Project 365 :: Lessons and Inspiration

Project 365 2015 Tips & Inspiration by Ellingsen Photography

Late last year, I realized I was seriously in need of a big kick in the pants for my personal photography. Honestly, I hardly picked up my camera the whole year. While packing for my new place I came across the book I made the last time I did Project 365 and realized it was the perfect jump start. Three months in, I’m so glad I started back up! I’ve done it in years past and occasionally just for a month at a time. I can hardly believe it’s been so long since the last time.

Being such a visual person, I’ve found that these snapshots of my life help trigger all kinds of memories. Do you guys have that too? It’s amazing the little daily habits or events that you forget about – some changes happen so slowly, over such long periods of time, that this is often the only way I have to look back and see how far I’ve come as a person (which is one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place).

Side note: do you guys visualize when you’re reading a book? I’m terrible at remembering titles and quotes, but I can probably remember the storyline start to finish because I make it into a movie in my head. Just me? Yes? Okay, moving on….

Project 365 2015 Tips & Inspiration by Ellingsen Photography

So, to remind myself, and hopefully inspire others to give it a go, here’s a few tips about photo projects/challenges that I’ve learned over the years:

1) Chill. The. Fudge. Out.

This can be a tough one for me, but really think about it: in the end, it’s a project for no one but you. So cut yourself some slack if you miss a day. If you do it for 6 months and not 12 – HOORAY! You now have 182 more photos than you would have! And not every photo is going to win a contest – what counts more is what it means to you.

For me, this also applies to sharing online. I really don’t worry about posting on the day so much as shooting on the day. Sometimes, I just don’t want to turn my computer on or look at my phone anymore – and that’s okay.

If you find every day is too much, how about once a week? Sarah Cornish of My Four Hens Photography has been doing Project 52 for years and is super supportive of her group. The team over at A Beautiful Mess recently launched Capture Real Life in 52 Weeks, a self-paced e-class that I’ve been thinking about doing myself.

I find myself mentally chanting this every few weeks: it is whatever you want it to be.

project 365 tips

2) Stop the comparison-itis.

I know, it’s really hard to avoid sometimes. Everyone falls prey. But there’s just no comparison because we’re all snowflakes. Don’t make me sing the Frozen song.

3) Get inspired.

Some fantastic photogs that I love to follow are @dabito, @johnstortz, @pobke, @cindyloughridge and my lovely family photographer @tarawhitney.

Project 365 2015 Tips & Inspiration by Ellingsen Photography

4) Accept the doldrums.

You’re going to have days when nothing around you seems interesting, the light isn’t right, you’ve shot it all before. It’s inevitable. On those days I either check my Instagram feed, try Capture Your 365 for a theme or check my friend Melanie’s blog – she’s been doing P365 every year, without fail. Such an inspiration! Her tips are super helpful too. My photog buddy Paul gets super creative with his P365, I love seeing what he comes up with.

I also use those days as motivators to go somewhere I’ve been meaning to, or check a shot off my mental photo wish list (such as with my beauty essentials below). Two weeks ago I finally went and explored the park I drive past every day.

Project 365 2015 Tips & Inspiration by Ellingsen Photography

5) Organize & Back It Up

I’ve been sharing many of them on Instagram and uploading them to a Flickr album, which not only serves as an extra backup of full-res files, but it’s also a way to get my thoughts and memories down before I forget.

To make it easier at the end of your project, I recommend keeping a separate folder on your computer/EHD of those photos. I copy them in maybe once a week (if they’re on my phone I’ll email them to myself) and then rename them with the date (i.e. 02-13), so they’re all in order and ready for me when I go to print.

6) Display!

Don’t just let them sit on your phone or computer! I love doing a soft cover book from Blurb – it turns out to be cheaper than getting 365 5×7s printed and put in an album, and I like having the dates and words to go along with the photos. The quality is fantastic and they’re completely customizable. If you do everything through Instagram, Blurb can pull straight from your feed. Printstagram also does these amazing posters of your photos for a really reasonable price, but I haven’t seen the quality for myself yet.

project 365,book,blurb
blurb,book,project 365

Do you guys like a challenge or does it become more of a burden than inspiration? Any other Instagram stars I should be following?

P.S. I love my dad’s pinkie in that last photo, don’t you?