Happy New Year! This shouldn’t really be a January/New Year thing, but it very often is, and while we are all busy setting optimistic, challenging goals for the New Year, I actually think it is mighty important to also set some really enjoyable personal goals, so I thought I would share one of mine!
I did not invent the idea of personal photography projects, and over the years I have done some, been inspired by what others have done and failed at some, but I have learned something from all of them. We all have different styles, and the options for personal photography projects are far and wide, but here are some that really suits my personality and style, that I can whole heartedly recommend... and some of the pitfalls I have found! Remember this isn’t about perfect pictures or fancy equipment, your mobile phone is fine!
1. A day in the life off... - my challenge this year!
I love everything about this one! For me it is always “a day in the life of my children”, which is what I am all about, and I do this regularly anyway! However, committing to doing it daily for a set time scale is something different! Some might manage the whole 365 days challenge, but I know from experience that I just can’t, so I am doing it for 30 days only! I follow other photographers who inspire me every year with their own personal “a day in the life of” images, and if you are blessed with children I highly recommend this photo challenge. Of course it doesn’t have to be children, you can do this as “a day in the life of me/my parents/friends/dog/cat/pet/work” whatever inspires you, and whatever you will enjoy looking back at over the years.
You can make it more/less specific, like choosing to do colour images or all black/white images, maybe you want to do the series as portrait oriented images. I am doing mine as a 30 days in the life of my children, all black/white images! The top image is from the 2nd of January this year, of my youngest looking at the airplanes at the airport as we travel home.
2. A picture a day for my business
This is similar to above, but all focussed on your business. What are you working on at the moment? Document your favourite/funniest/hardest task every day? Shoot something with your logo in every day? Take a picture of you in your business every day? If they come out well, you have a series of new images for your social media marketing – bonus!
3. 100 days of happiness
A fellow local business owner alerted me to this one last year, and I love the idea of this! It is an official organised thing, which you can find at 100happydays.com. As a mindfulness exercise you take a picture every day for 100 days of something that makes you happy. You can share it on social media or simply email it to the organisers, and at the end of the 100 days you can have your images printed as a reminder of what makes you happy. Now I tried this last year and failed! I managed about two weeks and then “didn’t have time”... I know kind of defeats the object, right! The other thing I struggled with, was the prospect of the final printing, because something heading for print, in my world, needs to look pretty! So I had a huge internal struggle between taking a quick unposed and unedited image of something that made me happy vs. the idea of a beautiful final product, and I couldn’t find a genuine compromise.... Once again highlighting that my work is definitely on the idealistic (and unrealistic) side of life 😉
4. A creative theme
I like the super creative idea of this. Pick a theme like light, calmness, love, movement, colour, textures, shadows, siblings, anything, and pick your time scale. Take a picture once a day for a year, for a month or maybe once a week for a year? You could end up with some fantastic creative and quite arty images from a project like this, with the potential to go on your own wall or become post cards or gift ideas.
5. Winter beauty
This was my second favourite for this year! I read a beautiful note in a magazine over Christmas, saying how “Winter is nature’s time to withdraw and conserve energies for reformation in the spring. Plant’s turn inwards for the nourishment of the soil, so they can burst into new life in spring” – I immediately felt a flicker of guilt as I am always quick to declare how much I “hate Winter” throughout January, February and March, and not once had I thought that actually nature needs a break too. In my selfish, or perhaps just thoughtless, mind I would love a flourishing warm nature, always!
I actually love the winter light, the colours and the textures, but you do have to really look for the beauty in Winter! You particularly need to look hard in countries like England and Denmark that really don’t offer up much immediate winter beauty, so this would be a fab challenge, and also produce some brilliant images to display in your house throughout those dark cold months.
That’s it, these are 5 personal photography challenges I would personally indulge in, and I hope you might too. Remember it is up to you where/if you share your images, they might just be for you. I would love to hear from you if you complete any of these.
I started my challenge on January the 1st, but you can start this any day of the year! I will share my set of 30 images in a separate blog post at the end of the project, and I already know that even though they won’t be perfect images, I will LOVE looking back over them for ever, because they document everyday life with my children!