Have you ever considered doing a photography project 365 (a daily photo journal over the span of one year)? This has been on my photography bucket-list since I picked up a camera, as I knew this would be an incredible way to document a year in our lives through photographs. The great thing about this type of project is that anyone can do it, whether using a DSLR, point-and-shoot, or an iPhone. Keep scrolling to find out my 10 tips for completing a photography Project 365, and to see some of my favorite images from 2020.
Okay okay, I know I’m starting with an obvious one. After all, this is one of the main reasons to do a daily photo journal in the first place, right? After looking back at our year, it was fun to see the connections Eloise had with her various family members, and how those shined through in the photographs. At the end of the year, I had so many special images of Eloise with her daddy…
with her grandparents…
with her cousins…
and of course, with our dog Uzi.
There is so much more than golden-hour light! Doing a Project 365 means that you get to use and showcase so many different types of light. When shooting indoors, you can use soft light, harsh light, backlight, bokeh light, artificial light, and more.
When shooting outdoors, the possibilities are endless. In these favorites, I used rim light, backlight, diffused light, flat light, and harsh mid-day sun.
There were times during my Project 365 that I definitely struggled to find the motivation to take one more (potentially boring) photo. To get your creative juices flowing and to keep things fresh, I suggest finding a new perspective or trying an interesting composition. You can shoot from above or below…
or you can use leading lines,
or you can shoot from behind a door or object, get down on the floor, or frame your subject creatively.
Another goal of mine for my Project 365 was to find and capture the beauty in our everyday life. After the world changed and we found ourselves at home more than we ever thought was possible, this became even more important to me. I really enjoyed capturing the little things like bedtime routines, meal times, play times, etc.
Every once in a while, try to have fun creating a new portrait of your kiddo or family member. Remember that there are no rules, and that your subject doesn’t even have to be smiling.
Life happens in motion, especially with littles ones! Movement can really make your photos come to life and you can feel the energy coming from them. Get your kiddos running and jumping, and use wind or water to really have some fun!
Childhood is intense. There’s just no way around that. Goodness knows, it is not all unicorns and rainbows at our house all the time, and I’m willing to bet it’s the same at yours. I’m not suggesting you press your kiddos when they don’t feel like taking photos, but we all know that happy moods sometimes turn on a dime and that’s where several of these came from! It’s nice to look back and see some real-life emotions in these photos – the joy, frustration, thoughtfulness, sadness, intensity, etc.
As our kiddos grow, sometimes the littlest details are the hardest to remember. Be sure to snag a few photos of the tiny details, like first pigtails, the way they hold a crayon, eyelashes, & dirty feet at the end of the day.
Sometimes nobody feels like being in a photo, and that’s okay! Other times, it’s nice to take some shots just for you. This is a great time for landscapes, flat-lays, nature, etc.
When you’re the photographer in the family, you rarely find yourself in the photos themselves. While this sometimes takes some planning ahead, or asking another family member to snap the photo for you, I can guarantee you’ll never regret getting in the frame. After all, your kiddos want to see you in their photo memories too!
If you’re considering a photography Project 365, I have a few final pieces of advice.
Be sure to have your camera sitting out / accessible in the house, and take it with you on at least some outings.
Don’t pressure yourself to get the “perfect shot” every day. You’re bound to end up having favorites and some that you feel are more boring, but the project as a whole comes out beautifully.
Give yourself some (okay a lot of) grace! I ended up having a photo from about 90% of the days in 2020. In a pandemic year where we were mostly stuck at home, I’m considering that a success. Remember that the point of this project isn’t to have a perfect record but rather to document your life, grow your skills, and push your creativity.
When you’re done, make a photo album. This is next on my to-do list, and I’m always so excited to see my images in print. Nothing would be worse than doing all that hard work, and then leaving all your photos on a hard drive to never be seen or enjoyed in real life!
If you’re interested but still sort of intimidated by the idea of a photo every day for a year, you could even start small with a Project 31 and see how you feel about it! Whatever you decide, just keep documenting your life and family. I promise you won’t regret it!