Sunday 22 March 2015

How to start and create a photo a day (PAD) photography project or challenge. Tips, ideas, inspiration and how to prepare.  It's a 365 commitment but the results are worth it!

My resolution last year was to start a "photo a day project".  Nothing fancy, just the goal of taking at least one photo each day.

I have a really awful memory but have found that looking at a single photo can instantly take me back to the moment, probably the entire day, and I can remember the sights, smells, activities of that particular day.  Just from a photo!  Starting a project to capture a single moment from each day made complete sense to me and it seemed like an achievable goal.

I'm now in my 15th month of my photo diary and am really pleased that I did it and proud that I am still doing it and have only missed a few days!

If you're thinking about taking on such a project I hope my tips below will be of some help, inspiration or whatever you need to start your own project.

Getting Started

You need to plan ahead and here's why - you need to make sure you have a good way to capture your daily photo, to store it and to present it, whether that's for you to fondly look back at what you've been up to or if you want to share your project.

I looked at a lot of apps, a lot of sites and for me, Collect was the best option as it's simple to use, it's easy to share and it's right there on your phone.  Some people just upload into online folders, some people use tumblr, I've even seen some blogs dedicated to a photo challenge…you get the point - there are a lot of options.

It's totally ok to miss a day

The app I use has a reminder option which I have set for 7pm - it's still enough time to find something to take a picture of if you haven't already done so.

Yes, the goal is to take a picture every day but it's not the end of the world if you miss a day.  That's a lot coming from me as I'm pretty competitive, even against my self, but don't stress!  Most of the time when I thought I'd missed a day I went back through my photos and realised that I'd actually take a snap or two without even thinking about it!  

Pick a theme (or not!)

Personally, I just take photos of what is happening in my life.  That can be anything from the every day sort of things (fish and chips, one of my cats, what colour my nails are)…to special occasions (a show I've seen at the O2, a visit to a radio station or an "away" football match)!

Here are some other ideas that would be interesting:
+ food lovers - take a photo of a paticular meal each day (à la Symmetry Breakfast), what you've cooked, local produce, a new restaurant you've visited or your latest favourite recipe
+ beauty devotees - new hairstyles, interesting products, your new nail colour, any home made beauty treatments, "OOTD"
+ photographers - if you want to work on your photography, challenge yourself to improving your technique and composition every day (you'll be amazed when you look back on older photos and see how far you've come!)
+ see how you change - there are time lapse videos created from people taking a single photo a day of themselves or their children.  Really great to see time lapse beard growth…if you're interested in that…
+ stick to a schedule - there are many places online that show lists of "photo a day challenges" as in take a picture of something specific each day

source: Fat Mum Slim

What do you want the final result to be?

I personally just wanted to complete a simple New Years' resolution but loved incorporating my month of photos into a whole post - music, tv, films, food and good/bad points for each month.  Does this make a good blog post?  If you want to see what I've been up to then yes.  As I originally set my blog up as a sort of online diary/recipe book, it's perfect for me.  Even now I find myself looking back over posts just to take a trip down the short term memory lane!

If you want a little more then it would be quite easy to save all of your daily photos in a specific folder on your computer/online and then at the end of the year you could get them all printed into a book - call me old school but I love flipping through an old photo album.  Add ticket stubs, receipts, invitations, etc to make it a truly amazing book of memories!

If you did want to make a printed album of your year then keep in mind the quality of the photos.  If you upload to an app like I do, the quality won't be that great because you would need to enlarge the snapshot of the month and the photos start to get blurry.  Uploading to a photo website or filing your photos using clever tagging by month will make it easy to compile the photos you want to print and they will be much better quality if you are using the original photo.

Have you started a project like this?  I'd love to see your results so be sure to share your link in the comments!

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