How to Successfully Complete a 365 Project in 2018
All the Tips, Tricks, and Gear you need to make it happen!
I have gotten so many questions this year from people following my 365 project this year. One of the most frequently asked questions is, how to successfully complete a 365 project? How do I find new and interesting things to document each day? Do I run out of ideas? What equipment do I use? Now that I am at the end of my own personal 365 project for 2017, I thought I would answer all these questions in a really long blog post 🙂
I own a lot of photography equipment but there are only a few things you will need to do it.
- a camera. I shoot with a Canon Mark III and a Canon Mark IV. For 98% of my images I used my Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART lens. Any images under water or with water spraying I used my GoPro and underwater dome. But you can use any camera and lens that can handle low light situations well. I recommend a lens that is f 2.0 or below for shooting in low light situations. iPhones are a great option as well!
- a remote shutter release. I use a Canon wireless remote for my Mark III but my Canon Mark IV has built in Wifi so I can control my camera from Canon’s app on my phone (and it’s AWESOME!).
- a tripod or any other surface to put your camera on. I use a heavy duty tripod by Manfrotto. My camera is heavy and so are my lens so, this gives me the piece of mind that my camera isn’t going to fall over and shatter my gear. No one has the time or money for that!
Helpful but not necessary gear
- a notes app. I use the iPhone’s notes app when I don’t have time to immediately edit my images to write the story of my images for posting later. Writing love notes to my kids that tells them what they were saying in the image or what was going on in our lives that day is part of what I love about this project. I am using my images and words to be a historian for my kids.
- a computer with editing software. I use Lightroom to edit and organize all my images. When I export from Lightroom, I send my images to a 365 folder on my desk top and name my images by date. This way my images are in order and organized.
- a 365 numbering website. This year I used Epoch Converter to keep track of my days. Once I got into the middle of the year and I got behind on editing, I had a hard time remembering what day it was. This site helped a lot to keep me on track. For my 365 in 2018, I think I am going to use Calendar-365.com instead.
Without further ado, everything I have learned this year on how to successfully complete a 365 project.
Capture the everyday.
Everyday activities can seem boring and mundane. But, if you step back and enjoy the beauty in the moment. Again, when my kids are away and grown, I want to remember what it was like with the mess and chaos. So I embrace the mess and try to capture life as it is.
Capture the details.
What makes your family & kids unique? For my family, I try and catch my kids doing the funny things, that years from now, I want to remember. My youngest son, he has the finest hair. So, in most situations: waking up from nap or any sign of static electricity, his hair is likely standing on end. Sam is also notorious for never having pants on and only wearing one shoe. So this year, I made sure to capture that in my 365.
Life is full of joys and frustrations. This year my daughter landed her first lead in her middle school play. I am so glad I had my camera near by to capture her joy. My middle son loves nothing more than to play in packing supplies when things come in the mail. I took my living room being a disaster as an opportunity to capture him just how he is at this point in his life. My youngest son is 2. And any parent know, 2 is hard. I am not afraid to capture my kids just as they are. Sam happens to throw epic tantrums and enjoys coloring on every surface of our house. This year, I embraced the madness. Rather than getting frustrated, I documented it. When I look back on my grown children, I know these are the memories that are going to make my heart smile.
When I started this project, I made sure I had a purse that was also a camera bag so I could keep my camera with me at all time. I use this camera bag from Shutterbag. There’s plenty of room for my Canon 5D Mark Iv, my Sigma 35mm Art lens, & my GoPro. Don’t be afraid to bust out your camera at the store. There is always something interesting that happens at the store when I am with my kids. My kids have become so used to me taking pictures of them at the store, they hardly pay attention to me anymore.
Get in the frame
I really hate having my picture taken. It’s funny but it’s true. But I want my kids to remember me as being present in their lives and also in the images. The image below, I was home with all three of my kids alone while down with the flu. I was sure I was dying but my middle son was such a amazing treasure. He was making sure to take care of me and his brother so I could rest. I wanted to remember his love forever so I turned on my camera that was sitting on the fireplace and started shooting with my remote. I love this memory.
Even when you don’t feel like picking up the camera, pick it up
No seriously. Just do it. 2017 was ridiculously hard for our family. Part of why I chose to start a 365 this year was because I knew this year was going to be hard and I wanted to make sure to document it. My middle son was diagnosed in late fall of 2016 with a mass in his brain and Chiari Malformation. Our first appointment in 2017 was with our neurosurgery team. I love the image below of my son looking at his brain and wondering how 6 of those fit in his head 😉
Late this fall, my Dad became terminally ill. My husband and I jumped a last minute flight to Florida to visit him during his final days. While we were there my husband picked up the camera and took one of the most precious images I own. My Dad died 3 days later. This is the last picture I have with him. Even though I definitely didn’t feel like having my picture taken that morning, I am so glad I have this.
When things aren’t perfect and things are really hard, pick up your camera
Life is hard. This year was hard. There were weeks my husband and I hadn’t slept in days. We were living in and out of the hospital for the majority of the spring.I am so glad I have these images to look back on to remember what that time was like and how far Eli has come.
When your kids are having fun, capture that too.
Document your family traditions
Finally, find a way to be accountable
Join a 365 group on Facebook. Make a habit of posting your images in a Flicker account each week. Whatever it is, find something that works for you. And that my friends is, how to successfully complete a 365 project! If you’d like to see my full 365, you can find it HERE starting January 1st 🙂