family album).

  • Look through your pictures at the end of the month and write down a few thoughts about what worked and what didn’t.

  • Brainstorm for the week and month ahead by jotting down ideas for pictures and keeping them with your camera.

  • Look for encouragement from groups like Clickin Moms, and gather ideas for daily prompts to try.

Take a Bow

This year, instead of looking at all the things that don’t get crossed off my to-do lists, I’m trying to look more closely at the things I do accomplish. The “old me” would feel bad about the 12 days I didn’t take a single picture. But instead, I’m focusing on the fact that with more than 250 pictures of the girls already edited, I’m more than half-way to my goal of 365 pictures!

I’m going to try my best to keep up my 365 Project and take pictures every month. But I’m not going to beat myself up if it all doesn’t go as planned. I already feel like I accomplished something. I documented a month in our lives. We celebrated Sophie’s birthday, hosted our first sleepover, and started basketball. We kept busy while daddy was away on det. We danced, sang, and played. We loved each other and lived fully.

Here’s the proof.

p.s. I’m participating in a blog circle this month with some amazing photographers, so link to Olia’s blog post at the bottom of this post!

Need more inspiration? Checking out an amazing family, wedding, and newborn photographer in San Diego, CA - Olia Luis, as she shares a beautiful maternity photoshoot she recently shot in Balboa Park, San Diego. Seriously - I have NEVER seen a tree like the one in her backdrop before. It’s insanely beautiful!

Want to make sure your family gets documented this year? Get on my calendar for a spring or summer family portrait session! Spots are filling up quickly. Reserve your Whidbey Island Family Photo Session today!