I need a new photo project

I managed to stick the course and completed my Project 365 last year. While taking a photo every day sometimes seemed like a chore, I took some photos that I really love over the course of the year. Photos that I never would have taken had I not had to find something to photograph every day.

Since finishing Project 365 however I’ve found myself hardly taking any photos. Doing a bit of self-analysis, one reason is that with Project 365 I had to take a photo, it didn’t have to be a good photo, I just had to take one. I could upload it to Flickr and if it was rubbish I had the excuse of Project 365 – any photo better than none! Over the course of the year I did become better at photography, and also in looking at photos and being aware of what a “good photograph” was. A year ago if a photo was in focus and vaguely the correct exposure I was pleased with it, now I delete photos that are easily as good as some of those early ones.

So I need a new project, something that makes me take photos and gives me an excuse to not worry about dodgy ones. Perhaps to learn about some specific area of photography, with the weather in the UK recently it had probably better be an indoor project, or one that involves dirty great clouds and drizzly rain! One of the nice things about Project 365 was the Flickr community surrounding it and everyone commenting on each others photos, so something that has a bunch of people doing it would be great – any suggestions?


Chris Casciano January 19, 2008 Reply

How about 1 really good photo a week? Something you’d want to care about exposure and sharpness. Something you’d want to bring into photoshop to put the finishing touches on.

Myself that’s what I’ll be focusing on doing more of anyway. I’ve gotten comfortable with shooting again after the last year or two, but I find I’m just too happy making public photos that I didn’t take the 5 or 10 minutes to “finish”.

That said, I didn’t do the 365 thing yet because I just don’t “get” imposing obligations on a hobby. Its there for yourself, to focus on something other then obligations and be creative in ways you normally wouldn’t. So an obligation like 365 – or even saying to yourself that you “need” to shoot instead of taking a break when you’re not feeling it – doesn’t appeal to me.

Ollie January 20, 2008 Reply

You could investigate Macro, B&W or even get your old school Film camera out and give that a go.

But actually I keep doing what you’re already doing, except I’m not sure that calling it ‘Project 365’ is a particularly good idea. How about ‘Photo a day’.

Chris Casciano January 22, 2008 Reply

indeed, gear is another angle… a community lie the Strobist folks are real active if what you need is communnity and feed bac.

Another option would be joining a local photo group either via flickr or old school in person thing [or both!] I’ve run out with some other local photographers a few times and its good fun.

Tim Parkin February 20, 2008 Reply

I’d second the Strobist route.. Do a 365 project but for still life inside stuff using some cheap lights lights… You could do food & flowers (Forkd would appreciate some better pictures?).

Dustin Diaz August 26, 2008 Reply

I’m all for limitation projects. Basically that means, anything that would limit you in your photographic options that will ultimately force you to be more creative with your photography. This can be one of several things. In ‘ul’ fashion:

  • Have a photo of the week (as suggested above)
  • Shoot only with a prime lens (non-zoom)
  • shoot only in Black and White
  • Limit the number of photos (pretend you only have 24 photos like film)
  • shoot with a fixed manual setting (one you don’t normally shoot with: Eg: all shots must be f/16 @ ISO 400)

In the end, there are all sorts of limiting factors. I generally think these are great ways to boost your creativity because you become a specialist over time and master certain crafts of photography.

Nevertheless, I think your first step was a good one (the 365 project) by taking a photo every day. Now you just need to work your scenes more. Make your photos tell stories rather than being a documenter. Basically, the world doesn’t need another macro of a flower… or a subject that shows off how great your camera and/or lens is. I’ve found that when I first got into photography, I really paid attention to EXIF info on people’s photos… and that the GREAT photos I forget to even look at the EXIF.

Anyway, that’s enough ramble. I’m curious to see what you end up doing in your next photo project.

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