You probably already know that to succeed in a 365 project, you’ll want to have your camera with you most of the time, ready to shoot. I use a few accessories to make this easier.
I don’t like carrying a camera bag around with me all the time but I always want my camera with me, protected. This Domke Camera Wrap lets you wrap your camera and lens up into a little burrito that you can safely stash in your purse. It’s lightly padded and the outside is a water resistant nylon. This way I can take my camera with me everywhere without being too loaded down.
A portable tabletop tripod is another great item I often take with me. I have this one for my Sony A7iii. There’s no way I’d lug my full size tripod with me everywhere, but this little one is lightweight plastic and it fits in my purse.
At home, I keep my full-size tripod out, because I like taking selfies with my kids. Keeping it out means that when they’re in the mood for photos, I don’t have to mess around getting a lot of gear ready. One tripod accessory that I love is my ball head pistol grip. With this grip, you can make fast, one-handed adjustments to your camera’s position on the tripod simply by squeezing the grip. No fumbling with different knobs and levers — just squeeze the grip and move the camera in any direction.
There are days when my apartment is a mess, I’m a mess, my kids are a mess and sometimes all of the above. Rather than give up on those days, I’ve found concepts that let me work around or hide the mess. Below are some examples.
In this photo below, my apartment is a mess and my daughter is wearing a hideous character shirt. To hide all of that, I sat on the floor behind our dinner table and took her photo in profile, framing her with the two chairs. I love this photo, but I never would have taken it had I not had to work around those challenges.
On the day I took the photo below, my kids wouldn’t cooperate or take any direction from me. Not for candy. Not for a prize. It wasn’t happening. So I let them do their thing and I slowed my shutter to capture some of their movement. No cooperation needed for this one and it conveys more about their playfulness than a “posed” shot would have.
In the photo below, my son is still in his pajamas and his room was a mess. I was able to take this shot which required very little preparation or cooperation, but still captures a little slice of his childhood.
I sometimes like to give my kids a break from the 365 project by taking a selfie without them. Taking an intentionally out of focus photo is a creative and easy way to get your shot for the day without placing too much pressure on yourself to look amazing.
When I started this project, I didn’t expect to take so many selfies with my kids, but those have been my favorite part of this project. But, I’ve found that my kids are actually more cooperative if I get in the photo with them. If I want them to participate in this project, I need to practice what I preach, right? Below are some of my favorites selfies so far.
When I started this project, I had hoped to achieve something more “documentary.” I saw other photographers’ 365 projects and the photos seemed so spontaneous. But I live in a NYC apartment full of kid clutter. And I started this project in the winter, so we were usually indoors, which continues now through the Covid-19 pandemic.
For me, “spontaneous” documentary style photos would be full of plastic toys in the background, and that’s not my style. Rather than try to emulate the 365 projects of other photographers I admire, I’m leaning in to my own minimalist style and loving it. This means I give some thought to the location and pose we’ll use, but I use prompts and other tricks to elicit real connection. Much like the work I do for my clients.
In reviewing my photos so far, I see a lot of commonalities. For example — I took most of the photos in my apartment. If there’s a doorway, I always shoot through it. We all wear a lot of stripes. So. Many. Window. Shots. But I don’t care. In every photo there are different emotions, poses, outfits, times of day, etc. And if I take 100 window shots over the year, I will know that I can take any window shot anywhere.
I wish I loved every photo I’ve taken for this project but I don’t. There are a handful that I think are very mediocre. Instead of getting discouraged by those, I kept going and went on to take some of my favorite photos ever. I never would have taken those favorites had I not persevered through the mediocre photos.
For me, being part of communities that offer accountability and support has helped me stick with my 365 project. Even though I’m doing this project for myself and my family, knowing that I’m doing this project alongside others helps keep me motivated.
Two communities in particular have been inspirational. Ashley Marston is an amazing photographer who’s been doing a 365 project for the past 6 years! Amazing, right? She offers a great course on how to capture the beauty in the every day, and she has a great Facebook community full of photographers doing 365 projects.
In addition, the Facebook community three.sixty.five is a friendly and laid back place to post work and get ideas from others.
Already have a community on Facebook that you love? Start a 365 thread there and build your own community.
My kids are ages 6 and 3. Right now they’re having a blast together — they’re best friends. My “why” — apart from doing this as a creative project — is to document this time in their lives and create for them each an album that they can keep forever. On days when I don’t feel motivated, I visualize a future when my son is in his 40’s and he’s looking through his album and showing his own kids the photos I took. I visualize my kids as adults looking at the album together and remembering their childhood. I think about the albums being passed on to my grandkids and great-grandkids.
After this mental exercise, I always feel inspired to keep going.