As we progress further into 2016, you’re going to read stories of new beginnings, starting over, important resolutions and big plans to be a better person. Let’s face it, though – more often than not, things don’t change for very long. When we attempt big changes, or go out of our way to adjust who we are as a person, it is easy to slip back into the comfort zone of who we were on December 31st.
Instead resolving to do something unobtainable, I’d like to suggest a simpler 2016 photography project that is a little closer to home. I want you to take at least one photo every day. Start with committing to just a week, then see if you can extend your streak to longer and longer. Try not to make it just about selfies either. Commit to making a single well conceived photo for each day that you try this mission.
We all have a smart device, and often those devices possess pretty good sensors and optics. So the old “I didn’t have my camera” excuse won’t cut it. See something on your way to work? Take a photo. A beautiful sunrise? Take a photo. It is your child’s birthday? Of course, take a photo. Think creatively with you as you take the photo of your child blowing out the candles. The benefits will outweigh anything negative you might think about this goal. There is plenty to be gained by this exercise, but I think the primary takeaways for my 2016 photography project are these:
YOU WILL OPEN YOUR MIND
Once you start to think about your surroundings as if they were the basis of a photograph, you’ll find that your mind begins to work differently. You’ll begin to see line and form, color and shape. Be more aware of what light and shadow do to buildings, or be more watchful of people, places and elements that could contribute to a good photograph.
YOU WILL SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY
A building is no longer just a building – it can be a geometric pattern, an interplay of lines or shapes, or whatever you can dream up. Look at the sunrise (or sunset) as a color wash, and look for unique silhouettes. Motion blurs, long exposure times, and just about any creative element you can throw at your daily life will lead to unique images to keep your photographic eye fresh.
YOU WILL GROW YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC SKILLSET
With little hesitation I can say this: If you really work and create an image a day for a week or month, or even the entirety of 2016, you will become a better photographer. I can guarantee it. Continuing to practice and hone your skills will open your eyes to seeing new, photographically interesting, subjects and will lead to a great new body of work.
Once you’ve turned this new year’s goal into a daily habit, you will be amazed by how differently you begin to view the world around you. It will quite simply change your perception. The only thing left is to figure out where to shoot that first photo on January 1st.