365 Project Phases (pt. 1).

Firstly, let me give a brief explanation of what a 365 project is (although it’s sort of self explanatory). Basically, it’s where you sit down and decide, “Hey – I’m going to commit to myself and whoever wants to follow me for a year to take a photo everyday for 365 days.” And then you do it. People give themselves their own rules, whether they’re going to follow themes, or if they skip a day if it’s done or if they can make up by taking x amount of pictures the next day, if it’s an all out conceptual photo, or if it needs to be sooc. 365 Projects are a lot of fun in the long run. But when I say “in the long run” I mean it generously. I can just about guarantee you that it won’t be fun the entire 365 days. Thus, the phases. Now, I’m currently in the progress of a 365 project, but since I have one that I’ve already completed I’m going to be using those photos which range from a year to a year and a half old for reference. Alrighty, here we go.

Phase 1: The Honeymoon Phase
Ah, the sweet, sweet Honeymoon Phase. This is at the very beginning of your project. You wake up every day excited to take photos, excited to make the first milestone of the double-digits, excited to see the number grow and see the photo quality progress! This phase doesn’t last long. I’d say it lasts a month if not three weeks. The themes I had going during my Honeymoon Phase were all Halloween based, giving me inspiration and keeping it “fresh” (hah). Here are a couple examples.

6Don’t judge, okay, I was new at this.
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As you can see, I look excited and each photo doesn’t mirror the next too much. There’s a good diversity within these pictures since everything I’m doing is still so new! The creative juices are flowing, the enthusiasm is pumping, I feel empowered and inspired for creating something that I’m at least 80% proud of every day. This is good! You think, “Man, why are people always quitting this halfway through!? This is great!” But don’t let the euphoria of this phase get the better of you – you just wait.

Phase 2: The “I can skip ONE day, right?” Phase
This is a dangerous phase and can quickly escalate into skipping at least four days. You don’t want to go past three. After three it’s the point of no return (or that’s what it will feel like). When chose to skip days, I’d let myself make up the next day by taking however many pictures I needed. I did it that way so I could still end the project exactly a year after I started. That’s personal preference and if you just want to skip a day and finish whenever you get around to it, go ahead! But, skipping one day does also lead to a little bit of guilt. So keep that in mind too! Since I decided I was “allowed” to make up for the picture I didn’t take the day before, you can tell when they’re in pairs. One photo is better than the other because it’s probably what I had got inspired to do, and the other is half-good because it’s almost just a filler.

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The theme I had going on during these two pictures was “funny scary”. The first photo was something I had in my head for a couple of days and I decided it was a good time to portray it. That was also a day where I had skipped a day before and since I was rushing to get the picture up before midnight, I took a photo of  a drain. A freaking drain. It doesn’t even look like I edited it. But whatever! That’s not the point right now!

Phase 3: The Tween Phase 
This is the part of your project where you might start to see your photos progressing into something a little more substantial. The fact that you’re being forced to make something every day does vastly and relatively quickly improve your skills. You respond quicker to your camera, you get more acquainted with photoshop, you get a little daring and try new things. You’ll be able to see improvement at this point and it’s very exciting. But, it’s kind of like your projects own puberty. You’re going to look back at some of these photos and go, “What on EARTH was I thinking?” But in the end, those semi-weird but mostly-good photos are going to help you grow. Just like your own awkward puberty moments. 🙂

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This photo was a big deal when I took it. I had to do a soft lighting thing like this for a while, but I never got it totally right. It would either come out blurry, dark, too bright, etc. But this one works, and I’ve been able to make soft lighting things like this get even better ever since this point.

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This is one of those pictures where I look at it and kind of shake my head. It’s a fine concept, but the way I went about executing it looks so bleh to me compared to what knowledge I have now and how I would portray it now. But at the time, it was something that was totally amazing! I knew it didn’t look realistic, but I knew I was onto something.

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Another picture where I shake my head – but alas, lead to good things.

Every single one of these photos I could do better now. But had I not tried these things and forced myself to learn and just simply try in general, I may not be able to say that. Thus why the Tween Phase is so important and will inevitably come – regardless on how experienced you are, I think. Well, okay, unless you’re Eric Doggett or Brooke Shaden.

Since this post is nearing 1,000 words, I’ll cap it here and put a pretty little (pt. 1) in the title. To be continued!

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