A phrase that either strikes you with dread or happiness.
For anyone who is curious as to what a Project 365 (P365) is, in a nutshell, you take one picture a day for the whole year and record it in some manner.
I have (almost) completed five P365's now, so, I could be considered an expert in this field. If it were a field. Doing a P365 is something I think everyone should do at least once or twice. I know, it does seem quite daunting, so I'm going to break some of the myths about doing one, and hopefully get you excited to do one this coming year!
Project 365 Myths and Facts
Myth #1--It's too hard!
Yes! It's so hard. Almost impossible to get one picture everyday when you have to lug around a huge tripod, glass plates, lenses, bellows and a curtain. Top it off with developing those glass plates. Not only is it hard work, it's pricey! You may as well give up now!
Fact: Oh, wait! We don't have a huge camera set up like in the olden days. Nowadays, it's easier than ever to get pictures. It doesn't require developing film, and we have so many ways of taking pictures. It really doesn't require more than turning a device on, pointing it at the subject and taking a shot. And remembering to do it everyday! ;)
Myth #2--My pictures need to be perfect!
Every picture in your P365 album needs to have the best composition, good lighting, and of course any person in the picture needs to have a clean face, a nice smile and the perfect outfit! If this is just not possible, don't even bother! Who wants to look through albums of snotty-nosed kids and flour on the counter?
Fact: Real life is never perfect. NEVER! Kids are dirty, houses are messy, hair isn't always combed and makeup isn't always worn. When I look back at my old P365 albums, the less than perfect pictures are my favorites! It shows that we aren't perfect and that my kids were so messy. I would've completely forgotten the one time my 2 year old poured a bottle of maple syrup all over my wood floors if I hadn't taken the picture for my P365. And though I was mad at the time, I just laugh at it now, and so does my son. When we record those real and raw moments, we have some good stuff to look back on!
Myth #3--I can only use my nice camera!
All the pictures in your album should be taken on at least a 25 megapixel camera and shot in RAW. If it's not, you may as well give up trying to do a P365.
Fact: The best camera is the one you have on you! (And most of us usually always have one in our pocket!) It doesn't matter if it's not your nice camera. If it's a moment that matters to you and you want to remember it, take a quick snap on your phone, other device or a point and shoot! I guarantee that in 5 years, you won't look at a picture and say "ew, look at the bad picture". You'll be remembering the moment and memories associated with the picture instead!
(Some pictures from old P365's...none are perfect, but they all tell a story!)
Myth #4--Only I can take pictures for my P365!
I am the one in charge and making the album, so it's only right that all pictures and memories are documented by me and me alone!
Fact: When you get your family involved in your P365, it will mean more to them. My kids have some devices and if they take a picture they are proud of, it goes into the P365! Even if I have the same shot. I like mention if someone else took the picture, so we can remember who's point of view it was. (Also, this is a great little hack in case you forgot to take a picture one day!) It's also nice to record things my family does when I'm not around. I'll ask my hubby to get some pictures and have him put them in our shared family album on our phones. And some of my favorite images are the ones my boys took of their brothers as well as their selifes (as shown above!). It would make for a boring family album if everything was only from my point of view!
Myth #5--I can only record the fun and cool stuff we do!
Looking back at pictures of my grandma doing laundry is not cool. I don't like seeing pictures of my mom playing in the sandbox, or even that one picture of me when I was crying. No one will want to know what normal, everyday life was like in 2017. No one wants to see my kids learning to tie their shoes, cleaning the bathroom, what the kids were watching on TV or what you found in pockets while doing laundry.
Fact: I LOVE looking at pictures from a long time ago! I love the pictures of my kids when they were learning how to clean the toilet (it's proof to my future daughters-in-law that they know how!). I love capturing those sweet and simple moments that make up regular, everyday life! And a benefit of handing the camera over to someone else means that you will show up in the album too!
Myth #6--No one will want to see to see my pictures.
No one wants to see our everyday and boring lives. They will all get sick of it and unfriend or unfollow me! All anyone wants to see are the fun, important and cool things we do!
Fact: You don't have to share every single picture with others, unless you want to. There are plenty of pictures in my own P365 albums that no one has ever seen, except in the album. Only share publicly what you're comfortable with. You can always set up a private blog or social account for just the friends and family who would want to see every picture every day. Or you can choose which pictures to share in general. What's important is that you have it recorded somewhere! (Post coming soon about some ways you can do that!)
Myth #7--If I miss one day, I may as well give up!
If you miss one day of your P365, you've pretty much failed! And that is reason in and of itself to stop! In fact, if you think you'll miss a day, don't even bother starting a P365!
Fact: I'll let you in on a dirty little secret. I have forgotten to take a picture a few days. And gasp, I cheated and used a relevant picture from another day! (Oh the horror!) Okay, I don't do this very often, but if I do forget to get a picture one day, the first thing I do is look at my pictures a day or two around the missed day, and see if there's something I can use for the day I missed. Now obviously I won't use a big event that happened on a specific day, but something general that happens quite often (like a picture of my boys playing Legos). When I look back at my albums from previous years, I really don't remember which pictures I cheated on, and truth be told, I can't even remember any from this year.
Also, there are some days I have nothing applicable and I just don't record anything for that day. Yes, it's not a true 365, but honestly, in the long run, who cares? I have a friend who every year starts on a 365, but hasn't completed one yet. Why does she keep doing it? Because if she didn't try, she wouldn't have taken half of the pictures she did. Remember that at least trying is better than not trying at all! And I promise, you'll be grateful for what you did capture!
Myth #8--I can't let anyone know I'm doing a P365, in case I fail.
Don't tell anyone that you're planning on doing a 365. Because if you do, they will probably encourage you to keep going. And they may even give you ideas of what to take pictures of, or give you a swift kick in the pants if you screw up.
Fact: I have one word for you: ACCOUNTABILITY
I don't think I need to elaborate on this. Find an accountability partner and cheer each other on!
Myth #9--I can only take pictures of my family or other important people and events.
No one wants to know what your house looked like or how you decorated for a certain holiday. Taking a picture of your yard or view from your window is also out. When things have changed in a few years, you won't want to remember how it used to be.
Fact: Some of my favorite pictures to look at showcase my house and yard when we first moved in. Our furniture was sparse, our yard a big pile of dirt. I really love going through my albums and seeing the improvements we've made and how I used to decorate for certain holidays. (It's actually quite sad...so I get a good laugh!) I also love remembering some of the plants we've had and some of the beautiful sunsets we've been able to witness. It's those little details that add a bit of memories in my P365's. Oh, and these are some good shots to add on those days you may have forgotten to get a picture! (Yeah for easy and legal cheating. That's right, it's legal to cheat on your P365!)
If you are stumped as to WHAT you are going to photograph everyday, there are tons of groups online that give daily prompts to get your wheels turning. I have a list of 5 or 6 that I choose from everyday. And I don't always follow them either, if I have something I want to take a picture of instead. They're kind of like life jackets for me (as in I use them if I've got nothing else), but I have a few friends who have followed a specific group everyday and loved doing it that way!
Remember, this is your project and you need to make it work in a way that makes you happy. Its' quite alright to begin doing it one way, and change halfway through the year!
If you're contemplating a P365, I double dog dare you to do one in 2017! It's honestly not as hard as you might think, and when you take that final picture on Dec. 31st, you will feel such an elation that you'd never believe. And what's even better than that last day? Looking back in 5 years at what your everyday life was like, will be the sweetest reward of all!
Want to see how I've been able to keep up on a P365 for almost 5 years now? Be sure to read: How to Rock a P365 in 2017!
Have you successfully completed at P365? Any tips or advice that you would like to share?