"I think," you say to yourself, "that I'm going to take a picture, every day, for the entire year."
What's wrong with you!?
I'm kidding, I'm sure you were just born that way.
Ha ha, really, I'm just kidding. I applaud you for taking on this challenge, it's going to be a very rewarding experience. But, there are some things you need to know...
First and foremost you should understand, this is going to take a YEAR! You know how it seems like the older you get, the faster the years go by? Well, that's absolutely true in all aspects of your life...except this one. Actually, though the year can really drag, the days and hours will fly by -- you will take more than one picture at 11:59 pm. You may even resort to some wishful thinking/time zone manipulation ("it's still Friday in Hawaii"). By February (or maybe the second week of January) you're going to feel overwhelmed, but stay true. You CAN do this.
Second: You will not take 365 award winning pictures. You will not take sixty-five award winning pictures. You will take a LOT of mundane shots. You will take a fair amount of GOOD shots. You will take a respectable number of extraordinary shots. And you will take a handful of take-your-breath-away-blow-the-doors-off-stand-in-wide-eyed-amazement-this-is-why-I-started-taking-pictures-in-the-first-place-my-neighbor-WISHES-she-could-take-pictures-like-this shots. That's the pay off -- part of it anyway.
1. Take your camera with you. EVERYWHERE. Never put your camera away. Leave it by the door, or your car keys. I hang mine on the stair railing, by the front door.
If you ever forget your camera -- snap something with your cell phone camera. You can just lump that picture in the "mundane" category.
2. Take pictures. Duh.
But seriously folks, take pictures. There are going to be days -- many days-- when you feel uninspired. Don't wait for your muse -- she has a notoriously bad sense of direction, and is frequently lost. Something magical happens when you place your eye up to the view finder -- the more you try to create, the greater your capacity TO create will grow. I truly believe that. Shoot something. In fact...
3. Shoot 'em all!
Shoot ANYTHING that catches your eye: lines, shapes, smiles, tears, clouds, weeds, messes, cars, hands, fences, shadows, cookies, household appliances...well, you get the idea. You may find something better later on. Actually, I can't count the number of times in the last year that I worked, painstakingly, for a shot -- shooting several dozen pictures to get the right image -- only to stumble, serendipitously, upon something better later on that day. Taking A picture relieves the pressure of that day's obligation, and opens up your senses to find and take THE picture.
4. Most importantly, if you miss a day, do NOT stop. Last year, I shot faithfully everyday until mid-April. Then one Friday I forgot.
I just forgot.
I was watching a marathon of Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, on the Food Network, fell asleep on the couch, and woke up a failure. I did it again in August. I blame Guy Fieri.
Don't think of this as a project to take one picture per day for 365 days, think of it as a year long project to document your life in pictures. If you miss a day, pick up and start again. The great pay-off in the end is not the sense of accomplishment at surviving, but the amazing documentation of your life's journey over the previous 365 days.
5. Share your pictures on a regular basis (I recommend weekly) -- it's easier to stay committed once you know people are planning on dropping by to see your pictures.
6. Know that I am here for you! If you feel like dropping by, and berating me for talking you into this project, that's okay -- as long as you keep taking pictures. And not just me -- others will find your pictures, and you will meet new and wonderful people.
Maybe it would have been more helpful to post this on December 31...