project 365 - tips and tricks $

I was asked the other day if I had tips for anybody starting project 365 or thinking about starting project 365. I have so many I think I could write a book. Here are some off the top of my head:

1. Transfer your photos to the computer. Don't let your camera sit around with weeks and weeks of pictures on it. Transfer them to the computer and look at them. Work on them in photo editing software if you want. Just make sure you pull them from your camera on a regular basis.

2. Post your photos somewhere. Blog them, post them to Facebook, upload them to Flickr. The method you choose doesn't matter as long as you put them somewhere. You don't necessarily have to make them public. You can setup a Blogger account and set your blog as private so only you can see your posts. If you decided to make them public, you will gain a following and you will find that people will start to look forward to your pictures and will question you if you miss a day. That will do wonders to keep you motivated. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you have a dedicated spot for all of your pictures and thoughts.

3. Capture the stories behind the photos. You may think you are going to remember them, but you won't. The moments are fleeting and trust me - when you sit back at the end of the year and go through all of your pictures, they won't mean as much without the backstory.

4. Take your pictures early in the day. Don't give yourself a chance to forget. Get it out of the way just in case you don't get another opportunity. If you come up with another idea later in the day, great. You'll have an extra picture for the day or maybe you'll end up with one that you like better.

5. Backup your pictures. And while you are at it, have a backup of your backup. I burn all of my images to DVD and I copy them onto an external hard drive. You can never be too careful. I've had several times I've gone to find a picture and the disk is either missing or blank. If that happens, you have another copy. The other important thing is to turn your external drive off when you aren't using it. If a virus hits your computer and it's on, it will also be hit.

6. Don't be lazy. When a photograph worthy moment occurs, go get your camera immediately. Don't wait for another opportunity or tell yourself you'll take it later. Take it right then and there or you will regret it.

7. Take your camera with you everywhere you go. Don't leave it at home. The second you leave it at home, you are going to need it and wish you had it.

8. You don't need a fancy tripod. At some point during your 365, it's going to be late in the evening and you are going to realize you haven't taken your photo for the day. You've got two choices - you can use your flash or you can use available light. If you go without the flash, you are going to need to keep the camera as steady as possible. Forget the tripod. A sturdy surface is all you need.

9. Look around and get inspiration from others. I'm not saying copy them. I'm saying look around. What are other people doing? What are they taking pictures of? See what they are doing and draw inspiration from it. Make a list of ideas and post it on the fridge or put it in your camera bag. Then the next time you have no idea what you are going to take a picture of, you have a list.

10. Keep going even if you miss a day. So you missed a day - big deal. Take two pictures the next day. Don't let the whole project fall apart because of one forgotten picture. If you find it too hard to remember and it's getting to difficult, then take all of your pictures on the weekend. Take seven shots on Sunday, edit them all and if you go the blog route, you can create all of your posts at once and set them to publish in the future.

So there you go. What are you waiting for? I'm starting year three of this journey and I love it. I have three baby books sitting on a bookcase empty and I haven't picked up my video camera in over a year but I still have enough memories to last a lifetime. Sure, I don't get much sleep and every year I wonder what on earth I have gotten myself into and should I continue but that's because I've chosen to capture as much as I can and I am not about to stop. There is nothing more rewarding than submitting a year's worth of images and receiving a hardbound book back. The feeling is indescribable and it makes every second of this project worthwhile. Good luck!


Darla said…
great tips! i too cannot imagine not doing this. i DO however wish i had more knowledge about editing, making books and messing around with my photos.
Sujomi said…
I cannot agree with you more! I had my 2009 365 project hardbound (through BLURB) and will be doing the same with my 2010 pictures. My kids are also enjoying it. The oldest daughter has already laid claim to the 2009 book when I die (so comforting to know that she already has plans for my stuff after I go. LOL)
Thanks for the great tips Jen! I can say after week one I am still super excited about starting this. I need to start some editing though,(never done that before) Can you recommend a good EASY program?
Amanda Pfeifer said…
Great tips!
I am starting again this year, for round two. It's hard to stop once you get started.. it becomes so routine. I love being a photojournalist for my family :)
Jennifer said…
Thanks everyone! Darla and Jen - I would recommend trying Photoshop Elements. Although I've never used it, it's a smaller scale and more user friendly version of Photoshop. I learned Photoshop myself by just poking around. All you really need is a crash course in the basics. I don't do much to my photos. I sharpen them, up the exposure a little bit (my camera shoots a little dark), increase the contrast and saturation a bit and then I crop and save for the web. That's about it.

The most important thing I can recommend is to shoot in RAW. It's more forgiving and makes editing so much easier.

Good luck! Let me know if you have questions and I will help in any way I can.

Suzy - My kids like looking through the book from last year (it's of course up REALLY high where they can't get it) but like you I only printed one copy. I'd like to print two more so each of the kids has one, but at $100 a pop I'll need to save a bit first! Good luck with this year's book!
Becky said…
Thanks for these tips...
Just came across your blog and this post. What encouragign tips! Thanks for passing along what you have learned.