As we begin this new year, the Creative Team is sharing thoughts on our varying approaches to our 365 Picture Today projects as well as what this daily project has meant to each of us over the years. Our hope is that in the words here you will find encouragement and inspiration, whether this is your first year taking a photo a day or you have been snapping every day for many years.
What first made you start a photo a day project?
I was like many here, I loved to take photos but only took my camera out on special occasions like holidays, and birthdays. Then I got my first iphone and suddenly I had a camera with me all the time! Thinking back, I can honestly say I had no idea what I was signing up for, but I was hooked from the start. I completed that first 365 solely with my cell phone and to say I learned a lot would be an understatement.
When I retired, I decided to take up photography on a more serious level. I wanted to take photos, but I had no idea what to take photos of. I was running out of ideas. I found the 365 challenge online and decided it was just what I needed. By giving me ideas of what to shoot, I had a reason to pick up my camera every day.
I have always loved taking photos. I was following along with Amy Jordan’s first 365 Project and became very interested. She invited me to the CY365 Group and I was hooked! I’m going into my 10th year now!
Back in the late spring and early summer of 2012, I did a 100 Day Project. I didn't know much about my camera, or really much about serious photography. What I did know was that I enjoyed looking for something each day to photograph. When those hundred days ended and I no longer had a "project," I felt lost and began looking for a way to fill that void. I found CY365. I have now taken a photo a day every single day since January 1, 2013.
I was given a DSLR for my birthday in 2013 and then it sat on my desk not doing anything except for the occasional use and it was always on Auto. So, I decided on 1st January 2014 to look for inspiration on the internet, which led me to do a 365 project, which lead me to this group.
It was the summer of 2015 when, as a teacher, I had some extra time on my hands. When I saw a Picture of the Day post by a friend on Facebook, I was intrigued. Assured that phone pics were allowed, I gave it a go. And here I am almost a decade later!
My two best friends and I started our own Photo a Day project which we did for a few years. We took turns making our own monthly lists and only posted to one another in a private album. While searching for list ideas I came across Capture Your 365, which morphed into 365 Picture Today and here you will still find me 8 years later!
What has kept you motivated and inspired through the years?
Two things have kept me motivated. First is the photos that I now have. When I look back over the years, I have captured so much that I wouldn’t have if not for the prompts and the daily habit. Secondly, the community. I would miss keeping us with everyone if I stopped!
I want to keep picking up my camera every day. I also have found that I really enjoy documenting my daily life. I can look back on pretty well any of my photos and remember the specific day I took it.
Taking a photo a day has become a part of who I am. In ten years I can only think of one time that I didn’t post a photo. It was a day of intense tragedy. Other than that, even on the busy, crazy, hectic and even bad days, it’s a priority for me to take and post a photo. I like to take my photo early in the morning before I start my day… it keeps me on track and then I carry on with the rest of my day.
There are so many seemingly insignificant moments and small details of my life that surely would have been forgotten, or gone unnoticed in the first place, had I not been prompted to take a photo each day. To have all those memories documented is a priceless gift. After all these years, I can't imagine abandoning this project.
These memories also include all of the friends that I have made through this community along the way. I've been lucky to meet many in person. But even those of you who I only see on Facebook or Instagram have widened what I consider to be my circle of friends.
Wanting to improve my creativity and my photos keeps me going. Sometimes it is hard to take a photo every day; some days I have missed, but not that many. I might have missed days posting to the group, but usually I have taken a photo. I find that this community has made me want to carry on. I can’t miss out on all those great photos that I see daily from all around the world.
Two things keep me motivated: streak-keeping and friendships. I’m a streak-keeping sucker, so a photo-a-day project is perfect. I also have a 365 streak on the Bible app www.YouVersion.com and a 500+ day streak on the language app www.Duolingo.com! Told you I was a sucker for streaks!
Friendships. I’ve built them through attending and hosting 365 meet-ups. I've teamed up with fellow 365-er Tracy Bitcon on Duolingo. I’ve had members reach out during hardships. It happens here!
I am a goal oriented person! If you say “let’s run a 5 km race”, I’ll say “let’s do a marathon!” If you say “let’s go on a hike”, I’ll say “let’s climb Mount Kilimanjaro”. If you say “let’s take a picture a day for a year”, I’ll say “let’s take a picture a day for ever!” It’s how I roll!
How have you and your photography changed during your years of taking a photo a day?
I’ve become more relaxed about following the prompts exactly…maybe a little too relaxed at times! One thing hasn’t change - I don’t look ahead at the prompts! I like to be surprised when I open my email.
I’ve learned a lot about different photography techniques that I don’t think I would have learned otherwise. I’ve learned a lot from others in this group. There are a lot of amazingly creative minds in this group. I love being part of this community. I can’t even imagine ever wanting to walk away.
My photography has improved tremendously. My first year photos were TERRIBLE! I can’t believe how awful they were. LOL. But I learned lots that year and then I got brave. I started taking on-line and in-person courses and stepping out of my comfort zone. When my Daughter-in law (who has since passed) wanted family photos before starting breast cancer treatment, I taught myself to shoot in raw and edit in Lightroom. Those two things made a world of difference in how images looked. I have gained so much confidence since that time! I’m actually proud of my images now.
I have become much more confident with who I am. Every photo I take as part of this project is a true reflection of who and what I am. Sometimes that means that the image of me that my images portray may be raw or not very pretty. I'm now OK with that. Authenticity has become my primary goal with my photography.
My first year of photos are technically awful. I spent that year doing a lot of learning and figured out how to really use my camera as a tool of expression. That said, I'm still learning and growing. I thought for awhile that I needed to establish a personal style, but I now think that is not possible for me. My thoughts and feelings are fluid, therefore how I express them with my camera is also fluid.
The second week of taking a photo a day, I put my camera into manual, and have been learning ever since. I had the Adobe Suite of apps since at least 2004 as I am a graphic designer and a web developer. I would spend hours on other people’s photos in Photoshop to get the photos up to spec for catalogues, brochures, posters, and websites. But Lightroom Classic was new to me; I now find it so helpful to catalogue and edit my photos and I love all the extra pre-sets that you can find to make the job easier for you.
I think the change to my actual photos has been organic. They have changed with me over the years. If you practice at something every day you don’t see the changes so much yourself until you look back. I think I automatically know more or less what setting to put my camera on and how to look through the view-finder and find the photo that I want to take. In the beginning, I would take thousands of photos and I wasn’t happy with any of them. These days, I can see the photo I want to take and I can see if it is going to make a good photo before I press the shutter. And yes, if I take a few shots of the same thing, I usually go back to the first one.
My attitude. My streaks have been broken, sometimes for long periods, but I don’t beat myself up anymore. One tough year I challenged myself to post for just one month. That led to another and I was soon back on the wagon.
My competency. Google and Facebook send those “On This Day” memories. Although the memory is pleasing, the quality can be embarrassing. But it shows me that I'm improving thanks to the group’s support and inspiration. And thanks to a better camera!
My confidence. I actually might post a selfie with little make-up! (I didn’t say “none!” ;-) )
Tremendously! I went from “f stop-what” and “iso-huh” to totally understanding my camera and owning it. I can problem solve by thinking it through. I owe that to PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE which is exactly what taking a picture a day does. I also really study the photos of our fabulous members and learn something everyday. After all these years, I’ve developed my own style and that was a major goal for me.
Here is an image from each member of the Creative Team taken during the first week of this year.
We have included the technical information for each of our photos.
Iphone 11 26mm lens ISO 160 SS 1/60 Aperture f1.8
Canon 6D Mark II with my 24-105mm lens at. 24mm ISO 5000 SS 1/160 Aperture f5
I edited in Lightroom by increasing exposure, lifting the shadows and increasing the vibrancy. I also used the denoise feature to cut down the grain.
I started my 365 project the year Charlie was born (2017). My goal was to document his childhood by taking at least one photo of Charlie each month. For the most part, I’ve actually stuck to that goal. He is most definitely my number one photography subject. This photo is my first of Charlie for 2024 and I included the walker as it documents the fact that I’m currently recuperating from knee surgery.
Canon 5D Mark IV Canon 100mm macro lens ISO 640 SS 1/125 Aperture f4
I edited the photo in Lightroom with these adjustments: Reduced Highlights Increased shadows Increased clarity Increased whites Reduced orange and green saturation Added a light vignette.
Nikon D850 85mm prime lens ISO 520 SS 1/125 Aperture f 5.6
Edited in Photoshop to increase contrast, add warmth, add a vingette.
I like to document the things I make throughout the year. Most of the things that I knit have a story about why I made it, where I bought the yarn, where I was knitting, who received it. I like to include those pieces of the story in my photos if possible.
Canon EOS R5 - Lens - EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM - 1/1250 sec at f/3.5, ISO 800
Edited in Lightroom Classic - I cropped slightly so the that on one side wasn't spoiling the vibe. I used the Preset: Surreal Edge Effect - Strong , then lower the Exposure, Blacks, upped the Texture, Contrast, Vibrance and the Delhaize Amount, all this helped to see the snow flakes.
Sony a6000 mirrorless ISO 400, SS 1/13 (to blur the broom) Aperture f18
My day-one photo--sweeping the old out the front door--checked some resolution boxes: using a self-timer, a tripod, and applying edits. Luckily that morning, no one noticed my set-up on the front porch! In Photoshop, I applied and distorted the text with “Motion Blur.” I also wanted this photo to remind me of resolutions for personal growth.
canon EOS R with RF24-105 mm lens ISO 640 SS 1/60 Aperture f4
The only post processing I did was change the exposure just a tiny bit in Lightroom.
Whatever your "WHY" and however you choose to approach and execute your photo project is the right way. Know that we, the Creative Team, as well as the many talented members of this community are always here and willing to answer any questions that you may have or to give you support and encouragement when you feel like the creative juices aren't flowing as freely as you would like.