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With the beginning of the new year, many photographers are taking on the 365 project where they attempt to take one photo every day in hopes to better their photography skills. There are several communities surrounded around the 365 project including Flickr groups, Photojojo, and 365project.org, to name a few. Each day, photographers will take photos and post one of their choosing to whatever social media site or photo community they are a part of. The main idea behind the project seems to be to improve one's photography skills. But with all the photo spam out there one has to wonder: Is the 365 project really worth it? Will it really better your photography skills or will you just be snapping photos of your cat an hour before midnight to say that you participated that day? Here are some ways in which the 365 project can be helpful:
When you reach the end of your 365 project, you don't just want 365 photos. You want 365 interesting photos, beautiful photos, photos you can share with others. Taking photos every day forces you to look harder for compelling images and come up with new ideas. With everyday that passes, you have to think further and further outside the box. You might start with different types of photography: landscape, nature, still life. But soon you'll need a different perspective in order to keep generating interesting photos. So you play with different angles, different lighting, different colors, different subjects, different locations, different techniques. The project pushes you to explore the world of photography and all the things that you can do with your camera.
Structure and Discipline
Like any other artist, photographers need discipline. A painter will not become a better painter is he/she does not paint. Likewise, a photographer won't become a better photographer if he/she doesn't attempt to capture photos. The 365 project is a structure that motivates you to take photos. Being put on a schedule with deadlines and objectives helps you become more disciplined in your work. This not only improves you as a photographer, but as a person. Structure is important in life and at work. There are consequences for not doing things right or on time. While missing a day of the 365 project may not have any serious consequences, you are letting down yourself and possibly your fellow photographers for not following through.
The 365 project also boasts a large community, which is great because it's always more fun to do something with others who have similar interests. Every photographer's work is unique, and being able to see other's work and talk with them about it just adds to the enjoyment of the whole project. It also allows you to see other ideas and techniques and possibly make new friends in the process.
Like any other self-improving project, the 365 project will only benefit you as much as you put into it. It is an excellent channel through which to improve your skills, but if you just stick to the bare minimum of taking one photo, regardless of how good it is, then you will learn very little.
Written by Spencer Seastrom