Project 365 {thoughts on an incredible year}

Three hundred and sixty five days. 31,358 pictures taken and moments captured that will last a lifetime. It was a huge project and it ruled my life the entire year. My house was more unorganized than usual and my other hobbies like card making and scrapbooking took a hit with me having a lot less time in my day to work with. I also found myself watching a lot less tv than usual (which is probably a good thing).

On the flip side, I learned to love my camera even more than I already did. I forced myself to be creative and I challenged myself to try new things and overcome my hatred of my flash. I tried to make 2009 a year full of activities and fun and to capture every moment that I could so my kids would have a record of the year. I think I was able to achieve that and then some.

I didn't write a word in any of the three baby books that are collecting dust on the bookcase. Instead I have 31,358 images backed up on 51 DVDs and an external hard drive. I have plans to make a coffee table book as well as a scrapbook containing 52 weeks of the stories behind the images. I might also make a book of my blog posts if I can figure out how to do it without it being as long as War & Peace. I plan to put pictures up around the house and the possibilities of other projects is endless.

As I type this it is now day three of 2010 and it's the third day in a row I have taken pictures. I'm not sure if I will be able to stick with it, but I am going to try because everywhere I look there are moments to capture. Moments that I never would have thought to capture before and moments that I can't not capture now having done Project 365.

Anyway, blah blah blah about me. Here are some random thoughts and recommendations I have upon completing this project. Maybe it will help you if you are already doing Project 365 or are thinking about doing it.

Blogger has been great for hosting my blog but if I were just starting my photo blog, it wouldn't be my first choice. If you are going to be posting multiple photos every day, Blogger is not the best choice. You have to add the pictures one at a time and in batches of five. When you are posting 10 images or more a day, this process takes forever. It became a major pain and a time waster. I would recommend looking for a blogging platform that has a Java uploader that works like Facebook where you can upload multiple photos at a time. It will save you a ton of time in the long run.

Photo a Day vs. A Day in the Life
I made my Project 365 into a much bigger project than I originally intended. It's supposed to be one picture a day for a year but I found myself capturing far more than that on my blog. Then halfway through the year I started posting them to Facebook and I ended up liking the simplicity of one photo per day and found it much easier and less overwhelming to navigate through. Anyway, at the end of the day, I find the day in the life approach better for me because I have three very active kids to keep up with and have no shortage of stories to tell. You have to pick what method is best for you.

Weekly Layouts
If you are a scrapbooker, don't get hung up on the weekly layouts. I crashed and burned on those halfway through and I was okay with that. As long as you are posting your pictures or keeping a record of the story behind the images somewhere on a regular basis, the stories will be waiting for you when you finally get around to it.

Learn Your Camera
Learn how to work with low light. Learn to make a tripod out of just about anything. There were many nights where I used the footboard on Ava's bed as a tripod or balanced my camera against my steering wheel to take a picture of my odometer. Don't be afraid to crank your iso as high as it goes. Sure the pictures might be a little bit grainy, but better grainy than blurry.

Look to other blogs for inspiration and see what other people are doing:
  • Shannon gave instructions on her blog on how to do a sunflare. I found that very inspiring and I had a lot of fun with those over the course of 2009.
  • Rochelle took beautiful pictures and her writing is both beautiful and fascinating.
  • Erika took a lot of really cool pictures in low light and took a lot of awesome pictures of food. Erika's partner also did Project 365 and it was fascinating to see how different their pictures were during the same time period.
  • Mari took many beautiful landscape shots and one day she posted a picture that her son took instead. It is absolutely stunning.
  • Suzy H did something very cool that I loved. Every day she posted her picture along with the time, place and subject. She also posted a quote that related to her picture. I loved this so much that I have decided that is a part of the modification I am going forward make this year. I will be posting the time and place with my pictures this year. Thanks Suzy for the inspiration!
  • Benton Flocke took one of the coolest shots ever of somebody blowing dandelions. You can see it in her blog header.
  • Sheri did the "a day in the life" format like I did and created many beautiful layouts showcasing her photos. Like many Project 365ers, she is thinking of doing it again this year.
  • Flohbock did Project 365 and is doing it again this year. It's a prime example that you don't have so speak the same language to appreciate photography. Thanks to Google translate, I also get to enjoy her stories.
  • Mara did Project 365 and although she didn't complete it, she is giving it another shot this year and I know she is going to rock it.
  • Tammy took beautiful pictures of her adorable kids. They have such personality and her pictures with flash had a beautiful, even light.
  • List Girl's pictures were awesome and the stories were inspirational. Most days she posted multiple pictures but she always made it clear what her favourite picture was because it had a note in the corner of the picture with a title and the date. I loved this. It's another thing I am looking at doing this year. Thanks for the inspiration!
Anyway, I could go on and on all day here. There were so many great Project 365 blogs this year so look around and see what you can find. The big thing to remember is to look at the big picture. Don't just go out and make the same picture. Make it your own.

Anyway, I've gone on for too long. I hope that somebody finds this helpful. I'll leave you with a layout I did last night using one of Chrissy W's newer templates:

Template: Sample pack 16 by Chrissy W at Elemental Scraps
Kit: Life is Good, Life 365 and various add ons by Gina Marie Huff at Weeds & Wildflowers
Alphabet: Life 365 by Gina Marie Huff at Weeds & Wildflowers
Font: Amertype BT Md

Thanks for looking!


Mara said…
I like the the lo!! Geez every year they get better and better. Thanks for the "shout out" lol It made me smile my dear ;-)) I hope you continue something. I will miss seeing the kiddies and your stories. ;-)
Anonymous said…
How thoughtful of you to share tips with others.
Your kindness touches so many are one of the very special people you meet as you pass through this life.
Thank you for the many memories and the inspiration you are to all of us.
Love Mom
listgirl said…
Hi Jennifer! Congrats on completing P365 in 2009! I've enjoyed looking at your photos and especially your daily stories. I was the same as you... just could not leave the stories out of my blog and stick to just one photo, LOL. That was what made it such an undertaking, but WAY worth it! I also agree about the weekly layouts. I burned out on those as well, but will try to finish them this year. Your summary post about P365 describes how I feel about it so well. And thanks for the shout-out to me too! :)