why I don’t like photo a day projects…..

30 Post 365 Project: 3 of 365

First, let me say that I’m only 3 days into my first 365 and I can absolutely see why people struggle to get it done. I’m only shooting 30 minutes or a little more and I’m feeling the “crunch” today with time. Wow! You really have to push yourself to get it done.

This statement by Michael Frye, in a microcosm, is why I don’t like photo a day or 365 projects…

I have nothing against them — but personally, I can’t see a purpose for me.

I’ve met too many photographers who’ve committed to one who get in a few weeks or months and find themselves at 10PM at night, taking a picture of their stapler just to do something, and about then, they seem to wonder “WHAT AM I DOING?”

There are many aspects about being a better photographer that this not only doesn’t help, but I feel gets in the way of. It’s not about improving your eye for composition, or practicing your post processing, or studying technique, or extending your craft. It’s about pushing the button — to me, it turns into grunt work very quickly, and sends a message (which I don’t like) that the only thing that matters is pushing the shutter button. How does that improve your craft?

So my recommendation is this: If you go into this kind of project, understand what your goal is and know why this project is going to help you with that goal. The day it turns into a grind you regret starting, or that you don’t feel like it’s helping those goals — stop. it starts being destructive the day it starts making you hate touching the camera….

And remember that pushing the button is really a minor part of being a photographer, and not necessarily a major aspect of photography. if all you’re doing is hauling out a camera once a day and pushing a button while pointing it at something, why are you doing this?

If what you need is some project to force you into the habit of taking pictures — great. but realize that at some point of the year, you’re likely to start taking pictures just for the project, and not for the larger goals. When you do that, ask yourself if the project still makes sense.

And realize that there are many other things you should also be doing to continue your growth as a photographer, and do those as well.

For me, that’s why I made a decision to do the Saturday Foto Fest, and the Friendly Feathery Sunday postings. It forces me to evaulate my portfolio every week, and make choices — and it also forces me to add new material on a regular basis so I don’t run out of stuff to post; but it also recognizes time realities and the other aspects of my life, and that I feel more that it’s about the finished product over time than about a daily ritual of button pressing.

If you want to do a 365 project, have fun! and I guess that’s my point. The day if stops being fun is the day you should stop. Don’t continue just because you started it; continue it because it’s helping you with the goal you set when you started it.