It’s a big deal. Starting the 365 project is something that I’ve always been wanting to try, but never set up any clear plans to do so. I tried using the iPhone camera for a few days but after some disappointment with low-quality images, I let it go pretty quickly. So far 2016 has become a really big year of investing in myself in every aspect of my life. So again, I start thinking about photography and how I can improve my craft and the 365 project came right back into mind.
So why start the 365 project? The main reason is because I feel like I need to spend more time with my camera outside of shooting weddings and portraits. Sure, every now and then I grab my camera when we’re heading somewhere photo-worthy, but all in all, I definitely feel like I need and want more time with my camera. I want to know my camera to the point where the settings are second nature. And yeah, I know my settings now and I do shoot manual, but I’m still processing information every time I change my settings. That’s what I want to become second nature. The second reason I want to start the 365 project is to become more quickly aware of my surroundings and the way light falls on objects. Starting the 365 project will remind me to look at the light and understand the different qualities of light. So that said, I want to be a Jedi camera master.
So what is the 365 project? It’s an intention to photograph one image per day, for a full year or 365 consecutive days. In all honesty, my main goal past the one image per day is simply to have my camera with me more often. The 365 project will do just that!
5 STEPS TO START YOUR 365 PROJECT
Step 1: Set your intentions. That’s pretty much covered for me now. 🙂
Step 2: Set a date! My start date is today: my birthday! It’s an easy way for me to keep track of when I started & when to stop the project. (plus it gave me a reason to buy so many toys!)
Step 3: Look for obstacles. This was huge for me. I had to figure out why the 365 project never worked out before or what stopped me from trying it again. First and foremost, the camera phone did not work for me at all. The quality was nowhere near what I wanted if for some reason I scored the holy grail of images. In my mind, there just wasn’t enough reward. Secondly, the camera I have right now is too bulky with any of the lenses I own and carrying it every single day seemed ridiculous. Three, any of the [multiple] camera bags I own either look like camera bags or are way too big for me to carry comfortably on a daily basis.
Step 4: Create a plan for success. When I got to this part I got really excited. I knew I didn’t want to purchase a new smaller camera body because the expense was just too much, so I decided to stay with the camera body I had. I did know that any of the lenses I owned were too big to carry around on a daily basis so I was going to look for a lighter option that still offered some quality. I also thought about just carrying my camera around me with a neck or body strap but that would make my camera too noticeable. Obviously, I knew I needed a bag that didn’t look like a camera bag, that was both small and would be able to carry my camera and personal items.
Step 5: Get prepared! Oh, this was fun! I checked to see what I already had and what I thought would help me continue this project all the way through the 365 days. Here is what I decided on:
- 5D Mark II Camera Body: still works like a tank and provides great image quality.
- Multiple CF Cards: For most of my weddings and shoots I tend to use the 32GB cards, however, I do have some 4GB & 8GB which will now be used primarily for this project.
- Canon 40mm 2.8 pancake lens: Originally I thought about getting a standard 50mm but after I found this pancake lens and how tiny it is compared to any other lens, I thought it was perfect for the project and small enough for me to carry it everywhere. Plus, it’s relatively cheap so if I bump it or break it, it won’t kill me to get a replacement.
- SpiderPro Hand Strap: The idea of carrying a neck strap or body strap for my camera seemed too bulky but I knew I wanted to feel secure when I was shooting, aka I don’t trust myself. The hand strap is the perfect solution! Both small, comfortable and super secure!
- Kenko Extension Tube: I’ve had these babies for a while and I adore them. They’re small enough that I can always pack one in my bag and not notice it but they allow you to do so much more when one lens. PERFECT!
- Ona Bowery Bag: This may have been my big splurge for the project (hence why my birthday is a perfect excuse to start the project). It’s literally perfect. It looks amazing, it’s small, fits everything I need safely plus it has just enough room for my essentials. Best of all, it doesn’t look like a camera so I won’t’ freak all my friends out when I carry it around.
So that’s it. I’m officially starting the 365 project today! I hope this helps guide others who might be interested in doing a similar project.
Until next blog!