April 5, 2013

365 Days Project - The Benefits and the Potential Disadvantage

FE Relaxing

First of all let's define what a 365 Project is since it is the subject of this post. It is generally the name or term used for making and posting one photo per day for an entire year. In a photo hosting site like flickr it is quite common and there are many flavours. There's an iPhone 365 (photos taken with iPhone only), 365 days in colour (coloured photos only) or 365 - DPS Assignment (there's an assignment everday or every week I suppose). Those are just to name a few, a search on flickr for "365" came back with many pages. There is also a similar version, the 52 weeks project or simply Project 52. Instead of one photo per day it's one photo per week. For this post I would focus on the 365 project and touch a little bit on the 52 weeks project.

A 365 project can be hard and can potentially become obligatory. It takes time to create a photo everyday and time is valuable. The last thing you want is for the project to become a burden and remove the joy out of making photographs. I think in order for this kind of photography project to be successful a very important question needs to be answered first and that is Why do a Project 365? 

There could be many reasons but I'm only going to cover the reason that I think could potentially be bad if not done right. And that is to improve photographic skills. First of all, I'm not suggesting that a 365 project is bad for improving photographic skills, in fact I believe it helps but only if done the proper way. The problem starts when it is believed that simply making a photo everyday will help improve photographic skills. It must be realized that there are a lot of factors that contribute to making a great photo. Creating a photo without a thought process is not going to improve photographic skills. I think if that is the objective then look into what needs improvement and then incorporate the 365 project into the plan. To lessen the pressure or burden I think a project 52 is better simply because there is more time to produce the best possible image for submission. A project 365 can work but make sure there is time to do it everyday.

To improve, feedback is required and this is where photography groups, clubs or a mentor can be of help. But it must be good and reliable feedback and by good and reliable I mean from a trusted and credible source. Research can go a long way if you don't have friends that could help in this regard. To improve, practice is also required and I think this is where a project 365 or 52 is beneficial. Practice is very important in photography because it helps make things second nature and like the saying, practice makes perfect. The more you do it the faster you'll be able to do it and timing in photography is very critical.

Another benefit of this kind of project is online interaction. At least that's how I see it on Flickr but I believe it's the same on other online forums. For me this is part of the fun and can be a motivating factor. The potential disadvantage of this kind of project, if the objective is to improve, is if it's done incorrectly. Not only it could become time wasting, worse is if bad habits are developed and it's not realized. --EP.


  1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/nomilknocry/8623103321/in/photostream

  2. Nice little article, Eugene, with some useful advice.
    I have seen a lot of 365 projects, some last weeks while others last far longer than the intended year. Certainly as a project to get you taking photographs it works, but I think many people are just not prepared for how difficult it becomes. I think to succeed with a 365 you need to be very well organised (have a box of props at home for those days when you are stuck, have a notebook of ideas and location that you can refer to, etc). There will be days of crap photos, but there will be days when it all comes together.
    Will I be doing a 365? No way!
    For me the commitment is just too great and like you I'm not convinced it's the best way of improving your photography. What is perhaps easier is a post-every-day-365, where you only need to post a shot every day rather than taking a shot every day. We are all busy and if you could get a store of photos (a weeks worth for example) to provide a buffer for those busy and uninspiring days this is much more manageable. This always allows for a more considered image posting, rather than a "that'll do" attitude, you can take longer to get the shot and process the shot(s).
    I admire the commitment of those people who manage a 365.

    1. Managing a 365 is quite hard, you're right, being organised is key for a project like that. This is why I haven't done a 365, like you it's just too big a commitment and I know I'll just be stressed which is the last thing I want. Photography is my relaxation, my therapy, it's how I release stress and I don't want it to create more stress for me. Thanks for your comment and I hope the readers would read it too.

  3. First of all i would like to thank you, my best friend :)
    I love knowing someones ideas beside his photograph... For me its genuine and cool.
    I do 365. But since other people want to b photographed by me, i hv a hard time to focus wid my project.
    For me 365 is a diary... I dont hv to b seen super all the times... I love to b myself.
    365 = diary. Sometimes i just love wearing sandals, barefoot or shoes.
    If i not post anything today.... I am worried. No one will arrest me.
    I just train myself to hv commitment... If i fail... Its just diary.
    I wont do it to someone who pay for my service after all :)
    Hv a nice day E...
    You are lovable person! Keep doin it!

    1. Thank you Inna! It was in my list of topics to write and you made me bump it up the priority list :-).

  4. Great introductory article on Project 365 :)

    I've tried to do this 3 times so far in my photography journey, but they all failed. The reason was, like you mentioned, the burden. Sometimes if you don't have time, and you have a repetitive weekly cycle due to work... It takes out a lot of fun from taking photos. Because it's harder to encounter something new and interesting. So I stopped and decide to never do that again. I came to the conclusion of taking photos whenever I want, only when I really want. Which is better and more enjoyable that way. Of course it is a very personal thing.

    Anyway, I hope it goes well for yours (if you're doing one!)

    1. Thanks Collun. No, I'm not doing a 365. I thought about it long time ago but I know it will be a big commitment and I don't want to get stressed about it. I know I will so like you I'm going to create photos when I want to. You brought up a good point, when we don't feel like taking photos why bother. I believe that lack of inspiration and motivation shows in the images we make. It's different when we are inspired and motivated.