Photographing Your Everyday

If you have ever read any of my previous articles here on She Snaps or even on Photzy, you know how strongly I feel about photography being an art form. It is a great way to explore the world of visual imagery, but it is also a great way to flex those creative muscles we have in our brains. Sure, there are rules and concepts that need to be studied and understood. But a lot of photography – the emotive part and the storytelling part comes from training your mind and your eye to recognize things like light, subject, composition, and narrative. These soft skills are not necessarily taught in a classroom setting. Instead, these soft skills come from photographing day in and day out. In other words, practice till you get it right.

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Photo by Karthika Gupta

In the world of photography, this can be done in many ways, but I like to think of photographing my every day as a 365 Project. It means that you commit to shooting, editing, and sharing at least one photograph every day for an entire year.

Does that sound like a lot? That might be because it is a big commitment. But there are good reasons that many photographers keep going back to a 365 Project repeatedly. It may be difficult, but the payoffs are huge. 

Here are a few reasons why I love photographing every day.

1. Huge growth in skill set

You know the phrase, “Practice makes perfect?” It’s true in most endeavors and it is also true in photography. And the more you practice, the closer you will get to YOUR “perfect.” Having a project like the 365 ensures that you are practicing every single day. This means that every day you are giving yourself an opportunity to learn. You will become familiar with controlling the settings on your camera. You will become confident finding good light or even navigating your editing software. And you will become comfortable knowing exactly what you need to do to get the photographs you want.

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Photo by Karthika Gupta | The biggest thing for me is seeing color in a whole new light

Ask any photographer who takes on this project if they feel like they have improved over the year and I promise the answer will be an enthusiastic, “YES!”. You might even see huge improvements from week to week or month to month on this journey.

2. Help develop confidence

One of the best things I did for my photography and my mindset when I was just starting out was set up a daily practice. Oftentimes, we are our biggest critics. We feel that the lighting must be perfect, the subject must be perfect, and the situation must be perfect for us to create art. But that is far from the truth. To improve your photography or anything for that matter, all you must do is practice. Practice regularly and consistently. 

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Photo by Karthika Gupta |  I love playing with light of all kinds and have been practicing a lot more with artificial and off-camera light of all kinds

If daily practice is not possible, that’s okay. Don’t let that stop you from creating consistently. Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it. Give yourself challenges like photographing your food, photographing your pets, macro, nature, and more to get out and simply create. Every week, set aside some time to chalk out what you are going to photograph and go do it. This will also help you train your eye to see images before you even take them thereby boosting your confidence.

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Photo By Karthika Gupta | Another big thing photographing every day teaches me is to look for shapes, patterns, and flow

3. Understanding that details do matter

As photographers and artists, it is only natural that we want to bring out our camera gear for big events and special gatherings. We feel compelled to capture those moments because they are special, but understanding that our everyday lives is equally special can take some getting used to. Don’t you agree that sometimes it’s the little things that matter most when we look back?

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Photo By Karthika Gupta | Sure this is a great clean photo of my delicious taco. But for me it’s a safe shot.

Committing to capturing your every day means that you will pick up your camera on all those special days AND mundane days. Maybe it is photographing breakfast or a lazy Sunday vegetating on the couch. Someday, these memories are the only thing we will have to showcase our lives from years ago and those details really do matter.

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Photo By Karthika Gupta | This one on the other hand is interesting because now light and shadow are active participants in the image!

4. Working through creative ruts

Okay, it is time for a truth pill. Every photographer, even the best of the best, finds themselves in a creative rut from time to time. The feeling of not being good enough, the feeling of not being creative enough, or simply the feeling of not wanting to have anything to do with their camera is a very real feeling. But you know what? One of the differences between good photographers and great photographers is that the good ones photograph when they are inspired and the great ones photograph when they are not.

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Photo By Karthika Gupta | I love motion blur and am always looking for ways to incorporate that into mundane shots

Photographing your every day is a great way to make yourself photograph even when YOU feel you are not good enough. When you push yourself through the periods of uncomfortable and uninspired mindsets, you learn to strengthen your skill. Maybe dark winter days will teach you how to use artificial light; maybe bright sunshine will teach you how to fall in love with light and shadow contrasts; or maybe gloomy, rainy days will teach you how to keep your gear safe while you are out and about. Every day is a learning experience and working through them will really help you fine-tune your creativity.

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Photo By Karthika Gupta | Double or even triple exposures can really add a whole new creative element to any photo

5. Learning to photograph new things

If you photograph the same thing every day, you are probably going to get bored. This means that you are going to look for new things to photograph. Isn’t that a good thing? You will find yourself thinking of ways to spruce things up. Reflections, colors, double exposures, patterns – these can all become tools to up the photography ante and this is a good thing for your creativity.

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Photo By Karthika Gupta | Don’t put away your camera when the sunsets. A whole new world opens up at night with night photography
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Photo By Karthika Gupta | I am always looking for things to photograph and when I use that mindset, the possibilities are endless

Specializing in a genre is good. But when you are starting out or even if you are an expert, it is always great to try something new from time to time. If you take pictures of kids every day, you can try your hand at photographing food or wildlife or macro or maybe even architecture. Who knows? You might just find a new subject that you love.

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Photo By Karthika Gupta | Colors and textures are equally important. They can easily take a photo from bland to wow!

Photographing every day and photographing your every day will inspire you to see your usual subjects in new ways and understand how to make something new look good.

Self-Check Questions:

  1. Why is photographing everyday important?
  2. Should you only capture special important moments? Why not?
  3. What are three things to pay attention to when photographing everyday elements?
  4. Is night photography a real thing?
  5. What is one easy way to practice taking a photograph every day? What is that project called?
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