By Ashley Manley on | No Comments
The bringing in of the New Year often means more to photographers than just setting goals of exercising more and eating a few less cookies, for many of us, this time of year marks a slower season with fewer clients and the time to start a personal photography project, both of which I kinda love.
Personal projects are something I hold near and dear to my heart. Yes, we grow and accomplish a lot by taking photos for others, but it’s those photos we take for us that really allow us to grow, as both artists and humans.
And even more so, the kind of project we choose is an integral part of the process. Before choosing a new photography project, I’m sharing with you 3 things to consider to help you start something that really speaks to your soul:
I think the biggest buzzword in the photography project world is “Project 365” where you commit to taking a photo everyday for a year. I’ve tried and failed at this twice, and unless something drastic happens to my mindset, I’ll never try it again.
Here’s why: this does not make sense for me. I don’t like the idea of having to pick up my camera everyday because I know how I am…I’ll get burnt out and feel uninspired if a photo has to be taken for the sake of checking off a box. That’s not the kind of project that I need.
Maybe you are someone that thrives on that kind of structure or maybe you feel like you don’t have enough photos of your kids so you need that push to make sure you are documenting them - this might be just what you need! But remember, if you don’t fit neatly into a regularly scheduled project box, it’s okay…make your project what you need it to be!
That’s right…consider what this project will do for you. If you are going to go through the effort of shooting, culling, editing, printing (I hope!) a year-long collection of photos, you might want to make sure it serves a purpose.
Do you want to get better at a certain technical skill or are you interested more in creative elements? And whatever your goal, does the project you’ve mapped out accomplish that
I think this is the most important question to ask when making the decision to start your project: are you excited about it?!
If before you even pick up your camera for the first photo your mind is groaning at the process, maybe you need to reconsider what you are doing. We do our best work when we feel passionate and invested…think of the photos you’ve made (client or otherwise) when you were excited vs. felt forced…which turned out better?
What am I doing this year?
I'm so excited you asked...and I would love for you to join me.
My 2018 project idea came to me out of a random browse through my instagram feed. I noticed all of my recent images contained pops of the same color: red! I pulled out my notebook and started writing away, finally deciding to make 2018 my year of colors, focusing on a different color to shoot every month.
I’m not setting a number of photos I need to take, just that I need to take AT LEAST ONE photo of something with that color per month (though my goal is 2 per week)! If you want to join me in my #2018inColor project, I’ll be posting my monthly prompts on Instagram!
Wait... do you want to hear more from me??
I can nerd out over personal photography projects for hours…days maybe. I love them so much I’ll be speaking all about them (and sharing some of my most important and personal work) at the Reset Conference this April in Indianapolis, where I’m sponsored by my awesome friends at Pretty Presets. If you’ll be there, let’s be friends and get nerdy together!
Looking for more inspiration? Check out the other blog posts I've written for Pretty here.
Do you have any questions or comments about choosing a Personal Photography Project? Leave us a message below - we would love to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Ashley is a midwest photographer that spends her days chasing light and little ones with her camera in hand. You can see collections of her work on her website or on her instagram.