Learning From One Month of Daily Photos

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"A Classic" by D. Travis North

As you may or may not know, on the first of this year (2010), I embarked on a photographic journey.  I committed myself to shooting and releasing one photo every day for the entire year. Such a project is referred to as a Project 365, Photo-a-Day, and so on.  Outsiders may think that participants in such a project should be committed. And while I was up to the challenge, I was not expecting to learn as much as I have – and I’ve only got a month under my belt.  With any intense project such as this, there are advantages and disadvantages.  Though I have only been doing it for a month, I’ll try to shed some light (as I see it thus far) on both.

The Benefits

  • Staying In Practice – Shooting every day keeps your creative mind in shape.
  • Self Inspiring - Some of the photos you’ll shoot will help to inspire other shots.  You’ll find yourself working within themes, which is a great way to improve.
  • Easy Benchmarking - It’s difficult to determine what your weaknesses are, unless you’re shooting every day and have a large quantity of photos to analyze.  Oh wait…you have that.  So you can easily analyze your weaknesses and create plans to improve.
  • Sense of Accomplishment – Complete one week of daily photos, and you really feel like you’ve achieved something.
  • Establishing a Routine – The only way to improve is to keep shooting.  There’s no better way to ensure you’re shooting often than to establish a routine.
  • Small Steps Towards Improvement - Achieving lofty goals requires breaking things down into smaller steps.  A daily shooting schedule helps you to make subtle tweaks towards achieving those goals.

The Hindrances

  • Daily Shooting – Possibly the winner of the most obvious statement: Shooting daily means shooting daily.  Sometimes life doesn’t grant you such flexibility.  It will be difficult to complete your shots on some days.
  • Mental Drought – Keeping ideas fresh is difficult.  Before you begin such a project, be aware that you will not be happy with all of your photos.
  • Time - Time taking photos every day is nothing.  Post-processing and workflow are going to eat up some time.

The hindrance list is short, but these three points are very serious considerations.  A daily shoot is not for everyone.  But for those willing to rise to the challenge, I can attest that there is a lot to learn from such an experience.  I will expand on this list throughout the year as I learn more.

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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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