A Picture A Day – Guest Blog
I’m on vacation this week and in the midst of getting all of my clients orders and galleries ready I just couldn’t get to the Mom*tog of the Week! So, I asked one of our former Mom*tog’s of the Week, Debra Nigri to write a guest blog.
Many of you were very interested and impressed with her 366 Project. I myself have a Project 366 on Instagram (username: drewbphoto). I use my iPhone because
I’m addicted to my iPhone I don’t go anywhere without it. I just can’t fathom doing the project with my big camera. I asked Debra to elaborate on the logistics and the motivation for her 366 Project. Maybe I’ll be brave enough to try it next year… maybe.
Back in January, I had no idea what I was getting myself into…I was hesitant to start a 366 project (a picture a day for a year of my children), I was worried that I would get frustrated and quit after the first few weeks, I was concerned that I’d be forcing myself to take uninspired pictures just to meet my quota for a picture a day, but most of all I was fearful that I’d be wasting most of my precious free time with my two boys with a camera plastered to my face! Luckily, I disregarded these barriers took the plunge, set up a tumblr account and jumped in feet first.
My goal was simple – take a picture, each day, of my children and post my favorite. The project was purely for me, in part to capture memories of my kids, but more than that it was intended to be a challenge for myself — to think creatively, to learn to be an artist. It took a few weeks of experimenting, but it didn’t take long before I realized that because I was only posting one picture a day, I was favoring one child or the other, for several days in a row. Going back to my goal to capture memories, I quickly decided to extend my challenge to post one picture a day of each child. Game on…this is when the challenge doubled!
Easy is not a word I would use to describe this project - but here I am, 9 months in, and I know I’ve got this! As a full-time working, out of the home, mom (I’m out the door by 5:30am), I know I have to take pictures in the evening during the weekday. Like every other family, I have to anticipate the hectic early evening schedule. Sometimes this includes a quick trip to the park, the walk to swimming class, playing with trains inside, dinner, and of course the evening bathtime/bedtime crunch. With so much to accomplish in the evening, it can be challenging to find the motivation to pull out my camera each and every day. Some days I’m motivated by the amazing milestones that my kids are reaching, other days it’s the way the golden sunlight light streams though the window. It could be textures, reflections, a crazy hair day, or even the school art project du jour that inspires me on any given day. But frankly, most days I am simply fueled by my sheer determination and will to complete this project. I will be the first to admit that my children’s “cooperation” in capturing these milestones and memories each day is not on my list of inspiring motivators. I find it humorous when my friends and family express their amazement that my boys will actually pose for the pictures each day! Right…in actuality, it’s my children’s moods that are the daily wild-card factor, completely dictating the ambiance of the images for that day.
Because I want the images to reflect my kids naturally, I rarely plan out the shots. I have learned that “planned” photo shoots with my own kids never turn out as desired so I try and avoid the frustration and disappointment. I will admit that when the weekend rolls around, I’m excited to spend a little more time trying to get an inspired shot. Weekends are usually the only time I have more flexibility — I can break out my camera anytime during the day. Ultimately, I never know what will end up inspiring me each day…and if I get desperate, I can always rely on the bathtime/bedtime routine which can be fun. And at the very end of the day…if all else fails, I always know I can get a sleeping baby image!
Do I ever cheat? I’m proud to say that I’ve been very good about NOT cheating! My very first two weeks of the project were a little dicey because I hadn’t found my groove and had not fully committed to the project, so I ended up backlogging some of the images. But since that time, I’ve been very good about taking a picture a day, and pretty good about posting the images every day. There have been quite a few times that I’ve had to play catch up and post the images the following day. Vacation days and unruly kid days can definitely impact my ability to download, edit, and post the images on the same day it was taken. I’m very lucky to have the support and photoshop expertise of my husband, Kevin. This has truly been a team effort, he has been my biggest encourager, editing the images, and providing brutally honest feedback.
Other challenges include carrying my camera bag almost everywhere I go! I’ve gone through a few different camera bags, and I’ve finally found a very comfortable backpack – the Tamrac Aero Speedpack. It fits several lenses with room for other accessories. Another challenge is constantly managing my memory cards and computer memory! With all the memory I’m using, I should be better about deleting. This type of project definitely requires some time commitment – simply taking the pictures is just one small piece of the puzzle. Downloading and culling through the images requires additional time and even more if you choose to edit and post the images.
If this type of project interests you in the slightest, I encourage you to try. Figure out what you can manage and go for it. Maybe it’s a project using your camera phone or maybe you collect your daily pictures and post them once a week, or even once a month. The goal is to challenge yourself to grown and learn as a photographer while making some amazing memories of your family in the process. You can start today, tomorrow or next week — you make the rules and no one says you have to start the first day of the year!
Having shared all these challenges, I’ve finally found my own picture a day groove and think it will be really difficult to just stop once my year is up! I’m a huge fan of creating slideshows and I know that this will be the most likely output for these images. I’ve already used many of the pictures to create a 1st year slideshow for my son https://vimeo.com/49381925