365 Photo a Day Challenge: Start the Year Right

I like to think of myself as an avid photographer, but there are times when the creativity wanes and the inspiration dries up. The trigger finger stiffens from lack of use and generally, I start to suffer from photographer’s malaise. This is when auto-pilot needs to kick in and get me up and running again. How do I switch on the autopilot? With the 365 Photo Challenge–a photo a day for a whole year.

A photo a day keeps the staleness away. Staleness and boredom with a hobby like photography is a killer. Before you know it, you’re advertising your gear on eBay. I have found a simple way to keep the pot boiling on the stove. All my students know this one. It is simple, and it’s most certainly not time-consuming.

There are two ways to approach this:

  1. The simple photo a day challenge. By this I mean that you allocate yourself a few minutes a day to shoot one image that you like or even dislike, for that matter. Just shoot an image at some point during your day. Carrying your camera with you every day would help. Whatever you do, make sure that you take one photo every day. Even if it is the clock on the wall before you go to bed. Of course, it would help if you make your subjects different each day.
  2. The best photo of the day challenge. This is a variation of the challenge and gives you more leeway, meaning that you shoot as many images as you want but that at the end of the day you will select the best one, the one with most meaning or just a random choice if they are all good.
photo challenge for 365 days techniques

Photo by thematthewknot; ISO 4000, f/4.0, 1/100-second exposure

In order to make this interesting, you can add a touch of variety by choosing a theme or using a common thread. I know of a photographer who took a small beach ball with him wherever he went, and this ball featured somewhere in every photograph. Choose something and add it as a common thread to all 365 days.

With the advent of Facebook, blogs, and Flickr, you can really make this interesting and even generate regular interest in your images. Change your Facebook profile every day replacing it with your daily 365 Challenge shot. People will eagerly log in every day to see what photo you have loaded. Not only will this make you more enthusiastic but it will generate an interest in your images. The same goes for your blog. Upload a daily image and makes some comments on it. This way you can keep a record of the how, when, why and who of each image. This could actually turn into a form of photo journal in which you document your life over 365 days.

why do the 365 photo challenge

Photo by Evan Sanders; ISO 3200, f/2.8, 1/50-second exposure

This could be the beginning of a really fun experience. The bottom line is that you will keep your creativity, inspiration, and enthusiasm alive while at the same time learning and entertaining others. If you can find a way to make your photography fun and inspiring, it will never die. You will continually shoot photos throughout the year.

One more tip before we go. It’s great to sit down and write down ideas and thoughts about what you will do, what themes to shoot, and how you will display the images. But unless you get out there and just do it you will get nowhere. If you will run with the idea I can guarantee you that in 365 days’ time, you won’t believe the improvement and progress you’ve made as you learn photography.

why it's good to take a photo a day

Photo by Jehane; ISO 64, f/3.7, 1/85-second exposure

What the 365 photos show you is just how you have improved. They become your timeline of growth in creativity and skill.

About the Author:
Wayne Turner has been teaching photography for 25 years. Passionate about photography, radio and video, he is a Radio CCFm producer and presenter in Cape Town.

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10 responses to “365 Photo a Day Challenge: Start the Year Right”

  1. Daisy says:

    I started with a year long photography project december 24th. Photographing the same subject every day. It is just a humble little project to make me practice something I love at least every day.

  2. Clifford says:

    When taking pics (d3100) it shows on the LCD but looking back on picsits shows red sqaure with red x … As if pics not their…… How can this be fixed

  3. Sheleigh Hoover says:

    love this idea – will TRY SO HARD to do it….I think I want to amp it up a bit by scheduling different types of images each month. So January, for example, will focus on aperture priority, Feb may be shutter priority. Lighting, blur, macro etc. will be added in. For me, this will be a good way to practice things more and hopefully better retain it.

  4. Karen Valsler says:

    I am definitely going to do this. Need to get back onto the photography road again have been very lazy just recently.

  5. DAVID says:

    Thinking of setting up a groups page on facebook and invite friends and friends of friends. They could post their daily shot. Maybe set a monthly theme with a variation on National Holidays.
    This should be very entertaining.

  6. Michelle says:

    What an excellent idea! I’m in, starting 1 January. I’m going to take the idea of including the same object in every shot. I have one idea, but it won’t work if I decide to take a shot of something farther away. Maybe I’ll focus on macro shots.

    Anyway, I’ll start on 1 January, & so this gives me a few ideas to come up with ideas.

    It’ll also be a great reason for me to take my camera – an actual camera, not my phone’s camera – with me all over the place.

    Thanks for blogging about this. I’m looking forward to doing this! 😊

  7. Fish says:

    It’d be interesting to do that during a quarantine :/

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