Daily/weekly photography projects are a good idea whether you are just starting out or you have been doing photography for a while. Most of the photographers I personally know have gone through one of these. But what is all the noise about it?
Well, first of all, it is a good tool for the learning curve for beginner photographers. Forcing yourself to do better every day means that you are actually forcing yourself to learn and understand photography better every day. When I started out in photography I didn't even own a DSLR, frankly I was shooting with my trusty old phone. After a while, I got my DSLR and started fiddling with it, then I went to a photographer friend of mine (who at that point had 20 years of experience) and asked him to teach me the basics, which he did. Few days later, full with confidence I asked him to teach me some more complex things. He said to me: “We can talk when you feel that you have done at least 10 000 pictures.” I didn't understand what he meant at first, but then I realized he forced me to practice. It is the same with weekly/daily photo projects – you practice, whether you like it or not.
Keep Practicing and Get Better
Continuity and practice are imperative in photography, but without feedback you won't know if you are doing things right or not. And by feedback I don't mean positive feedback. Positive feedback (while you are learning almost everything about photography) often does more harm than good. Negative feedback, on the other hand, gives you a good idea on what you failed to achieve thus giving you something to go on. Good hard critique is hard to find, even when your mistakes are pointed out in the public. Positive feedback is just easy since mostly it doesn't really mean much.
Get Feedback by Sharing Your Progress on a Blog
What is a better way to get feedback than blogging about it? Blogging your projects is very simple nowadays, and it almost guarantees decent audience. Having objective feedback will help you identify and learn from the mistakes you did, thus make you improve slightly with every next shot.
Added Benefits from Blogging
While we are at blogging, when you blog about something every single day, you generate traffic, traffic which works in your favor. Traffic means exposure, exposure means advertising, advertising means money. Whether you are doing photography just as a hobby or you want to turn it into a profession, some extra income is always appreciated.
You've probably read about at least one photographer that did some interesting project that’s in a way a daily photo project, right? Well that is a pristine example of a photographer which was creative enough to get decent exposure and be featured on a website or magazine. That can also happen to you if you are creative enough.
Get Better at Organizing and Archiving Your Photos
Additionally, when you have to take at least one good shot every day, you probably take at least 50 pictures in the process. Doing that every day is a good exercise for your workflow. Time will often be limited, so you'll need to do things quickly and efficiently. And in just a week or two you will already have bunch of photos hanging around in your computer making a mess (except if you are an organized person by nature) which eventually will force you to learn about organizing and archiving photos as well. Sometimes you won’t have enough time to wait for the perfect shot, but that can be good for you if you’re a beginner. The occasional lack of time will make you work on a deadline, which will prepare you better for the “real thing” since professional photographers often have tight schedules.
Become a Better Photographer
The weekly or daily project will improve your photography skills very much, I guarantee you that. It will also help you overcome shyness when photographing strangers, consequently you will learn how to communicate with models better in order to achieve what you have envisioned. Additionally to the before mentioned things, you will manage your camera better since it will practically grow in your hands. Unconsciously you will learn about angle of view, you will start to improvise and get good at it. Judging light and weather conditions will improve drastically as the shot count goes higher and higher.
I would advise you to take on a daily project. It is just a picture a day, for a whole year. I did take one on, but I couldn't keep it up (due to obligations which kept me busy the whole day), but now that I think about it, I might try it again. If you are just a hobbyist, you can take on a weekly project. It won't do you as much good as the daily one but it is better than just sitting around and it could be fun.
Truly useful tips and advice.
Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for this article. I’ve been tinkering with DSLR’s for a few years but only tinkering. I know I could do so much better if I had the discipline to take on 365/12 Project or at least a weekly one.
I agree with you, I think I’ll get more out of it on a daily basis than weekly. I’ going to give it a go, wish me luck!
I’m taking the challenge – for a month anyway! You guys should join me, see my first blog post here https://www.glassmagnolia.com.au/#!Will-you-take-the-challenge/cexp/E44C99F6-84F5-43A3-8FD7-CBA3F3A65B0F
Thanks for the inspiration!
Definitely, consistency and rhythm are very important to keep your eye sharp and focused, and improve along the way. Having a blog is very helpful in this sense, since it forces you to be organized and structured. Mine is almost 2 years old and I can see a clear improvement in narrative and picture management!
I’ve been doing a weekly self-portrait project, I’m currently on week 42 and I must say that I’ve learned tons! Not just in photography itself but also in coming up with ideas or concepts, in always looking out for good locations and most of all, I’ve learned how darn difficult it is to pose (I have gained a new respect for models, I have no clue how they can remain so composed while concentrating on whatever the photographer asks of them).
I’m planning to do a portrait project after my self-portrait one, I’m hoping it will get me over my shyness when photographing others.
great article! my mentor told me the same thing – take at least a 1000 pictures first ( that was just the first month), and then we’ll take it from there.. haha. i’m almost coming to my end of my project 365, started in Nov 2013. besides having a blog – it is good also to join others who are also embarking on a 365 photography journey – for mutual support and encouragement! i have started 365 just wanting to learn how to take better pictures…within a year (shooting every day!) i have pictures now being featured by various websites/lens maker. just keep shooting 🙂
Exceptional article. Thanks.
Setting a goal for yourself always work. I Love the 365 photo project, because taking up this challenge ensures that you gonna click atleast 5 – 10 pictures a day and then select the best one from to be a part of the project. It is great for those who wants to improve their photography skills.
Very useful article. Thank you.
I thought it important to share, @petrovskyz, that I was inspired to take 2 actions as a result of reading your article during my daily perusal of Flipboard earlier this week: 1) I joined Light Stalking, have engaged and shared a photo on Shark Tank and 2) I started a 365 Project blog – https://imaginegracephoto.blogspot.com. Neither of which are actions I Would have been so bold as to take if not so inspired. So, I’ve been taking these pictures every day and posting them on my new blog and I’m quite content to do it. I’m just certain that I am the only one in the atmosphere reading the blog. Any suggestions as to how to move forward to get real interplay and feedback? I’m a novice at all of this and any suggestions are welcome. Thanks folks!
Great to have you on board 🙂
I love this project. I have been taking a photo a day since January 1, 2010 and am now ending my fifth year. I send them out to friends (I don’t have a blog) and post them on my website at month’s end (www.frankdamonphoto.com). This has been the best project for learning to see things you have never even thought of, and there is always something to photograph. It is a great way to learn to see, how to envision, how to organize images with no downside except for the time it takes.
I’m currently working on the 365 day project.. It’s been incredible, fun, stressful, interesting etc. I have learned so much. I have learned about myself, creativity, self motivation , organization, gear, usage of equipment, and yes about photography in general. I highly recommend it. Do it. 🙂
I started my 365 in September 2013. I am currently on day 568! Have not missed a day, it was hard in the beginning but it has become so routine that I don’t think twice about it. 🙂 I highly recommend it! I know my camera like the back of my hand now.
I did a 365 challenge last year, made it 10 months before I had to concede that work and other commitments were just too time consuming for me to complete the year. I learned lots, had some great shots and some disasters and I found that I could work really hard to be creative. I had to learn to go easy on myself and realize that if I missed a day the world would not fall off its axis. I’m now embarking on a 52 project to continue to hone my skills and I want to start a blog with that as the subject. I highly recommend a project to any photographer.