As a self-employed photographer, the only person who holds me accountable for staying creative and advancing in my craft is ME. There are ups and downs to being your own boss. It’s sometimes difficult to give myself rules (and even more difficult to follow them), as I don’t really enjoy being the bad guy. As often as possible, it’s important to challenge myself with a photo project. It has to be one that is strictly for me–with no financial gain and no target audience to please. Sounds pretty easy, eh? AHHHH quite the opposite. I find that I struggle most with personal projects. I decided that I would attempt to complete one that I’ve started nearly 5 times: To document my entire day. Again, sounds simple, right?? Before yesterday, I had never made it past lunchtime.
The purpose of the project: To tell the story of my day.
1. No staging photos. At all. Not even a little bit. Things must be photographed exactly the way they happened. I couldn’t move a plate to the left, or tell my kids to act like they were having fun.
2. Lead a normal day. No doing anything just because it would make my day-to-day life look cooler (think people’s Instagram “highlight reels”).
3. No re-taking photos. Only ONE shot to capture what I was attempting to capture. Only ONE shot to nail the angle, the exposure, composition of each image.
4. I must use at least 90% of the images in the final presentation. (This kept me from taking mediocre shots just to get through the project and just not showing them at the end!)
5. No potty documentation. That’s just gross. And nobody wants to see that.
SO with the self-implemented rules in mind I woke up at 7am and grabbed my camera. It was a pretty light day work-wise…so I figured it should be pretty easy to coast through this project. Wrong. All was well until it was time to leave the house….then…um….wouldn’t people look at me funny if I was snapping photos as I was ordering a protein shake from them, or while I was getting gas? Yes they did. I felt dumb. Oh well. Project complete 🙂
Reflecting on the day, I’d say that this project really helped to re-vamp my photojournalistic eye. It challenged me in big ways. I’m glad I did it.
If you’re a photographer and you are reading this, I highly recommend SOME sort of photo project at least a few times a year to get your juices flowing. You will be the toughest client you will ever have to please.