August 27, 2019

What I’ve Learned From My 365 Project | Lorton, VA Family Photographer

I’m halfway through my 365 project this year. Yes, it’s August. I started late, but I do what I want. With every family session I do, I grow more and more in my photography. That being said, I still learned more in creating my 365 photos. Sound crazy? First, let me explain the parameters of my 365 project. Everyone does theirs differently, but my rules are to take a photo every single day for 365 days. Subject matter doesn’t matter to me. I just wanted practice using my camera every day.

I learned that SPEED with the camera is key. Most of my shots are of my toddlers who are of course super quick. They may be doing something in perfect lighting and I am at just the right angle. But I have to be ready right then, with the right settings, or the moment is gone. I am able to whip the camera out, jump to where I need to be, get the settings right, and take the shot. Sometimes this isn’t necessary, but I feel confident I can do it when needed.

I learned MY CAMERA like the back of my hand. I know exactly where the dial is to knock the aperture down, which way this button turns to make the shutter speed faster, this button holds the focus, etc. I carry it with us wherever we go, waiting for a moment to strike. I can change the settings without looking and can almost accurately guess the settings in any given lighting. This muscle memory goes hand-in-hand with the “speed” lesson.

I learned how to make the best of every LIGHTING. Like I said, I basically carry it wherever we go. Indoor shots (with mostly yucky indoor lighting) are not the conditions I usually shoot in and still have to make the best of it. Low lighting situations also add new ways of seeing things.

I learned how to dump and EDIT my pictures every day (or every other day) and in a timely manner. I had to organize my folders so I know exactly where to store and edit the photos. My family sessions and 365 photos are kept in separate locations because having them anywhere close would drive me insane. My editing in Lightroom has skyrocketed in quality and speed in the last 6 months. I learn a ton about editing during my family session edits, but the different lighting and various kind of my 365 photos teach me all sorts of new things.

I learned how to find CREATIVITY when I felt that I couldn’t muster any. Some days are filled with sparks of amazing moments and I have 60 photos to go through to find my one photo of the day. Other days (like when we are sick at home all day or when we run errands or do housework) are seemingly lacking any moment worth photographing. I taught myself to always to looking for a photograph. Always see things with a fresh perspective and never think anything isn’t worth photographing. I learned to keep my eye at the ready, my camera on the main level of the house, and to dive into the moment. 

If you want to take your photography to the next level then start your own 365 project. You can start today because you make the rules.