10 Tips For Success with 365 | Myra CherchioPosted by Katrina Kennedy on Mar 12, 2011 in 365, Blog, Photography | 51 comments
Myra Cherchio is a “nearly native” Floridian, wife, mom and clinic director of a medical practice. She spends her free time with camera in hand, documenting her favorite memories with photos and journaling. Myra is also one of my dearest friends, I’m honored to share her insights with you.
Sometimes I think my 365 project has become so second nature that I almost forget how overwhelming it was in the beginning. I remember what a significant decision it was to participate, because once I started, I knew there would be no turning back.
I made the first year impossibly complicated. I thought each photo needed to be a masterpiece. A photographic essay of my best work. Seriously. That lasted a couple months.
This is what I know today about my photography: with shooting, as in life, I have good days, and not so good days. Some days represent exactly what I want to achieve with my camera. On other days, I realize I’ve just got a snapshot. It’s all good. Looking back at year one, there’s not a single photo I don’t appreciate.
Over the past three years, I’ve figured out a few things that might help others get their arms around 365.
1. Make a plan for the year: It’s important to decide what you’re going to do with your photos. That will guide your processing and organization. If you’re going to design digital or paper albums for your photos, decide before the year starts how you will present them. There are so many options.
• Scrapbook vs. photo album? Digital vs. paper? Maybe a simple digital slideshow makes sense.
If you’re creating scrapbook pages, ask yourself this:
• How many photos per page?
• Templates vs. free form pages?
• Whitespace vs. a color scheme?
• Journaling or photos only?
• Will you create your own album or publish a book with a service like Shutterfly or Blurb
Once these decisions are made, formatting and organizing your photos becomes a snap.
2. Delete: Sound simple? You would think, right? But in the beginning, I never deleted any of my rejects. My husband, (who I will admit to only among my friends here) is right about so many, many things. When I first got my DSLR, he urged me to delete. “What are you going to do with those photos?” he’d ask. “You have so many shots of the same thing.” “Dunno, I’d say. But they could be important one day.”
Now I understand that keeping useless photos is memory hoarding. Early on, I kept photos out of fear. I worried that I might need them, or that I might miss an important memory without them. So there they sat, cluttering my drive. I couldn’t see the important photo that I loved because the junk was in the way. Now I delete as I import. I don’t even wipe off my card before I’m finding those rejects and clearing a path so I can find the gems and see my photo of the day with clarity.
3. Create a file structure: This is the single most important thing I started two years ago. Looking back, I’m amazed that it didn’t occur to me from the outset. I read this tip from Katrina, and can’t imagine looking at my drive any other way.
At the beginning of the year, I create a folder for the year and call it POTD (year). I like to start with prefix of POTD (photo of the day) so that all of my photo of the day folders are grouped together. Nice and tidy. Each year has a subfolder for the month. Each month has every day listed. My photos have all been named like this:Now people, is this not the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen?
Using Lightroom makes it even easier. I tag my most important photos, and delete the rest. My photo of the day is tagged with: POTD, year, month, and any other useful tags. Then I export a processed full sized jpeg to my POTD folder. I also have a smart collection set up in Lightroom with the year and POTD so I can jump to all of my RAW files.
Last year, I used Ali Edwards’ grids to make my book. Keeping my digital supplies in the same place as my photos made the project so much more efficient.
4. Share with a community: Real friends will keep you honest, and also give you encouragement. I upload my full sized jpegs. Every one. I keep it real and let everyone see that sometimes, my POTD just wasn’t that great. But that’s ok.
I’ve found some of the most incredible inspiration from people who have become dear friends, and I’ve been able to encourage others too. Plus, I kind of like looking in their “living room windows” now and then.
5. Work with what you’ve got: It doesn’t take a fancy schmancy camera to participate in 365 (not that I don’t love getting my paws on a pro camera). Some of my favorite shots have come from my point and shoot. If you really want to capture life, you need to get those shots in the unlikely places that you can’t take a five pound gorilla of a camera.
Seriously, if I would have even mentioned taking my DSLR on our family bike ride to the beach, my husband would have groaned. And I would have missed Jake making it to the top of the causeway.
6. Take fewer photos: Yes, you read that correctly. You only need one. Taking many photos each day is the quickest way to burnout. If you captured the moment and you’re happy, stop shooting. Remember, each photo you take has to be processed and that takes time.
7. Experiment! Most cameras today have a manual setting. I use the manual setting on my point and shoot, and can control white balance, ISO and many other adjustments that give me creative control. The beauty of participating in 365 is that you have the opportunity to get better – push yourself into new areas of creativity. Katrina’s class, Your Life: Captured Through The Lens is a great place to start. Tackle one concept at a time, master it, and move on to the next. At the end of six weeks, you’ll be amazed at your progress.
8. Get your family involved: This is what it’s all about, right? Many nights, I get home late from work, long after the light is low in the house. I often feel frustrated because all the exciting activity of the day has passed. That’s when I ask for help. “What’s my photo of the day guys?” Jake usually has a drawing, a Lego project, or Michael points out something that’s happened around the house that I might not have noticed. Including my husband and son has made my photography more colorful, connected them, and reduced their eye rollage when they see my camera.
9. Keep a few notes on each photo: Let’s face it. We’re all busy, and sometimes it’s not easy to deal with your photos in the moment. I recommend a short one or two sentence journal entry to help recreate the page, album, or whatever your 365 project will be later.
10. Enjoy the process! Don’t forget to look at your photos throughout the year. There are so many ways to do this!
I happen to own AppleTV, one of my favorite Apple inventions. It’s inexpensive and was a snap to set up. We rarely use it to buy and watch movies, which of course is Apple’s intention. For our family, it’s our music server. I connected it to my Flickr account, and as it plays my favorite music, I get an on the fly slideshow of my photos. I often stop as I’m passing through the living room and remember. It’s become one of my favorite ways to enjoy my photos.
Whether it’s browsing through your computer, flipping through your old albums, or reviewing your photos in your community, there’s nothing like reviewing your year to get your creative juices flowing. It’s the reason we’re doing this, right?
I wish I wouldn’t have made things so difficult for myself in my early experience with 365. Now I know better and I do better. Just like in life.