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How to successfully do a year-long photo project

Last year, aside from my usual goals, I had two new projects:

  1. The 52 Project (a photo of my kids once a week)
  2. 52 walks in 2015 (with a camera, either Canon or iphone)

Both of these Photo projects were very successful and as I’m starting this new year, I wanted to reflect back and share what made them so successful for us:

!52 walks in 20151-001

1. Think about what really is doable for you

I’ve tried to do a daily, 365-day project and that was a disaster for me. I ended up taking photos of my book in bed for far too many days, and it was a complete chore instead of fun.

If you want to do a daily project though, go for it.

Weekly has always been a good thing for me. I do weekly planning and to fit in a weekly photo project seemed like an easy addition.

However, if weekly stresses you out, then what about a monthly project? Link it to something you do anyway (grocery shopping, banking, paying a particular bill, going to the library) and you’ll have a better chance of sticking to it.

Don’t look at what everyone else (on Instagram) is doing – do what will work for you.

2. Make it easy

My 52 project (have a look at my Instagram hashtag #kandc52project2015 is simply a photo a week. Not a pretty photo a week, or a photo where kids are smiling (I actually don’t like the cheesy smiley photos) or a photo where kids are clean. It’s easy because when I’ve finished my book on a Sunday afternoon, I say, “let’s go and take our Sunday photo”, and off we go.

The 52walksin2015 was just to get out and take a walk. I didn’t tell myself it had to be 30 minutes, or uphill, or all of us had to go. Easy. Most of those walks were me and the twins, and some just me with one baby. I’m glad I made it easy especially because we had heat waves from September and we still got out to do our walks.


3. Have clear boundaries

My boundaries were Sundays,  kids together and quickly. In the beginning it took about 20 minutes, these days it takes us less than 5 minutes. We take our Pics in the afternoon, within a few minutes, and it’s done. I like them outside because my photos are better in natural light, but if it was raining, we took them inside.

It also helps that we have a little snack afterwards so everyone wants to get on with it to get to the snack.

If I say 5 minutes, it’s 5 minutes. The kids will trust you if you keep to your word. I also let them take pics of me with a sister/ brother because let’s face facts – it’s much more fun actually taking the pics than being in the pics.

4. Keep your expectations low

I was away from the kids for two Sundays so we have 50 instead of 52 pics. No big deal.

I know that if I had to do pics separately of each kid, the chances were not good that I’d get my picture every week.

This is not a 45-minute photoshoot – nobody has the patience or energy for that every week. Take some photos quickly so

5. Stay organised

So you’ve got your pics, now what? My best tip of all is get organised – download often and label well. I have a sub-folder for each “event”, e.g. 1701 Sunday pics 3-52, and then I have a 2016 The 52 Project folder where I do a Save As and name the photo 1, 2, 3, etc. for the weeks of the year. I keep track of these dates on an Excel sheet (finally – a use for Excel besides budgets :)) – type the first 3 dates, highlight all 3 and drag down the column til you reach the end of the year. Do the same in the next column 1, 2, 3, highlight all and drag down. Like this.

Date Week
03-Jan 1
10-Jan 2
17-Jan 3
24-Jan 4
31-Jan 5
07-Feb 6
14-Feb 7

doors of Cape Town

This year I’m doing another 52 Project for the kids and again, 52 walks in 2016. This will be the 3rd year we hit 52 walks which thrills me :)

I’m going to also live my word, Joy, a little and see if any short-term photo projects take my fancy, and then indulge those for a bit.

I was in Cape Town and when I saw all the beautiful doors, I decided to do a little Doors of Cape Town project. I have 28 doors taken with the Canon but I think I have a few with the iphone too. That will make a fun collage once I edit those photos properly.

I also want to play a bit more with black and white photography, and I really am hoping that this will be the year I finally get to teach a fun photography class at my/ someone’s house, and lead a photowalk :)

Let me know if you’re interested.

Now tell me, have you decided on a photo project for the year?

This post first appeared on Organising Queen, please read the originial post: here

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How to successfully do a year-long photo project


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