Monday, January 9, 2012

What I Learned from My Project 365-2011

A Few Favorite Photos from My Project 365 -- 2011
A year ago when I decided to take on a Project 365, I did not realize what a huge impact it would have on my photography as well as me personally.

When I look back at my images, I see how my photography improved throughout the year.  I learned how to use light better, how to improve my composition and to capture details that were once missed.

Taking a picture each day, opened my eyes to the beauty of the simple moments of each day.  From my kids quietly reading a book to chomping on a piece of cantaloup, I found a photo opportunity that I would have otherwise missed.

Thankfully, I never found (well almost never) taking a picture each day to be a chore.  I actually liked it.  Sure there were days where I scrambled to get a shot because I the day got away from me, but overall it was something that came naturally to me and it was easy to incorporate into my day.

As you can imagine, with any project comes a few key learnings.  Here are a few things I learned from my 2011 Project 365:
  • Figure out a system for cataloging your images and stick with it.  Whether you are loading your photos to Flickr or folders on your computer be sure to have a consistent numbering system and monthly tracking system in place.   For example 1/366, 2/366 and then categorize by month.  As I dumped photos into my January set on Flickr, I was able to see that images were missing if I ended up with only 28 at the end of the month. 
  • Do not let too many days go by before uploading/numbering your images.  Trust me, you will be tearing your hair out if too much time goes by before you organize your images.  I would go for a week and forget to upload my photos to my Flickr set, which lead to wasted hours trying to remember what belonged where as well as my numbering system.   I would sometimes find that my numbering system was  off by 2 or 3 days and would waste so much time back tracking.   To help keep track of the numbering for each date, I recommend you bookmark this calendar.  You will be referencing it.....frequently!  
  • Be sure to tag your photos if you use Flickr.  This can help you save time when you try and organize by month.  I used the tags Kristina, project 365, month,, and various tags that related to the photo.  Doing so enabled me to search photos for the month and organize them into files (if I wasn't putting them in the right folder in the first place).
  • Decide if you want to use a watermark at the beginning of the project.  When I started I thought I needed to protect my images with a watermark.  I had one that I used in the beginning and then decided it was too large and created a second, more discreet version (which looking back, was still a bit of an eyesore).  This time around, I'm not going to watermark my images.  The reason being is that I want to create a photo book and video at the end of the year and would prefer the images by clear of any markings. 
  • Don't wait until the end of the day to snap your photo.  There were several days throughout the year where I would be racing around the house at the eleventh hour looking for something to shoot only to end up getting a picture of a clock, laundry basket, or pile of shoes.   Try to take your photo at the beginning of your day.  Make that part of your routine.  
  • Don't get discouraged.   If you do end up running around your house at 11:30 p.m.  snapping pictures of a sink full of be it.  Don't beat yourself up or think that you need to stop.   These images tell a story and are still worthy of this project.
  • Remember your iPhone or camera phone counts.   If you check out my video of my images below, you will see there are plenty of iPhone pictures in my Project 365.  All I can say is thank goodness for this handy, always with me, little camera.  It saved me on NUMEROUS occasions!
  • Join Flickr groups for inspiration, theme ideas and connections.  If you feel as though you would run out of ideas, there are plenty of Flickr groups out there to get your juices flowing.  From Flare Fridays to self portrait groups like 52 Weeks of BAM  and From Where I Stand (a personal favorite), as well as groups dedicated to taking a photo every day like The Creative Mama 365 Project and 365+1 for 2012, there are plenty of resources to keep you clicking throughout the year.  And the best part about participating in these groups is you will make new friends and connections.  
I promise you when you complete your project 365 you will be thrilled.  You will have captured a year in your life and you will see it in a new way......

For me, it was a year full of milestones (my dad turned 70, my twins turned 10, my oldest started high school), accomplishments (I rode my bike 454 miles across Iowa in JULY), everyday moments (my dog/kids jumping in the pool,  my son with amazing flare, my kids enjoying a bbq),  and most importantly a life worth documenting and celebrating.

Below is a video celebrating my project.  Take a peek, if you are interested.   

I Did It! Project 365 from Kristina Rust on Vimeo.


  1. Amazing post and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading through some of your earlier posts as well and decided to drop a comment on this one!

  2. Great post! That calendar is super handy!

  3. congrats kristina! Deep breath...I'm doing it! :)


Thank you for your kind words. We appreciate and read each and every one.