That's how many photos I've taken over the past three years.
In actual fact I've taken a great deal more photographs than that, frequently I take 1100 photos in a day if we've had a special family trip out somewhere. However I have taken at least one photograph, every day, for the past three years. The reason for this happy snapping is something called the 365 Project: A Photo A Day, Every Day, For A Year; I couldn't stop now even if I tried!
I have posted every one of those photographs on this blog under the 365 page, and it is a wonderful thing to look back on. During the past few years there have been many everyday and ordinary moments with my son and family that I would have normally forgotten. I skim through the photographs of my 365 projects and suddenly a wave of memories engulf me and I am there; I'm in the garden watching three generations of my family having a snowball fight. I cannot emphasise enough how wonderful a project it is, or how fulfilling it is to take the photograph on the last day of the year knowing that you've done it!
I've learnt a few things over the past three years that make completing a 365 Project easier, and I thought I'd share them for anyone embarking on a project this year.
Tips For Completing a 365 Photo A Day Project
- Snap, snap and snap again:
- This is the first and foremost guideline. I personally feel it is better to have taken ten photographs throughout the course of the day and have the choice to select the best or most apt, than to struggle to find one for the day. Developing a habit of taking photographs is not difficult and becomes second nature very quickly. I'm a bit of an expert at whipping out my phone and capturing The Boy before he's even noticed.
- And if the worse thing happens and it gets to bedtime and you've forgotten to take a photograph, there's nothing better than a sleeping child shot. Use a torch to illuminate them and provide a warm glow rather than the flash which is harsh and risks waking your child up!
- Always have a camera to hand:
- It doesn't matter whether it's a phone camera or a swanky dSLR, I've often heard the expression that the best camera to have is the one in your hand. Children won't pause for you to run and get the proper camera, they also won't repeat it if you missed it as the setting was the wrong one. Photography is art, but it's also about capturing a moment. For most parents it will be entirely about remembering their child at that point in time, when you look back at the photograph in a year you won't care if it was take on a mobile phone or an £800 camera, just that it was taken.
- I had a general folder for all my 365 photos in the first year and I numbered them as to which of the 365 days they were. Disaster! During the 2013 project I set up a folder for each month and named each photograph using the date format with the day in brackets, e.g. 1st January 2014 (Wednesday). It makes it easier for me to find the relevant photographs quickly, and to check that I've got them all!
- Sometimes a photograph doesn't turn out quite as intended; the lighting might have been too dark or the colour is all wrong. Worse there may be a little photobombing incident, or a smudge or stain in the wrong place. Crop, lighten, clone or airbrush the mark. The queens of editing on mobile devices are HPMcQ and Point And Snap The World. I use Picmonkey.com to retrieve many a photograph. If the worst happens and a photograph is grainy and poorly exposed, I lighten the photograph, turn it black and white and put a little sepia filter on it. Suddenly I have an atmospheric and dramatic photograph which has been saved from the recycle bin.
- Challenge and Improve:
- Use the experience to hone your photography skills. I very quickly realised the importance of composing a photograph, if only to ensure there wasn't a pile of washing in the background or my shadow wasn't covering half of the subject. Work out how to take advantage of natural lighting to ensure the photograph is exposed properly or as backlighting, use the rule of thirds to help with composition, or use silhouettes to create a wonderful effect. A Party Of Seven has a fabulous series called Mammarazzi helping to explain some more advanced photography principles. You do not need a fancy camera to take fancy photos.
- Somewhere around the third month, you may well lose the desire to ever press the shutter button again. If this happens, set yourself a theme to interpret which will help freshen up your photography. The wonderful A Kilt And A Camera has used the themes 'Through' and 'From Where I Stand' for an entire year, the latter was a wonderful theme to interpret which I often borrowed in slow weeks. Likewise Carole Finds Her Wings has set herself weekly themes to follow and been very imaginative. I've also used the FatMumSlim Instagram prompts, and Britmums provide Snap Happy suggestions.
- 365 and Blogging:
- If posting on a blog to take part in a linky like the one I host, it is easier to do a weekly round-up post than to post daily as that is very restrictive on your free time. I use Picmonkey.com to create a collage of my seven photographs which I put into one post and write a description for each day. I also have a separate page on my self-hosted blog to keep my 365 posts on so as not to flood the main home page. Ensure that the photographs aren't too small otherwise your audience won't be able to see them properly, most websites accommodate a width of 500 pixels.
- Doing a 365 project should be about capturing the every day and the fun, it should be enjoyed and not feel like a chore. Capture the fun.
Other tips provided by the 365 bloggers who join in with my linky each week are:
- Don't beat yourself up when you forget and end up with a photo of the washing up or the book you're reading.
- Have spare batteries for your camera so you don't miss out on snaps when they run out!
- Pick a theme you can have fun with.
- Make your photos fit with your life, so its the good the bad and the ugly… it would be nice to have perfect well captured pics but its not going to happen in this house!
- Don't compare photos – just because someone else has taken a professional looking picture with an all singing all dancing dSLR camera, it doesn't make your quick phone snap any less important or meaningful!
- Don't worry about impressing anyone – it is a photo a day of your life and they are memories of your life and what is important to you. Even if it is a photo of a sleeping child, a flower in a vase or a meal you have cooked as long as it is important to you that is what matters. Don't feel stressed trying to take a better photo, just enjoy taking the ones you do.
With thanks to Jenny from Mummy Mishaps, Kate from Family Fever, Pippa from Redrose Mummy, Emma from The Mini Mes and Me, Jaime from The Oliver's Madhouse, Carole from Carole Finds Her Wings, Peg from A Kilt and A Camera, and Jo from Jo's Nursery for the above suggestions.