None of us can venture far to indulge our photography habits at present, so staying creatively motivated may be proving seriously difficult. However, there is always some good to be found in nearly every situation, and time spent at home, with very few scheduled constraints on our time, such as commuting, can provide the artistic impetus we need to improve our photographic technique.
Many photo projects can seem overly basic for more experienced shooters, but even working professionals can find benefit in setting ourselves creative challenges. A popular approach is the 365 project. This requires a photographer to make an image every day of the year, which may seem easy at first consideration, but in practice often proves extremely difficult.
The concept of a 365 is to push yourself creatively, discovering new ways of making mundane scenes or objects photogenic. Consider this practice for working in changeable or less than ideal shooting environments, as part of your professional life, which is a common occurrence. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Pick a theme
Select a focus for your project. This will define the content of your images for the next year so pick wisely! As a professional photographer, choose a theme which is relevant to your area of business, as this will enable you to use your project to subtly advertise your services and demonstrate your expertise. This doesn’t mean you can’t try something new for originality, but will add value in terms of furthering your business from home.
2. Make a plan
Before you start out on your 365 project, make a rough plan of how you will shoot, edit and upload your images to your preferred hosting platform, be it Instagram, Flickr or 500px. It may be more fun to leave subject selection to the day of the shoot, or at least the week, but working out a process in advance will ensure you don’t miss any days.
3. Vary your style
As a professional you will likely try to marry your photographic style with your business brand, but trying new ways of shooting familiar subjects is a great opportunity to gauge the success of each, through viewer reaction. An online project is like a virtual world, allowing you to test styles on people who aren’t paying clients. Altering your creative approach from day to day will also keep the project fresh and interesting for you as the photographer. Try something you may not normally consider, to develop your preferred shooting and editing signature.
4. Promote your project
In the current climate there may not be a tremendous amount of source content for your blog - jobs you’re undertaking, trips you’ve been on etc. - so a project is a great event about which to keep your followers updated. As well as posting the images from each shoot, post behind the scenes images to shout about your work on social media, to garner a greater potential following.
5. Engage with your audience
Take the time to respond to comments on your images or regarding your project at whole. Encourage your viewers to make suggestions about future content, make requests, ask for tips about how you created your images and to show enthusiasm for checking back, in anticipation of future posts.
6. Create an end product
A novel strategy is to state early on that you will create a product with your images once your project is over. This could be a photobook, online gallery dedicated to the display of project images or even a calendar, with one image per day. Getting creative with a destination for your images will encourage your followers to keep up with the progress of your project with interest, as there will now be a collectable element to each entry.
• The best photobook services online
Photo projects such as a 365 photo challenge should be seen as a means to an end for the professional digital photographer. Think of the end goal as the improvement of your creative eye rather than simply the completion of the project itself.
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