The start of a new year tends to bring with it a sense of vision, of exploring the hopes and envisioning the opportunities before you. It also may include setting steps to further your vision in a more focused way. Enter the Photography Project! Embarking on a Photography Project is an incredible way to explore your creativity while maintaining intentionality. Having just completed a Project 52 (One photo per week for a year), here are some helpful tips to guide your goals.
Start with Meaning
What is important for you to capture? What is a subject that you would like to preserve memory? How does that subject relate to your goals as well as connect with others? In 2022 I recognized some of my favorite images that I had captured were from my mother’s garden. This gorgeous space is compact, yet full of rich beauty that she tends with both care and creativity. In 2023, I embarked on spending time in her garden each week searching for a subject that spoke to me - flowers, leaves, light. Many times I was alone, yet others I was surrounded by playing cousins or with my Mom by my side pointing out new blooms. The project, therefore, has connection and a purpose beyond simply photographing, it holds personal recollections.
Make it accessible
In order for the greatest success, it’s helpful to choose a subject which is readily accessible. My mother’s garden happens to be a mile from my home and a place which I frequent, making it a perfect location for ensuring I fulfilled my vision. There were certainly weeks where I rushed over before the sun went down on Saturday to capture the week’s image. Yet it’s proximity to my home greatly facilitated my success.
Make it Yours
While embracing a Photography Project is sure to be a bit of a challenge, it also is helpful to have some practical aspects. For example, notice I didn’t choose a Project 365 (one photo per DAY). With my current life situation of 4 active children and a job as an occupational therapist I recognized the impracticality (and likelihood of failure) of biting off more than I could chew. I set a realistic vision and was flexible with which day of the week I photographed in order to accommodate the weather and my schedule. Give yourself grace. If life impedes one week, take two images the next! It is YOUR project!
Open Your Mind
At the beginning of a Photography Project there is anticipation of all you may create, yet be open to new possibilities along the way. Many times as I strolled through my mom’s garden I thought a certain flower would be the centerpiece of my capturing. However, then I would notice the light hitting a petal illuminating a completely different possibility. Many months in South Central Pennsylvania are seemingly lifeless. My mom would remark, “There’s not much out there, Liz, but I know you’ll find something.” With her confidence and a mind free of expectation I was able to discover and celebrate life and light through the lens.
Mix it up
I often would challenge myself to simply take one lens or optic for my garden stroll. Through limiting my options, I pushed my creative capacity and unlocked new ways by which to utilize the tools of the trade while continuing to complete the project.
Prepare to Share
How will you keep yourself accountable and maintain momentum? There are sure to be weeks (or days) that you simply aren’t feeling the creative vibe flowing. I find that sharing regularly on social media is a wonderful way to move forward in those moments when you feel stuck. Create your own hashtag. Tag the people with whom you are connecting. Choose a day of the week and commit to posting that day. When you include others in your journey you are more likely to complete it!
Collect Your Images
What will you do with the images from your project? As you collect them, consider how you might display them. One idea is to create a collage - this could be monthly or at the end of the year. I saved each week’s image in a Lightroom folder and after completing 52, I used the Print Module to create a collage. You can also use Adobe Express, Canva, or a host of other apps and programs to quickly create stunning collages. In addition to the digital form, I created a Shutterfly book in print including each of the images (and the collage on the back!) to gift to my mom.
A Photography Project is an exceptional method by which to expand your vision, challenge your creativity, and promote intentionality. Through including and connecting with others you celebrate beauty with depth. Making your project meaningful is sure to hold soul-filling memories to cherish.
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"I find creative passion by envisioning and capturing the world surrounding me and the light that permeates it with the dreamlike, magical, unique focus Lensbabys provide.”
Liz finds joy in light and life. Her inspiration comes from the beauty of the everyday moments, the blessings of God's amazing creation. She lives in her hometown in South-Central Pennsylvania with her family where she practices Occupational Therapy in early intervention, runs, hikes, and bikes in the nearby forests and farmlands, and creates art and vision through the lens.