Thursday, January 5, 2012

Projects and How They Can Help!

Something to celebrate!

 I don't think I have written a blog about this subject before, and if I have, I sincerely apologise for repeating myself. The new year has begun and it is always at this time that people make resolutions - about their lives, about their photography, about anything and everything. I already posted a list of my resolutions, and you can breathe a sigh of relief that I'm not going to be talking about that today. But what I am going to be talking about is projects.

Whether you are a beginner having bought your first camera, a professional doing shoots for a profit or just someone who is on a big trip and wanting to document every moment of it, projects are your friend. As a beginner, projects help you to get to know your camera for its strengths and weaknesses and learn how to use them to your advantage. As a professional, projects can help you remember why it is that you chose photography in the first place - being on scene all day every day and dealing with difficult clients and stressful situations can often make you forget. And as a traveler, a project can help you capture the new places that you are experiencing and can help you capture them in such a way that you can look back at those photographs years later and remember a moment. Sure, other people may look at them and be like "What the hell is that?" But you will know and remember why it was that you took that specific photograph and the feeling that you felt at the time will be returned to you.

You don't have to have a good camera to do a project. You can use your point and shoot, your DSLR or even your cellphone camera if you like. But the point is that taking photos on a daily or weekly basis, taking photos according to topics that are set out in advance, can help photographers of any level with their photography.

The kind of project that you end up doing is up to you. You might want to start following a blog like the Digital Photography School and taking part in their weekly challenges. Posting a photo each week to match their challenge could be the project that you set for yourself. Some people like to do a 52 challenge - a photo a week for a year. That way they are not bound to bringing their fancy camera with them wherever they go and they have time in between to continue with their everyday lives. Others like to do a 365 challenge - a photo a day for a year. This can be the most challenging or the most relaxed of the projects depending on how you look at it. No one expects you to take amazing photos or to have amazing photo opportunities every day. It almost seems like quantity over quality. And you could see it that way. Or you could see it as a chance to look around you and take more interesting photographs. If you don't think that you have the stamina to last a full 365 and feel like 52 is a little too lax, you may want to try a 31 challenge - taking a photo a day for a month. Whatever you do though, do try to challenge yourself. Try not to become too comfortable with your camera. And by that I do not mean becoming comfortable as in knowing how to use it. What I mean is that you shouldn't become comfortable with it as a fixture in your home that never gets used. Take it out, play with it, experiment and see what comes out!

I tried to do a 365 project before and got to day 203 before failing. There were a number of reasons for this, but I am back and ready to try again. You can find the photos from it here. I figured that the new year was the best time to start. After all, it's a new year with new opportunities and I hope to be there to take advantage of them.


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