Project 365: taking a picture every day

There have been several 2012 retrospective posts on the Interwebs these days, looking back at milestones and events. All of them seem fun, but my 2012 project was simple. Take a picture every day. This concept has been around for a while now. Google "project 365" and you'll see a wealth of Flickr pools and blog posts with guidelines and tips. But don't let all those details scare you. The concept is simple - take a picture every day.

If you have an iPhone, I recommend the Project 365 app (it's only $.99 and worth it to remove ads and get the reminder). The reminder feature is key because I have mine go off at 11pm and it lets me check my phone and make sure there is a photo from that day on it before going to bed. If not, I try to find something. Some of my most creative images are those desperate 11:37pm attempts to squeeze a photo in before the end of the day.

There is no way I could have accomplished this project without a smart phone with a decent camera. The portability and ubiquity of the iPhone lends itself to more photos. It's a little embarrassing to realize how long it's been since I've touched my dSLR camera. But I know others who have been very successful with a point and shoot they carry around.

Next, you'll need some help keeping track of what day of the year it is. January is easy, but come August you're all "is it 224/365 or or 242/365 today?" I recommend a simple chart that you can screencap and store on your phone. I saved a copy of it in my Dropbox for reference. Having the printout next to my keyboard has been helpful these last few days as I try to figure out which ones I forgot to upload.

Filling up 2012

Because of the popularity of Instagram in 2012, a lot of my pictures are square format. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but it is what it is. Now that Flickr has such a much improved iPhone app, I'm going to try to upload directly to there in the format/size I prefer to keep for posterity and then also post to Instagram as needed. (No, I'm not abandoning Instagram in January.)

If you're into themes and community, you can google some of the photo a day challenge ideas. Those have been popular with some of my friends, but I don't like being fenced into a word for each day. You can upload them to an album on Facebook. You can make a set on Flickr. You can just email them to yourself. But I encourage you to take pictures with more regularity. You won't regret it!

I try to mix it up. While I love seeing pictures of my kid and how much he's grown over a year, the idea is to capture all that's going on in my life, not his. I tried to take a few self portraits. I tried to play with some random abstract things. But sometimes it's 11:37pm and all you have a cute cat pictures. That's okay too. Looking back on the 364 photos I have so far this year (leap year made this a 366 project!) some of them are super crappy. But they are snapshots of my day. What I love is that some of them tell a story that only I understand while the rest of the world can just admire a random picture of cookies or whatever.

I am an archivist and historian by nature. I want to document everything. So this project has been right up my alley. But I think you'd like to try it out too.

Most importantly don't beat yourself up if you miss a day. No one is going to kick you out of the club. You'll still have way more photos than you would have otherwise if you only take 327 or even just 100 photos in 2013.

I'm planning on starting again on January 1, 2013 for another year of cataloging my life. Maybe I'll add a new challenge of trying to have one dSLR project per week just to remind myself why I like that camera.

You can also check out my 2012 pictures (so far) for inspiration.