With the beginning of 2014 so close I know there are a lot of us thinking of photography projects to keep us busy and to fuel our creativity next year. I personally am hoping to keep going with my 365 but in order to keep myself motivated I am planning on doing smaller projects in-between so that it stays exciting and challenging in a good way rather than just plain challenging.
30 Day Projects: (of course this means 31 \ 30 \ 28 days)
- a black and white photograph everyday for 30 days. Pretty self explanatory this one 🙂
- 30 days till christmas (obviously more of an end of the year project) document the christmas period from getting ready to shopping to wrapping gift to visit family etc etc It can be nice to make this into a book at the end for family. You can also use time lapse photography for this so that you yourself are also in some of the photographs.
- 30 days of gratefulness (often done before thanks giving but also great to do anytime of the year) This is a great project on many levels. I will not only be a fun project but will also be a bit of a chicken soup for the soul.
- 30 days of people less photographs, or another version of this is the headless portrait. I have an ongoing project on flickr for people less portraits as well.
- choose one lens and stick to it for 30 days. This is a fun project that I think is great for pushing creativity without relying on the ascetics of your tools. It also can teach you the versatility in one lens.
- Try your hand at food photography for a month, everyday take a picture of something you are eating or cooking or just a still life of a food product. I think this would be a really fun project and I am sure it would also help me see what it is that I am eating everyday haha – kinda like a visual food diary!
- How well do you know your own neighbourhood? What about a project about your neighbourhood for a month? This can combine street photography with landscape photography and also documentary photography. You can add pictures of your kids doing their favourite things in their neighbourhood.
- The beauty of nature! Even in a big city like Tokyo there is a little bit of nature peaking through the cracks, others will live in towns where their is nature all around. Find your little bit of natural world and show its beauty.
- Now this one has been done many times and I wonder whether some will not fancy it because it is almost overdone but the from where I stand project is a great project with so many possibilities! Some will take pictures of their feet in different place showing us what it is that they are seeing. You can however do this project any way you would like. You don’t have to add yourself at all if you don’t want but just have a picture of a view, something you looked at during your day that either made you think or feel. You can also do it another way and choose an adjective for each photograph like “from where I stand its quiet” or “from where I stand I see chaos” etc etc The reason this project is overdone is because its a good one and a lot of fun!
- After dark, the end of the day, at night, whatever you want to call it. This may be a good project to do when its winter and the sunsets early and wakes up late. 30 days of documenting your after dark hours.
- A story a day. Try and tell one story from each day, it can be complex or simple it doesn’t matter. Just a fun way to practise the art of story telling in photography.
- Who doesn’t love a bit of happiness! This project is similar to the 30 days of gratefulness but it would be nice to take a picture everyday for 30 days of something that made you happy or made you smile, no matter how big or small.
- There are many ways to do an elements of photography project, for example choosing an element and practising everyday for 30 days but this one doesn’t appeal to me as much. The one project idea similar to this that I do like though is the centred project. I love centred compositions and when we are learning the tools of our trade we are normally encouraged not to do that compositionally, well I say break the rules cause if you like something that means it works for you and that is the most important thing! So 30 days of centring your subject.
- 30 days of playing in or with the shadows. An interesting project that would really push your creativity but I think we also be very difficult to maintain for 30 days.
- One window for 30 days. Choose a window or a room in your house and take one photograph a day of something that happened there. You can include your kids or yourself, the view from the window, reflections, the details, textures, abstract, still-life etc etc. You can do this with a babies cot or a childs room, your kitchen, or the front door. The choices are endless.
- Take a hobby that you love, maybe it is a recent hobby or one that you loved to do when you where a kid. Document that hobby.
- This last one is just a bit of fun. You can take an item that is important to you or take your child’s favourite toy. For 30 days take a picture of whichever item you choose in different places doing different things. This is a fun project to play with your kids.
One of the best way to motivate yourself and to keep yourself motivated during personal projects is to have a plan of what you want to do with the photographs at the end. Do you want to create a book with them? Do you want to make a book for your parents or your children. Is the project you chose worth donating afterwards. Will you share the images daily online, or will you post a once a month update on your project.
Whatever you choose to do remember that it is your project and do it the way that it works for you. Don’t be too strict on yourself and if you aren’t enjoying a project stop and change it, photography is meant to be fun not hard work. For example, I am currently doing a 365 but I haven’t managed to take a picture every single day and I don’t want to. I made my own rules for the project and for the days that I don’t take a picture I edit a photograph that I want to edit and just haven’t managed it yet and then I use that. It is my project and this is the way it will work for me. Don’t make this so difficult that your project becomes a chore rather than a pleasure.
One last thing: please don’t make a 365 revolve around your kids, they will not enjoy being in front of the camera every single day for 365 days! So with 2014 just around the corner I wish you all a fantastic New Year and may it be full of happiness, smiles and belly laughs!!!