In an attempt to document the important moments in my life, I recently started my own photo-a-day challenge, also known as project 365, where I challenge myself to take one daily picture for an entire year. The combination of social networks and digital photography has played an important role in making this kind of projects very popular.  I was introduced to the project by one of my friends who started on January 1st and she posts her photo-a-day challenge pictures on Facebook every day.

After reading about it, I realized that taking one picture for an entire year can be very challenging to most people.  After a while, it becomes difficult to figure out what to take pictures of.   After doing some research myself for my own project I have compiled a list of ideas to help others and myself complete this project.

Ideas to find subjects

  1. Choose a different theme for each month.  For example,  focus on taking pictures of landscapes in January, portraits in February, animals in March, fruits in April, flowers in May, insects in June, tasty dishes in July, birds in August, works of art in September, cars in October, beverages in November, Christmas trees in December, or something like that. Focus on your own interests.  Other great subjects can be related to boats, cars, fishing, music, sports, or even cars.
  2. Take pictures based on colors.  You may select a different color for an entire day or week. If you choose to represent green, you may take pictures of fruits, vegetables, leaves, cars or even a grasshopper; then, switch to a different color, like red, blue, yellow, pink, orange or any other color you could think of.
Credit: Creative Commons/Phillip Taylor
  1. Take pictures based on the alphabet.  Start by taking pictures of subjects that start with the letter A, like apples, airplanes or people whose name start with an A.  You may  also photograph objects that resemble a letter A.   Using the alphabet can help you create a fair amount of pictures for weeks.  It will really put those creative juices to work to find an interesting subject to photograph.   Some people take this challenge to the next level and use the Greek alphabet to guide them.
  2. Use descriptive adjectives to guide your search for subjects.  Make your own set of adjectives, probably the ones you use the most in your daily communication.  Words like ambitious, beautiful, fierce, happy, huge or tiny, among many others, will unleash your creativity to put together interesting compositions.
  3. Focus on human emotions and/or expressions.  Emotions like courage, fury, gratefulness, happiness, loneliness, or sadness can be interesting subjects, and can be quite a challenge to capture.  You may also concentrate on the expressions of emotions, such as hugs, hands-holding, kisses, smiles, surprise or tears.
Credit: Creative Commons / Michelle Tribe

6.  Look for geometric and non-geometric shapes.  Imagine chasing around everything with a circular, rectangular, or squared shape.  In addition, finding heart-shaped or star-shaped objects may be quite interesting, especially in nature-related subjects, such as animals, clouds, crowds, flowers, fruits, rocks or trees.  A great example is the heart formed by the two swans in the picture.

Credit: Creative Commons / Mozzercork

Ideas to Share your Photos with Others

A photo-a-day challenge becomes more interesting when sharing it with others.  Other people can provide valuable feedback about your work, especially if you are interested in improving your photography skills.  In addition, other people’s feedback is a great way to encourage you to continue and carry on with the project. Through the Internet you will find numerous ways to share your everyday pictures with others. Here you have a few options.

  1. Personal blog – An interesting way to approach this project is by using a personal photo blog. Free platforms like blogger or tumblr, will allow you to build a story around your everyday pictures and keep them all together in one place without spamming your friends  in other social networks with your feeds. You may allow people to post comments about your pictures and it can be a more personal and private way to share your pictures.
  2. Photo sharing sites – Photo sharing sites, like Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest or Shuttercal, provide an opportunity to join a community of people that might be working on a similar project and share the same interests.  It will be easier for you to exchange information and support each other.  Shuttercal, will allow you organize and post your pictures in a calendar format.
  3. Social networks – Sites, like Facebook or Twitter, can make your photo-a-day challenge a social project.  Sharing your project on these sites may become really valuable to your far away friends or family members who will be glad to know everything that is going on in your life.  They will be grateful about you sharing the pictures with them.  If you’d like, you may set up your privacy settings to select specifically who may see your pictures and who may not.
Credit: Creative Commons / June Campbell

Ideas to Display your Work

  1. Photo book – This is the option I have chosen for my own project.  With the help of sites, such as Blurb or Shutterfly, you may easily design your own photo book page by page.  These sites allow you to select the size and dimensions of your book, the type of cover and the finishing of the pages. I selected this option because it’s easier for me and I would love to have a professional looking book at the end of my project. With this option, I can do everything on my computer and have it printed when I ‘m done.  The book  will serve as a great accomplishment for completing this project.
  2. Printed materials – Most of the free software available online to edit your pictures provide the option of buying all kinds of printed materials, like caps, mugs, mouse pads, t-shirts and about anything that can be printed.  You can create a custom made calendar using your favorite pictures to represent each month and day of the year, or a poster putting all your pictures together in one place.
  3. Scrapbook – You may create a scrapbook including all your pictures and design each page as you wish according to the meaning of each picture to you.  You may add some comments and the story behind each picture.  This option requires for you to invest in scrapbooking materials and it requires more time to produce each of the pages. It can be an excellent hobby if you have the time.
  4. Video – Creating a video can be a great idea.  You may include sounds, music, or even your own voice narrating the story behind a picture or a series of pictures.  Because of the sound element, a video can be a powerful tool to put together all those memories.  However, it might require some technical knowledge and software to incorporate all the elements and make a professional looking video that you can share with your friends and family when it’s ready.

Photo-a-day challenge is a great way to improve your photography skills after taking pictures  for 365, you will definitely learn something new.  It is also a great way to have something to remember each day of that year.  It will bring you closer to your distant loved ones and it may motivate you to try and do different things in an effort to produce more interesting pictures.  Completing a project like this will help you  see the world around you with a fresh perspective and feel accomplished.