Guest Author - Kerry Estey Keith
Do you ever find yourself over-thinking your photography then not capturing any images because of it? If you’re stuck in a rut or just need a little inspiration you may consider joining an online 365 group or challenge. Very simply, you commit to taking at least one photo every day for a full year. If you forget, no worries, simply pick up the camera the next day and begin again.
It doesn’t matter if your camera of choice is a smart phone (easiest), a point and shoot digital, a full frame DSLR, or a film camera. Of course if you have a film camera your photo upload will be delayed, but it is still possible. The point of the project is to keep shooting, keep moving, keep the inspiration coming and to let the images go as captured. This project is not about perfectionism; it’s about the flow of creativity and building a habit of daily shooting.
The magic of a 365 photo challenge is the more we shoot, the more deliberate we become in our compositions and are able to capture the images that we see and want to be seen. Instead of editing and cropping and manipulating, we snap it and share it. The iphone (or any smart phone) is quite useful for these projects because you can literally snap and share (through Instragram, Flickr, Twitter, etc.) There are some wonderful sites on the Internet where you can join groups or participate in blog challenges. A quick search for “365 photo groups or challenges” will bring pages of results.
Join up with people you feel connected to and don’t mind revealing your daily wanderings with. You will, quite possibly, make some new online photo friends and get inspired by all the images you are seeing each day. Generally, the people on these photo challenge groups are very kind and interested in the same things we are: to be inspired, challenged, and encouraged. It is also a good way to get feedback if you’re interested, and give feedback if people ask.
Even if you forgo a group challenge you can still challenge yourself by setting up a Flickr type account or gallery specifically for your images. Watch your own progress without the pressure of a group. As photographic artists, we need to challenge ourselves to think outside the lens; try new things; give and receive feedback, and move forward with our craft. A photo-a-day challenge may be just the thing.